It’s very likely Rick Baker created something that made you smile, laugh, cringe, scream, or all of the above, as one of the most innovative and memorable creators of makeup effects in movie history. Rick tells Marc about being obsessed with movie makeup at 10 years old, watching monster movies on television, and drawing inspiration from Lon Chaney and his future colleague Dick Smith. But he had to fight to be accepted in an industry that didn’t want him, as he went on to create iconic cinema moments, from Star Wars to American Werewolf in London to dozens of versions of Eddie Murphy to The Grinch to gorillas. Lots and lots of gorillas. This episode is sponsored by Squarespace and the Adult Swim Podcast.
Living in Hawaii gives Woody Harrelson a pretty good perspective of what life should really be about. It’s a mentality that influences the way he chooses projects, the way he engages in activism, and the way he fulfills is spiritual side. Woody and Marc talk about this mindset and how it evolved over his career. He talks about the offer he turned down that would have kept Cheers on the air, the process he went through to get into the mind of a psychopath for Natural Born Killers, and the way his life changed after playing Larry Flynt, as well as some talk about Kingpin, No Country for Old Men, and Zombieland: Doubletap. This episode is sponsored by Living with Yourself on Netflix.
Marc sees Rachel Maddow on TV almost every night. But there was a time when they saw each other every day, back when they worked together at Air America Radio. Rachel and Marc talk about those early radio days which turned out to be a transitional point in both of their lives. Rachel also explains how her early days of AIDS activism and public policy studies eventually led her to the broadcasting career she has now, which is something she never imagined herself doing. They also discuss depression, prayer, self-confidence, and why she felt compelled to write her new book, Blowout. This episode is sponsored by Vital Farms, Stamps.com, and The RealReal.
Jackie Tohn is the co-star on GLOW who Marc feels he knows the most. Not because they knew each other before making the show, but because they share backgrounds and upbringings that make them very familiar to each other. Jackie tells Marc about growing up on Long Island, intent on pursuing an acting career, only to be met with heartbreak after heartbreak, from pilots that didn’t go to last minute casting changes to an American Idol bust. Jackie explains how a disappointed friend helped snap her out of her funk and how she’s embracing her musical abilities in her comedy today. This episode is sponsored by SweeTango, The RealReal, Intersect by AWS, and Pepsi.
Argus Hamilton is the human embodiment of The Comedy Store, with the distinction of being one of the original Comedy Store comics and the only person of his generation who still works there today. In other words, he’s the perfect guest for WTF, as Marc continues building a comprehensive oral history of the infamous club. Argus tells some stories and dispels some myths about The Store’s origins, about the comics who really put the place on the map, about the big names like Pryor, Williams and Kinison who made the place their playground, and about his unique relationship with Mitzi Shore, the woman behind it all.
Danny DeVito is one of America’s most beloved actors and that’s true across multiple generations. Whether it’s because you came of age with One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest or watched Taxi every week or accepted his version of The Penguin as definitive or followed his antics with The Gang for 14 years on It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Danny is probably someone you feel like you know. Marc takes the time to know more about Danny, finding out about his Jersey Shore childhood, his days as a gardener and hairdresser, and his life behind the camera, directing favorites like Throw Momma from the Train and producing movies like Pulp Fiction. This episode is sponsored by Squarespace and SimpliSafe.
Marilu Henner will not forget what was said in this conversation. That’s mostly because she has a rare condition that allows her to remember virtually everything that ever happened to her. But it’s also because she and Marc go deep into her life and multifaceted career. They discuss the eccentric environment she was raised in, the tragedy that befell her family, the acting break that got her started in show business, the health challenges in her life that led to a career as an author, and her varied relationships with costars like John Travolta, Andy Kaufman, Burt Reynolds and Donald Trump. This episode is sponsored by SweeTango, Zoro.com, and Stamps.com.
Jeannie Gaffigan had a lot on her plate. She was raising five kids, writing comedy with her husband Jim, and producing a television sitcom. She was so busy taking care of others that she forgot to take care of herself. Jeannie tells Marc how that self-neglect led to the inadvertent discovery of a brain tumor the size of a pear, a ten-hour surgery to remove it, and the complications that threatened her life. Now, on the road to a full recovery, Jeannie is learning how to let go of some of the control she used to rely on and embrace the messiness of life. This episode is sponsored by BetterHelp and EverlyWell.
How did Byron Allen go from teenage stand-up to highly successful media mogul and entrepreneur? Byron thinks it has everything to do with growing up in Detroit, watching his dad working at Ford and internalizing that factory worker mentality. Of course, his mom was a big help too, working as a tour guide at NBC Studios so young Byron could watch and learn from Johnny Carson, Redd Foxx, Richard Pryor and many others. Byron tells Marc how he found The Comedy Store, how he put in the hard work to get his own show on television, and how he came to own a media empire that includes The Weather Channel. This episode is sponsored by South Park and Crank Yankers on Comedy Central, the Hella Mega Tour, and BetterHelp.
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.