Ronan Farrow needed to come to terms with a lot of things. He processed the pain and trauma that existed in his family during his upbringing. He came to an understanding with his own ambition and drive. And he realized that the deck is stacked against victims and survivors of abuse the world over. These things all contributed to his current work as an investigative journalist, his Pulitzer Prize-winning reporting, and his bestselling book about it all, Catch and Kill. Ronan also talks with Marc about going to college at age 11, serving in the Obama administration, working in Afghanistan, and being a Rhodes Scholar. This episode is sponsored by Squarespace and Scotts Turf Builder Thick'R Lawn.
Some people are born into stunt performing, some achieve it, and some have it thrust upon them. For Brett Smrz, it’s all three. He was born into a family of stuntmen, including his uncle who died doing a stunt. Brett was given his uncle's name, but instead of following his namesake into the family business, Brett wanted to become a race car driver. Then he lost his leg. Brett tells Marc the story of how he rebounded from that life-changing accident to become an elite Hollywood stunt driver, with work in movies like Ford v. Ferrari, Ant-Man, and Michael Bay’s 6 Underground. This episode is sponsored by Duncanville on Fox, SimpliSafe, and Zoro.com.
Ben Schwartz was afraid to do plays in high school. In fact, if it wasn’t for his college girlfriend pushing him to audition for the school improv group, his life would be dramatically different. Ben talks with Marc about his early comedy ambitions which prompted him to sneak into MTV looking for a job, get an internship at the UCB, and become a page for The Late Show with David Letterman. Ben also explains how his confidence grew on camera playing Jean-Ralphio on Parks and Rec, why his mind is blown doing the upcoming show Space Force, and how he’s gravitating toward things he loved as a kid, like Sonic the Hedgehog. This episode is sponsored by Duncanville on Fox, Zoro.com, Capterra, and ZipRecruiter.
Once Marc gets over the confusion around Dan Levy’s name (he pronounces it differently than the Dan Levy from Schitt’s Creek), he tries to figure out how Dan went from being a guy opening at comedy clubs to a creator and showrunner of his own network sitcom. Dan talks about getting into writing while doing road gigs as a comic, what it was like to write for friends like Whitney Cummings and John Mulaney, how it was different to be a hired joke writer on a show like The Goldbergs, and how it all prepared him for his own show, Indebted. Plus, Dan shares an amazing story of pitching a script to Arnold Schwarzenegger, Danny DeVito and Eddie Murphy. This episode is sponsored by Zoro.com and Bombas.
Ashton Kutcher is still close with the modeling agent who discovered him in a bar in Iowa. He’s also still with the manager who got him his first acting work. Ashton talks with Marc about why he feels such a strong loyalty to the people who first gave him a shot, especially because those early shots led to acting stardom, a successful production company, and lucrative involvement in the world of tech investing. They also talk about That ‘70s Show, Punk’d, taking over for Charlie Sheen on Two and a Half Men, and why his love of three-camera sitcoms prompted him to make The Ranch as both a sitcom and a drama. This episode is sponsored by Squarespace and Stamps.com.
Ben Bailey and Marc share a particular gripe as comics. Both of them became widely known for beloved projects they started doing on a whim. For Ben it was Cash Cab, for Marc it was this podcast. And as much as they love those projects, they really just wanted to be known as stand-ups. Ben tells Marc how he got his start answering phones at The Comedy Store and how he really wanted to be a marine biologist before he got into comedy. He also describes his lifelong fascination with fish tanks and other tank-based aquatic environments. This episode is sponsored by the Unspooled podcast.
Terry Crews survived a lot. He survived a tumultuous upbringing in an alcoholic household. He survived the destruction of his hometown, Flint, Michigan. He survived playing in the NFL. He survived a pornography addiction that sent him to rehab, and his marriage survived it too. And he survived a confrontation with Hollywood agents that he was certain would end his career. Terry tells Marc how his love of art, music and comedy always won out and how projects like Idiocracy, Brooklyn 99 and America’s Got Talent have embedded him in the culture. This episode is sponsored by Dave's Killer Bread and Yo, Is This Racist?
Josh Klinghoffer came over to Marc’s house just days after receiving the surprising news from the Red Hot Chili Peppers that his time with the band was over. He talks with Marc about John Frusciante’s sudden RHCP reunion and being the odd man out. But he also talks about what it’s like to develop as a solo artist under the name Pluralone after may years of feeling like he was hiding in other people’s projects, including well-regarded collaborations with Bob Forrest, the Butthole Surfers, Jon Brion, Beck, PJ Harvey, Danger Mouse and more. This episode is sponsored by Beautiful Stories from Anonymous People and ZipRecruiter.
When listening to actor Brian Cox talk with Marc, it’s hard to see how this pleasant man is anything like the despotic, cold-blooded patriarch Logan Roy, who he plays on HBO’s Succession. Except there is one thing they have in common: They both see the human experiment as rather ludicrous. Brian’s view of a world that is absurd above all else has served him well playing any number of Shakespearian characters, Hannibal the Cannibal, and his real life role as a champion for Scottish independence. This episode is sponsored by Awkwafina is Nora from Queens on Comedy Central and SimpliSafe.
Randall Park’s Korean immigrant parents were skeptical about their son’s career path. But that all changed when Randall played the actual dictator of North Korea in The Interview, a movie that caused an international incident. Randall also tells Marc why he founded an Asian-American theater company in college and why he’s taking the same mentality at the core of that group to his Hollywood production company. They also talk about Fresh Off The Boat, Always Be My Maybe, his friendship with Ali Wong, and the magic of a root canal. This episode is sponsored by Squarespace.