Rachel Brosnahan related to the pressures and insecurities of standup comics when she got the lead role of a 1950s standup in The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. That's because she feels constant dread as an actor, going from project to project, always worried it's not going to go well. Rachel compares notes with Marc about being a standup vs. being an actor, learning the craft in school vs. learning on the job, and why working on episodic television may be the best training for actors. This episode is sponsored by The Break with Michelle Wolf on Netflix and the Outside the Box Podcast.
Tom Papa got the comedy bug early in life but his unconventional path went from football to live theater to standup. Once Tom started writing jokes while working as a security guard, there was no turning back. Tom talks with Marc about the competitive '90s comedy scene, his close friendship with the late Greg Giraldo, his public failure with The Marriage Ref, his new gig on public radio, and the two people who took a chance on him and helped shape his life and career: Jerry Seinfeld and Steven Soderbergh. This episode is sponsored by Arrested Development on Netflix.
Paul Rodriguez has always been paying his dues. Even before he paid his dues doing open mics and parking cars at The Comedy Store, he paid his dues growing up in Compton, serving in the Air Force, and struggling with the religious devotion of his family. Paul and Marc talk about those early days, as well as his first appearances on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, his infamous comedy special in San Quentin, and his most recent comedy special which Paul insists will be his last. This episode is sponsored by Joe Pera Talks With You on Adult Swim and the Outside the Box podcast.
Nearly seven years after doing an episode of WTF that never aired, Neal Brennan sits down with Marc for a conversation that is probably the one they should have had all those years ago. Neal and Marc talk about how the two of them have changed since then, especially in light of Neal’s recent comedy special 3 Mics, which mixed heavy personal stories with jokes. Now that they feel better about themselves and each other, Marc and Neal try to figure out what they really want next and whether they should be doing more with their lives. This episode is sponsored by Spotify, Squarespace, and Casper.
Mary Steenburgen started out pretty far away from Hollywood, as a young girl in Little Rock, Arkansas, growing up during the era of school desegregation. She fortified herself in that environment before heading out to become an actor, working directly with legendary acting teacher Sanford Meisner and getting her big break thanks to Jack Nicholson. Mary and Marc also talk about parenting, fame, divorce, re-marriage, and the close friendship she has formed with the co-stars of her new movie, Book Club. This episode is sponsored by Joe Pera Talks With You on Adult Swim, Podcasts on Spotify, and Amazon Music.
Josh Brolin knows that time and maturity saved his life. Going back to his rebellious youth, Josh can point to many times where he could have been done in, even after he was already a successful actor. Josh and Marc talk about addictive behavior, self-destruction, and why sobriety finally stuck. They also talk about Sam Shepard, Nick Nolte, Sean Penn, the Coen Brothers, Denzel Washington, and the surprising fulfillment of making superhero movies, particularly Avengers: Infinity War and Deadpool 2. This episode is sponsored by Patrick Melrose on Showtime, Casting Call podcast from Squarespace and Gimlet Creative, ZipRecruiter, and Stamps.com.
Before comedy and acting were ever on Melissa McCarthy's radar, she was like a lot midwestern teens trying to find herself. She tells Marc how her cheerleading years were followed by a partially-shaved head and goth makeup. The search for an identity led to acting, which led to New York, which led to LA, which led to an all-star class at the Groundlings. They also talk about how she met her husband, how she got cast on Gilmore Girls, how Bridesmaids came to be, why she played Sean Spicer on SNL, and what went into making her new movie, Life of the Party. This episode is sponsored by Ali Wong: Hard Knock Wife on Netflix and SimpliSafe.
Rachel Bloom is a self-described show pony, a people-pleaser with a lifelong desire to perform as a means of keeping her anxieties at bay. She tells Marc how those impulses pushed her toward musical theater, which in turn led to self-produced music videos on YouTube, which eventually led to the creation of her hit show, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. Rachel and Marc also discuss Jewish grandmothers, gender disparities in TV comedy, and the new movie she made with her husband, Most Likely to Murder. This episode is sponsored by Patrick Melrose on Showtime, Squarespace, and Shari's Berries.
Drew Carey was in a bad place. After losing his dad at a young age, suffering through anxiety and depression in high school, confused by the pressures of religion, Drew made a rash decision when he was in college. But it was comedy that pulled him out of the abyss. Drew tells Marc how he figured it all out, plus some talk about Cleveland (The Indians! Ghoulardi! The Cuyahoga River Fire!) and why hosting The Price is Right wound up being the perfect job for him. This episode is sponsored by Ben & Jerry's Pint Slices and Shari's Berries.