Martin Mull has many job titles in front of his name: Actor, musician, painter, writer, comedian. But when he was younger, struggling to make it as any of those things, he couldn't afford heat for his apartment and had to borrow an electric blanket, which he also could not afford. Martin tells Marc how things turned around, how he found himself in music circles with the likes of Harry Nilsson and John Lennon, how his comedy performances led him to friendships with the likes of Steve Martin and Fred Willard, and how he wound up acting in everything from Roseanne to Sabrina the Teenage Witch to his new show The Cool Kids. This episode is sponsored by Nightflyers on SYFY, The New Yorker, and ZipRecruiter.
Comedian and writer Annie Lederman saw her adolescence take a turn for the worse after a childhood car crash. She was growing up with learning disabilities and attending a Quaker school. Then after the crash she was making choices she didn’t want to make and finding herself in situations that left lasting scars, physically and emotionally. Annie tells Marc how she pulled herself out of the darkness, started her comedy career and ended up in an unexpected relationship that helped her process her trauma. This episode is sponsored by Squarespace, Headlong: Surviving Y2K, and SimpliSafe.
Kenneth Lonergan doesn’t think there’s a real difference between comedy and drama, at least not in the way he writes and directs. The playwright-screenwriter-director talks with Marc about the lie of sentimentality, how ideas collapse when he’s writing and new ideas emerge, and why he hopes to get to 95% satisfaction with his work (he’s gotten to about 90% so far). That work includes Manchester By The Sea, Margaret, You Can Count On Me, and plays like The Waverly Gallery, which is now on Broadway. This episode is sponsored by Loop Jewelry, Screen Dive from 20th Century Fox, YouTube Music, and Stamps.com.
Michael Douglas produced an Academy Award-winner for Best Picture, was the star of a successful television series, and was compiling a notable filmography both in front of and behind the camera. But he still didn't feel like he made it. That finally changed in his 40s, with movies like Wall Street and Fatal Attraction, and Michael tells Marc why that period was such a breakthrough for him. They also talk about why his early work on TV was vital for his career, why Jack Nicholson calls him a “hair actor," and why he was draw to making a serialized comedy like The Kominsky Method with Alan Arkin. This episode is sponsored by Screen Dive from 20th Century Fox, YouTube Music, 23andMe.
"The most dangerous place for black people to live is in white people’s imaginations." That idea has allowed D.L. Hughley to organize a lot of his thoughts on what we're dealing with as a country, and he believes what we're really doing is fighting fear. D.L. tells Marc about his experiences growing up in South Central Los Angeles, getting out before he got lost, and building himself up through comedy. They also talk about two of D.L.'s influences, Robin Harris and Bernie Mac, his tours, his specials, his TV and radio shows, and Kanye. This episode is sponsored by Amy Schumer Presents: 3 Girls, 1 Keith on Spotify, Loop Jewelry, SimpliSafe, and Quip.
Sandy Hackett learned from the best, but not just because Buddy Hackett was his dad. But also because Buddy was his best friend, his road companion, and the guy he opened for night after night. Sandy tells Marc what it was like to grow up in and around Las Vegas, how his entertainment career actually started out as a career in hotel management, and why he decided to create a touring show about The Rat Pack. Plus, Sandy shares some stories about Buddy, Lenny Bruce, Richard Pryor, Johnny Carson, and Elvis Presley. This episode is sponsored by Squarespace and 23andMe.
Rita Rudner is very likely the only person to start a comedy career because of an article in the New York Times business section on soft soap. It was quite the turn of events for Rita, who was dancing professionally on Broadway since she her teenage years. Rita tells Marc how she utilized the performing arts culture of New York City to create a comedy curriculum for herself, how she rose up through the city clubs and took her act on the road to become a major headliner, and why she decided to start working regularly in Las Vegas. This episode is sponsored by The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, YouTube Music, Stamps.com, and ZipRecruiter.
Roger Daltrey believes you can't retire from rock and roll, rock and roll retires you. But for now, as long as Pete can still play and Roger can "sing the s--- out of the songs," The Who will go on. On the release of his memoir, Roger talks with Marc about building his first guitar by hand, meeting Pete Townsend and John Entwistle as schoolboys, finding Keith Moon in a Beach Boys cover band, getting kicked out of The Who over NOT doing drugs, coming back in time for the band to achieve its greatest success, and maintaining his close relationship with Pete after all these years. This episode is sponsored by Screen Dive from 20th Century Fox, The New Yorker, and ZipRecruiter.
Zoe Kazan doesn't think much about the concept of "Hollywood royalty." Yes, her parents are in show business, but she still had to run the gauntlet of failed auditions and odd jobs. Yes, her grandfather's body of work is legendary, but she had a relationship with him that was completely removed from his career. Zoe talks with Marc about paving her own way, as well as working with the Coen Brothers, enjoying the unexpected success of The Big Sick, and collaborating with her partner Paul Dano on their new film Wildlife. This episode is sponsored by Screen Dive from 20th Century Fox, SimpliSafe, and Amazon Music.
Python Week continues on WTF as Eric Idle gives Marc his perspective on the creation of the legendary British comedy group, talks about the making of Monty Python and the Holy Grail, The Rutles, and Spamalot, and explores his feelings about the other Pythons. Eric also explains what it was like growing up at the end of World War II, how rock and roll became his escape from reality, and why he wound up having lasting friendships with David Bowie, George Harrison and Robin Williams. This episode is sponsored by YouTube Music and Quip.