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.
John Cleese says there's one constant throughout his life, from Monty Python through today. He still has a very strong childish side and it has done him well. John talks to Marc about putting that childish side to work when he was doing sketch comedy at Cambridge and why the success of Monty Python had a lot to do with five guys who all liked pushing boundaries. Also, John and Marc try to find the line between affectionate and inappropriate comedy by telling each other a string of off-color jokes. This episode is sponsored by Amy Schumer Presents: 3 Girls, 1 Keith on Spotify and Stamps.com.
Actor Richard E. Grant keeps a daily diary and has done so since he was ten years old. Having immediate access to his past experiences has no doubt helped his performances as a wide variety of characters throughout his career. Richard and Marc talk about his standout roles, working with directors like Scorsese, Coppola, and Altman, and now working side-by-side with Melissa McCarthy in Can You Ever Forgive Me? Also, comedian Brian Posehn stops by to talk about his new memoir and how being a nerd can also be a religion. This episode is sponsored by Squarespace and YouTube Music.