David Alan Grier studied to become a serious actor at Yale School of Drama, which actually came in handy when he got cast on one of the funniest shows of all time, In Living Color. David talks with Marc about his varied career on stage, screen and in the comedy clubs. Plus, comedian Joe Mande takes a break from Twitter to stop by the garage and talk about how he staged an award show for his new standup special. This episode is sponsored by Room 104 on HBO, Rick and Morty on Adult Swim, and SimpliSafe.
Marc believes - and many agree with him - that Randy Newman is an American genius. One person who's not so sure is Randy himself who, after half a century as a recording artist, 13 solo albums, 23 soundtracks, six Grammys, two Oscars and induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, tells Marc he still doesn't think he's done enough. They talk about Randy's early albums, his struggles with songwriting, his film scores, his latest album Dark Matter and his legacy in American music. This episode is sponsored by HBO's Room 104, ZipRecruiter and Dr. Katz: The Audio Files on Audible Channels.
David Remnick is a seasoned journalist, an accomplished writer and a proud amateur guitar player. But he's also the gatekeeper of an American institution as editor of The New Yorker. Marc and David talk about the versatility of The New Yorker's content, from poetry to fiction to investigative reporting and more, and how the current political and cultural climates demand our engagement with all aspects of art, literature and information. This episode is sponsored by the new film Landline and Thumbtack.
With indelible roles in shows like The Sopranos, Nurse Jackie and Horace and Pete, a lot of people feel like they know Edie Falco very well, even though they only know her characters. Edie helps Marc dispel some of these preconceived notions by discussing her early struggles as an aspiring actor, why she wanted to be a mother, who intimidates her when she's on set, and how she dealt with a major dilemma when she was offered the role of Carmela Soprano. This episode is sponsored by Casper.
Blues legends Keb' Mo' and Taj Mahal are distinctly different individuals. One grew up in Compton, California, the other grew up in Springfield, Massachusetts. One was raised on Caribbean music, the other got schooled in the Southern Blues. One is quiet and contemplative, the other is an excitable storyteller. But as they tell Marc about their separate journeys, it actually makes sense that they wound up weaving their styles together and collaborating on a new joint project, TajMo. This episode is sponsored by Blue Apron and Stamps.com.
Give a listen to how the sausage of television gets made as Marc talks with the creative team behind the show GLOW. First, hear about the process of scripting a season of television as a group from the show's writers, Rachel Shukert, Nick Jones and Sascha Rothchild. Then Marc speaks with the creators and showrunners Carly Mensch and Liz Flahive who had to bring all the parts together and still maintain their long-standing friendship. This episode is sponsored by the Men's Wearhouse National Suit Drive, Stamps.com, and Dr. Katz: The Audio Files on Audible Channels.
Filmmaker Jeff Baena was always into movies that didn't fit into easy categories. He tells Marc about having his mind blown at an early age thanks to directors like Kubrick and Fellini, which helps explain how Jeff could wind up writing a screenplay like I Heart Huckabees and directing a twisted Middle Ages comedy like The Little Hours. Also, Marc gets his friend and television foil Dave Anthony to stop so they can talk about Dave's new book and make fun of each other. This episode is sponsored by Squarespace, The Big Sick, and the Men's Wearhouse National Suit Drive.
It's a tag team match with two of Marc's GLOW colleagues. First, Chavo Guerrero Jr. stops by to tell Marc what it's like to be part of a wrestling dynasty and how he put his lifetime of experience to use as the behind-the-scenes trainer on GLOW. Then Kia Stevens talks about going from social work to wrestling stardom and how she was able to play the character of Tamee, aka Welfare Queen, by drawing on past incidents of dealing with racial stereotyping in the wrestling world. This episode is sponsored by Hood Adjacent with James Davis on Comedy Central and the Men's Wearhouse National Suit Drive.
Jason Mantzoukas is a great improvisational comedian, which you would know from seeing him in shows like The League, on podcasts like How Did This Get Made? and in movies like The House. As he explains to Marc, it was only after undertaking a global musical quest, having mystical experiences in foreign lands and being jailed in Morocco that Jason realized his true calling was comedy, which is still the one thing that quiets his fears and anxieties. This episode is sponsored by One Night Only: Alec Baldwin on Spike, the Outside the Box podcast, GLOW on Netflix, and SimpliSafe.
Even when she was in school, Jenji Kohan didn't like being told what she couldn't do. So it makes sense that after she was told there was no chance she'd ever get on a TV writing staff, Jenji would make the hit shows Weeds, Orange is the New Black and now GLOW. Jenji tells Marc about her early influences, her string of unsatisfying writing jobs, and the inspiration she drew from working with Tracey Ullman. This episode is sponsored by Carvana, One Night Only: Alec Baldwin on Spike, and Audible.