Even though Brent Butt grew up in rural Saskatchewan, his path to comedy is similar to American comics, except it was exclusively Canadian. He was a directionless youth who was taken in by comedy on Canadian TV, he booked gigs throughout the Canadian countryside to hone his act, he dealt with monopolistic club owners and did sets in lousy environments like curling rinks. It all led to him being the first native Canadian with a #1 comedy series in Canada, Corner Gas, which was turned into a hit movie and now a cartoon. Brent tells Marc about his journey, and why he has no regrets that he remains fairly anonymous in America. This episode is sponsored by Turo.
Before Stephen Colbert knew what he wanted to do with his life, all he wanted was to be Hamlet. Not to play Hamlet, but to be Hamlet. That’s how he felt as an outsider teen dealing with family tragedy and deep, unaddressed grief. Stephen tells Marc how comedy gave him a refuge from sadness, how his anxiety dissipated when doing improv and sketch comedy, and how a nervous breakdown made him realign his life. They also talk about The Colbert Report, the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, and doing The Late Show in the age of Trump. This episode is sponsored by the new Mailchimp podcast The Jump, Hair Club, and Allbirds.
When Steve Sweeney was growing up in Boston, the last thing he expected to become was an entertainer. He rubbed elbows with career criminals in Charlestown but somehow wound up doing summertime productions of Shakespeare plays and seeing actors like Lawrence Olivier and Christopher Plummer. Acting then led to exposure to comedy, which later led to cocaine-induced psychosis, and eventually to working in jails and with at-risk youth. Steve talks with Marc about the journey to build his act and why he enjoys producing his own projects now, including his new movie Sweeney Killing Sweeney. This episode is sponsored by Turo, Squarespace, and Starbucks Tripleshot Energy.
When Marc read Eve Ensler’s new book The Apology, he knew he had to speak with her right away. Not just because it was a harrowing, beautifully written, courageous book, but because Marc believes the book fully reveals the geometry of toxic masculinity. Eve and Marc have an emotional conversation about why she needed to change the narrative of being the victim to her father’s perpetrator and how she constructed an apology from her deceased father to achieve that goal. They also discuss The Vagina Monologues, the importance of art in social change, and why Eve believes cancer was the best thing that ever happened to her. This episode is sponsored by the Mailchimp podcast The Jump, Manscaped, and Stamps.com.
Jamie Denbo’s life and career would not be the same were it not for her job at a Renaissance fair. Her future in comedy, improv, acting, and now writing and producing might not have taken shape if she didn’t mistakenly audition for a gig she didn’t understand. Jamie tells Marc how early life misdirection and heavy duty self-criticism changed course thanks to the honing of her improv skills at the Ren-Fair and her coming-of-age at the original UCB Theater. They also talk about Ronna and Beverly, why she doesn’t want to do on-camera work anymore, and how she turned the Renaissance fair experience into a comedy series, American Princess. This episode is sponsored by the Netflix podcast I Hate Talking About Myself, Turo, SiriusXM, and Allbirds.
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.