Chaunté Wayans has a last name that adds a lot of pressure to a comedy career. She also happens to be the niece and cousin of many famous comedians with that last name. That’s one reason she stayed away from comedy when she was younger, choosing instead to get into film and television production. When Chaunté was working as an editor, she started struggling with anxiety, which led to alcoholism, which led to multiple arrests. Chaunté talks with Marc about rebounding, embracing her own comedic identity on stage, and launching her stand-up career with encouragement from people like Tiffany Haddish and her uncle Damon. This episode is sponsored by Between Two Ferns: The Movie on Netflix, Spotify, The Righteous Gemstones on HBO, and the Hella Mega Tour.
June Diane Raphael knows people are likely to mispronounce her last name (it’s RAY-feel) but she’s ok with it. She has other things on her mind right now, like being a working mom in Hollywood, getting more women encouraged to run for office, and the simple things like aging, the meaning of life, and the acceptance of death. June and Marc talk about all of that, as well as her improv background, her marriage to How Did This Get Made? co-host Paul Scheer, and what she learns from working with Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin. This episode is sponsored by Squarespace, SweeTango Apples, and BetterHelp.
Danny Huston felt somewhat doomed when it came to show business. His father John and grandfather Walter were legendary Hollywood figures and his half-sister Anjelica seemed like the coolest person in the world to him. To Danny, getting into the business seemed daunting. But after helping to shoot the opening credit sequence on one of his dad’s films, Danny was hooked. His father was his friend and collaborator but his death left Danny rudderless. And that’s when he started acting. Danny talks with Marc about his many roles, from small independent films to blockbusters like X-Men and Wonder Woman to his new film which he directed, The Last Photograph. This episode is sponsored by BetterHelp and Pepsi.
When Bruce Dern showed up at The Actors Studio, Lee Strasberg told him he was going to be their Frankenstein Monster and Elia Kazan told him “you’re not into acting, you’re just into being.” But they also told Bruce he would never be a leading man and no one would know who he is until his 60s. It was the start of a career that spanned hundreds of movies, TV shows and plays, and shows no signs of letting up. Bruce goes through all of it with Marc, including his experiences working with legends, shooting John Wayne in the back, being friends with Jack Nicholson, and finally becoming a leading man with a breakthrough performance at age 79. This episode is sponsored by Vital Farms and Stamps.com.
When Marc first saw Edi Patterson on Vice Principals, he knew she was the kind of performer who can’t possibly stifle who she is. It turns out her raw, comedic intensity was born in Texas oil-refining country, where she was an anxious, sensitive kid who was in a full-blown existential crisis in fourth grade. Edi tells Marc how she figured out how to fake confidence, how she owes a lot of her growth to an actor from Hogan’s Heroes, and how she wound up collaborating with Danny McBride on shows and movies, including their latest series together, The Righteous Gemstones. This episode is sponsored by Spotify, SimpliSafe and BetterHelp.
Unlike Marc, Dale Beran was immersed in internet culture for most of his life. He considered himself an artistic, creative person with aspirations to become a writer. But what Dale discovered in the online communities he frequented was a disconnected, nihilistic disposition that evolved from meme creation to activism to alt-right and white supremacist ideologies. Dale thoroughly documents the online worlds that created a culture of toxic trolling in his book It Came From Something Awful, which provides a major piece of the puzzle to understand what happened in the 2016 election and what is happening to youth culture in America. This episode is sponsored by The Comedy Central Roast of Alec Baldwin, Squarespace, and Bombas.
Legendary blues guitarist Buddy Guy had many insecurities about performing and they didn’t really subside until musicians like Eric Clapton and Jeff Beck would tell him how big of an influence he was on them. Buddy tells Marc about is humble beginnings, growing up in Louisiana to sharecropper parents, picking cotton for small amounts of money. His high energy performances, inspired by Guitar Slim, helped Buddy stand out among his peers, but respect in the industry was hard fought and late coming, with his breakout record arriving when Buddy was in his 50s. This episode is sponsored by Starbucks Tripleshot Energy and Ben & Jerry's.
Betty Gilpin’s performance on GLOW has brought her critical accolades, Emmy nominations, and personal fulfillment. So why does she feel like she’s constantly running from a monster that is snapping at her ankles? Part of it is she lost a certain degree of invisibility as a performer and as her visibility rises the job gets harder and weirder. Betty and Marc discuss the strange out-of-body experiences of talk shows and junkets, and how learning to fight for yourself becomes a critical survival tool. Betty also deploys an elaborate metaphor for life that involves vestibules, Patti Smith, soil and brain scrolls. This episode is sponsored by Anchor (anchor.fm/wtf), Spotify (spotify.com/drive), Google Fi, and BetterHelp.
David Shields is always looking to push the form forward, whether it’s by way of his writing, his filmmaking or his thinking. Using collage-style prose and film techniques to help draw connections, David intrigued Marc with what his art says about the world and our place in it. So the two of them had a talk about some of David’s recent work exploring war, journalism, race, masculinity, Donald Trump, and football player Marshawn Lynch. Both David and Marc try to find the connections, in the work and in their separate lives. This episode is sponsored by Squarespace, NHTSA, and Ben & Jerry's.
Patricia Clarkson came to show business by way of New Orleans, where exposure to all manner of public figures who were equal parts good and bad may explain why she never judges the characters she plays, even if they’re monstrous. That’s true of her Emmy-nominated performance in Sharp Objects and her stage performance as Blanche DuBois, a role Patricia says she had to survive. She also talks with Marc about working with Brian DePalma and Clint Eastwood in her first two films, struggling in Hollywood in her 30s, and feeling like actors her age are now having a heyday. This episode is sponsored by The Righteous Gemstones on HBO, Stamps.com, and Starbucks Tripleshot Energy.
From Episode 930, Marc's conversation with actor Peter Fonda about childhood trauma, Easy Rider, and talking George Harrison down from a bad trip. Peter passed away on August 16, 2019.
Stephen Root grew up moving all over the country because of his dad’s job. Being uprooted all the time meant he was shy and quiet without too many friends. Fortunately, shy, quiet people are good observers. Stephen tells Marc how he was able to channel this childhood disposition into his acting and each opportunity always led to something else. Shakespearean acting helped him play a Klingon on Star Trek. Working on King of the Hill led him to a table read of Office Space. Stephen even sees Newsradio as paving the way for his work on Barry, for which he received his first Emmy nomination. This episode is sponsored by The Righteous Gemstones on HBO, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Ben & Jerry's, and Starbucks Tripleshot Energy. This episode is sponsored by The Righteous Gemstones on HBO, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Ben & Jerry's, and Starbucks Tripleshot Energy.
Bashir Salahuddin is having a moment. He has two new shows out that he co-created and stars in, South Side and Sherman’s Showcase. He’s back in the third season of GLOW. And he’ll be in Top Gun: Maverick next year. But despite all this, Bashir tells Marc that he still struggles with the business aspect of show business. They also talk about his upbringing in Chicago, working with his comedy partner Diallo Riddle, writing for Jimmy Fallon, and dealing with a case of impostor syndrome while working with Tom Cruise. This episode is sponsored by Lights Out with David Spade on Comedy Central, Spotify, Good Boys from Universal Pictures, and Starbucks Tripleshot Energy.
Greg Kinnear actually bailed on being an actor. Even though he performed in high school plays and hosted his own radio show as a teenager, when he started acting in college he decided it wasn’t for him. As Greg tells Marc, it felt like too much of a crap shoot. So he tried broadcast journalism instead, eventually hosting Talk Soup on the fledgling E! channel and Later on NBC. Greg explains how these gigs led him back to acting, and they discuss some of his best roles in As Good As It Gets, Auto Focus, Little Miss Sunshine, and his new movie Brian Banks. This episode is sponsored by Anchor (anchor.fm/maron), Good Boys from Universal Pictures, Capterra (capterra.com/WTF), and Google Fi.
Walton Goggins has played tough guys, weird guys and guys who completely defy description, but to him it’s all just playing pretend. Walton found himself as the center of attention at a young age while he was being raised by a group of women - his mother, his aunts and his grandmother. He caught the performance bug wile living in Georgia and a random American Express mail promotion became his ticket to Los Angeles. Walton tells Marc what it was like to learn on the job from Robert Duvall and Anthony Hopkins, why he panicked after watching Vice Principals for the first time, and how he first met Quentin Tarantino. This episode is sponsored by Lights Out with David Spade on Comedy Central, Squarespace, and SimpliSafe.
Juston McKinney’s story keeps coming back to New Hampshire. It’s where he grew up, where he lost his mother at age six, where his father was a homeless alcoholic, and where Juston became a cop. He tells Marc why he joined the police force in the first place, why he gave it up for comedy, how his background as a cop made him a hot comedian with TV deals and big money promises that all went away. Through the career ups and downs, Juston always finds himself back in New Hampshire, for comedy purposes and for his family. This episode is sponsored by Good Boys from Universal Pictures.
At some point in the past decade, Kurt Andersen felt like he had to figure out America. Coming from a professional career rooted in satire and troublemaking, Kurt had a pretty good vantage point to examine the tug of war between reason and magical thinking that has become a chronic American condition. Kurt talks with Marc about putting this all into his book, Fantasyland, and recalls the founding of Spy Magazine, where he and Graydon Carter took pleasure messing with public institutions like the New York Times, Hollywood, and Donald Trump. They also talk about Kurt's time at the Harvard Lampoon and how he came to host Studio 360. This episode is sponsored by Lights Out with David Spade, Stamps.com, and ZipRecruiter.
Now that Tom Dreesen has 50 years in show business under his belt, he wants to enjoy life. He’s earned it because he’s already experienced enough for five lifetimes. Tom takes Marc all the way back to when he was a kid in suburban Illinois, holding on to a life-changing secret. After wandering aimlessly through jobs in construction, private investigation and the military, he started doing comedy with his partner Tim Reid. Tom talks about going to LA where he became a regular at The Comedy Store, helped the comics organize and eventually was the face of the famous comics strike. He also remarks on his long friendships with David Letterman and Frank Sinatra. This episode is sponsored by Starbucks Tripleshot Energy and Good Boys from Universal Pictures.