As Mavis Staples turns 80 years old, she continues to perform and record with young musicians and producers across musical genres, just as she’s done her whole life. Mavis talks with Marc about her early years as a gospel singer with her family, the stunned reception they received when they started singing R&B songs, and the life-threatening acts of racial prejudice she encountered in the Jim Crow South. Mavis also details the important moments she shared with her father Pops Staples, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Bob Dylan. This episode is sponsored by Starbucks Tripleshot Energy.
Perry Farrell is the creative force behind Jane’s Addiction, Porno for Pyros, and the Lollapalooza festival, but while talking with Marc, it’s clear a lot of Perry's focus these days is on being a dad. Perry sees the parallels in how he was angry at his family as a teenager and how his relationship with his own teenage son is evolving. Also, Perry’s wife, Etty Lau Farrell, gets on the mic with him to talk about their collaborative project Kind Heaven, which is an album, a community event and, they hope, much more. This episode is sponsored by Baskets on FX, Turo, Allbirds, and the ZipRecruiter Job Search app.
When you talk with John Turturro, it’s quickly apparent that he’s a student of history. But John says that type of education really only happened for him once he left school and engaged with the world. His breadth of knowledge has certainly helped him as an actor and director throughout his versatile career. John and Marc talk about his fascinations, as well as what John was able to build for himself after living in a fairly volatile household. He also looks back at his experiences with longtime collaborators the Coen Brothers and Spike Lee. This episode is sponsored by Squarespace and SimpliSafe.
David Letterman started out doing the very thing that scared him to death - getting up in front of strangers and trying to make them laugh. Now after wrapping up a legendary and influential career as late night host, Dave talks with Marc about his early days at The Comedy Store, his enjoyment of the longform interviews he’s doing for Netflix, and his focus on the hard work of becoming a better person. Dave also reveals his favorite thing about his old show and the one comic he always thought was the funniest, despite everything else that happened between them. This episode is sponsored by Turo and Starbucks Tripleshot Energy.
In the last decade or so, Timothy Olyphant realized that a lot of his interests when he was younger were either impractical, ill-fitting or not very cool. He found himself going in many different directions because, as he puts it, he was scared to death of success. Timothy talks with Marc about his false starts as an artist and a standup comic before falling into acting. He explains why Deadwood was the gift that keeps on giving in terms of what he learned while making it and why he started taking a counterintuitive approach to acting in order to get out of his own head. This episode is sponsored by Leesa and Stamps.com.
Duff McKagan weathered the storm of rock and roll excess and now finds himself with a loving family, sobriety, a reunited band, and a new solo album. Duff takes Marc back to the days when he first met Axl Rose, when Guns N’ Roses became one of the biggest bands in the world, and when heroin decimated his entire scene and nearly ended his life. Duff also talks about the lesson he learned from Joe Strummer that still guides him today, why Slash still blows his mind, and how he keeps himself grounded by being out in the world talking with people. This episode is sponsored by Turo, Airbnb Experiences, and Starbucks Tripleshot Energy.
Of course Lisa Kudrow talks with Marc about Friends. But first they discuss several other topics Lisa knows well, including genealogy, global migration patterns, evolutionary biology, and headaches. Lisa also explains how Jon Lovitz was responsible for pushing her toward improv, how Conan O’Brien helped her put it all together, and how the cast of Friends stuck together to get what they deserved. Plus, some talk about The Comeback, Web Therapy, and her new movie, Booksmart. This episode is sponsored by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Squarespace, and Starbucks Tripleshot Energy.
A fateful moment in Kyle Mooney’s life was when his high school hip hop group went up in flames. Quite literally. All his equipment was destroyed in a fire. Lacking an outlet for his creativity, Kyle gravitated toward improv and making digital videos, two skills that would eventually land him on Saturday Night Live. Kyle tells Marc his SNL story (of course) and talks about the fulfillment of making his first feature film, Brigsby Bear. He also explains why he likes going for human reactions in comedy as opposed to the inherently funny ones, which explains the tone and humor of a lot of his videos. This episode is sponsored by Mark Manson's new book Everything is F*@!ed: A Book About Hope, Turo, Allbirds, and Starbucks Tripleshot Energy.
If there was one constant in Anjelica Huston’s early life and career, it was the pressure to prove herself. Anjelica tells Marc about the benefits and drawbacks of being part of a Hollywood dynasty, the strains on the relationship with her father when she started making movies with him, and what it meant to her when she won an Oscar for working under her dad’s direction. They also talk about her life with Jack Nicholson, her work on Wes Anderson’s movies, and why it was difficult to make the Addams Family movies. Plus, Anjelica explains why she loves being part of the John Wick franchise. This episode is sponsored by Turo and Hair Club.
Anna Konkle and Maya Erskine, co-creators and stars of the middle school-based comedy PEN15, met and bonded in college. But they knew their most authentic collaboration would come from playing themselves as adolescents, which started them on a six-year journey to put together their show. Maya and Anna talk with Marc about playing their 13-year-old selves again, what it was like to redo traumatic moments of their youth, and why all the other actors are age-appropriate teens. Also, Anna explains what she learned from Marc when she worked with him and Maya details the process that led to the casting of her real mom as her TV mom. This episode is sponsored by ZipRecruiter and SiriusXM.
Dennis Quaid believes in the benefits of familiarity. In fact, he attributes his career to it. Multiple generations of audiences know him for different films, be it Breaking Away or Dreamscape or The Parent Trap or The Rookie, but everyone has a sense of who he is. That’s because Dennis says he’s always playing a version of himself, even when he’s playing real people like Doc Holliday, astronaut Gordo Cooper, and Jerry Lee Lewis. Dennis also talks with Marc about teaching mandolin to Marlon Brando, playing a true psychopath in The Intruder, and getting into the podcast game with Bob Dylan. This episode is sponsored by SimpliSafe and Stamps.com.
After fifty years in Hollywood producing some of the most popular movies of all time, Irwin Winkler says the question he still gets asked the most is, What does a producer do? To get the answer, Irwin tells Marc about his days running the bumper cars on Coney Island, his job as a self-described mediocre agent, and his success making movies as the studio system broke down, including culture-changing hits like Rocky, Raging Bull and Goodfellas. Plus, Irwin explains why he’s had such a great collaborative relationship with Martin Scorsese and provides some details about Marty’s upcoming movie, The Irishman. This episode is sponsored by Squarespace and Capterra.
Jane Fonda is still acting and is still an activist, two constants in her entire adult life. But as she tells Marc, Jane spent a lot of her life thinking she was a worthless person. Carrying the twin burdens of her mother’s suicide and a strained relationship with her father, Jane talks about why she gravitated throughout her life toward strong men, how she struggled with her own compulsive behavior, and what finally happened to convince her that she was worth it. Jane and Marc also talk about the real reason she started making workout videos, what current issues she believes need our urgent attention, and why she feels like she has a real handle on acting for the first time in her life as part of Grace and Frankie. This episode is sponsored by Ramy on Hulu, SiriusXM, and Leesa.
Bryan Callen always wished he could be a tough guy. Maybe it was the influence of his Marine father or maybe it was the snippets of American culture he was taking in as he grew up all over the world. Whatever it was, it caused a crisis of identity that pushed him toward acting and, ultimately, standup comedy. Bryan talks with Marc about where that identity crisis stands today, why he doesn’t buy into the concept of alpha males, and what’s driving him to be a better man today. They also compare notes, in non-spoiler fashion, on being in the Joker movie. This episode is sponsored by Ramy on Hulu, JustCoffee.coop, and SiriusXM.
Brené Brown’s degree in social work and her research into conditions like empathy and vulnerability led to one of the most viewed TED Talks of all time, millions of readers of her books, and celebrity boosters like Oprah Winfrey. But it was her academic work on shame that started it all and is the aspect of her work that resonated strongly with Marc. Brené talks with Marc about the evolution of her work, how it’s reflected in social and cultural changes, what her research told her about hope, and what is the biggest challenge of adult life. They also discuss her new Netflix special, The Call to Courage. This episode is sponsored by Ramy on Hulu and Capterra.
Mark Arm was there at the beginning of a Seattle music scene that became a national phenomenon. But all Mark ever thought he and his bandmates were doing was entertaining themselves. Mark talks about how he grew up in Suburban Washington with pressure from his mom to be in the arts and how his outsider status led him to starting bands like Green River and Mudhoney, playing alongside contemporaries like Soundgarden and Mother Love Bone. Also on this episode, Marc’s old pal Dan Pashman from The Sporkful stops by because he was in the neighborhood. This episode is sponsored by Squarespace and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Christina Hendricks can relate if you had a lousy time in high school. Between moving around a lot to her goth fashion style and music choices to her time spent with the school theater crew, Christina was a target of bullies and wanted to get as far away from school as possible. She tells Marc how this alienation led to careers in modeling and acting, and how her agents dumped her when she insisted on pursuing a role in a little show called Mad Men. Christina talks about growing along with the character of Joan and why she made the creators of her new show, Good Girls, make a promise to her when she took the gig. This episode is sponsored by Yousician, Ramy on Hulu, and Stamps.com.
Bruce McCulloch’s characters and disposition on The Kids in the Hall would lead you to conclude he’s somewhat shy, sensitive and kind. And while that may be true now, Bruce says he was an angry young man, a drinker, a fighter. Growing up in Calgary, there didn’t seem to be much of a future for him, but improv comedy became the way out. Bruce talks with Marc about the darkness lurking beneath the Kids and why the group dissolved after making the movie Brain Candy. Bruce also talks about his friendship with the late Gord Downie of The Tragically Hip, his career behind the camera, and his new role producing and directing a sketch comedy troupe called Tallboyz. This episode is sponsored by Leesa.