To play Richard Jewell, Paul Walter Hauser knew he needed to tap into a part of himself he thought he left behind in Saginaw, Michigan. Paul and Marc talk about his Christian upbringing as the son of a Lutheran pastor, the importance of faith in his life today, how show business initially beat him down and kicked him back to his home town, and how he got back in the game with an emotional audition that changed everything. They also talk about his performances in I, Tonya and Blackkklansman. This episode is sponsored by the Watchmen Podcast, SimpliSafe and American Express.
Before he was a King of Comedy, before he was even an entertainer, he was Cedric the Insurance Claims Adjuster. Cedric and Marc talk about his emergence in the St. Louis-area comedy scene and how the business of Black Comedy took off. Cedric also looks back on his brief but game-changing touring days with Bernie Mac, Steve Harvey and DL Hughley, his roles in movies like Barbershop and First Reformed, and his current CBS series The Neighborhood. This episode is sponsored by WHO by The Who, Zoro.com, American Express, and Stamps.com.
Photographer Ethan Russell is the only person to shoot album covers for The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, and The Who, which is quite an achievement considering he didn’t even want a career as a photographer. Ethan talks with Marc about going from the U.S. to England in the 1960s to become a writer, only to find himself working with Mick Jagger and taking rock and roll photographs that stand the test of time. On the eve of the 50th anniversary of the ill-fated Altamont Free Concert, Ethan describes what it was like to document the event and be on the helicopter that got the Stones out of there when it all went down. This episode is sponsored by Zoro.com and SimpliSafe.
There was a point in Jessica Kirson’s life where she was living with too many secrets. She was a pot dealer, she had a hidden cocaine habit, and she was deeply in the closet. Jessica worked to unburden herself of all those secrets and found a breakthrough when her grandmother told her, at 29 years old, that she should be a comedian. Jessica and Marc talk about her therapist mom, her stepbrother Zach Braff, her ex-girlfriend Susan Powter, and her unexpected friend Robert DeNiro. She also explains what it’s like to finally allow herself to experience success. This episode is sponsored by Squarespace and Stance Socks.
Keith Wager is a recovery friend of Marc’s who has a lot to be thankful for. Instead of doing drugs and getting arrested, like he did in the past, now he’s telling stories about his addiction and recovery on his podcast It’s All Bad. And because it always helps to talk about things, Keith and Marc talk about the bad decisions he made while drunk or on speed, his time in various detention centers, and his new life as a Hollywood wardrobe stylist. Plus, Marc delivers his annual reminder of how to manage the emotional minefield of Thanksgiving. This episode is sponsored by Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood, SimpliSafe, and American Express.
Mike Sweeney tried on several different careers before becoming the head writer for Conan O’Brien: trial lawyer, standup comedian, warm-up comic. But it’s a miracle he was able to do any of them after growing up in a violent, unpredictable household. Mike tells Marc the truly shocking circumstances of his early life, as well as the better days doing comedy in New York City, the highs of Late Night on NBC, the chaos of Conan’s Tonight Show days, and the many hats he now wears in the Conan Empire. This episode is sponsored by Zoro.com, Stamps.com, and Pepsi.
Comic Louis Katz was working with Marc just before the launch of WTF. In the ten years since, Louis and Marc have taken paths that are both similar and completely different. They share their experiences on the road and get into the nuts and bolts of comedy club standup, then and now, as well as the persistent East Coast-West Coast split between comedy sensibilities. Louis also talks about what it was like to have a long distance relationship when starting out in comedy and what he’s only learning about himself now after spending the past two decades working in the field. This episode is sponsored by Squarespace and SimpliSafe.
When a very complementary newspaper profile called Nathan Lane “the last of the great entertainers,” Nathan couldn’t help but wonder, “Is that all there is?” Nathan talks with Marc about the subsequent steps he took to get himself out of the box people wanted him in, which included taking on roles like Hickey in The Iceman Cometh and Roy Cohn in Angels in America. They also discuss Nathan’s early days of dinner theater and stand-up comedy, his theory on why The Producers was such a big hit, and why he finally wanted to get married. This episode is sponsored by Watchmen on HBO, Stamps.com, and ZipRecruiter.
Actress Lili Taylor and Marc quickly realize how much they have in common, like their nearly 50 combined years of sobriety, their similar stories about parents struggling with mental illness, and their search for belonging in New York City when they were younger. Lili tells Marc what it was like to be a central figure in the independent film community of the 1990s, but that was only a short moment in the first part of her life. The question Lili’s been asking herself lately is, Am I up to the task of the next part of my life? She may have found her answer in bird watching. This episode is sponsored by Zoro.com, SimpliSafe, and Stance.
Tony Hale is trying to be more present. He’s motivated by the fact that some of the biggest moments of his career on shows like Arrested Development and Veep are lost down the memory hole. Tony and Marc trace the reasons for these mental gaps, which are largely attributable to childhood panic attacks, codependency, and a long-running search for identity. They also talk about Tony’s reliance on his faith, his comedy partnership with Julia Louis-Dreyfus, and his emergence as a beloved children’s character, Forky. This episode is sponsored by Vital Farms, New Mexico, The Only Podcast Left, and quip toothbrushes.