Lee Daniels got his start in show business by running a nursing agency. That may seem unusual but the road to success for the producer-writer-director behind Precious, The Butler and Empire has always been unorthodox. As Lee tells Marc, the sideways nature of his path to achievement matches up with his personal life, in which he found out by phone one day that he was going to have to put the breaks on his partying and become a father to his niece and nephew. This episode is sponsored by ZipRecruiter and Stamps.com.
From Episode 464, this is Marc's conversation with actor Harry Dean Stanton who passed away on September 15, 2017 at age 91. This episode also includes a follow-up conversation with Sophie Huber, director of the documentary Harry Dean Stanton: Partly Fiction.
Kathy Bates hammered her way into movie and pop culture history with her Oscar-winning performance in Misery. Kathy tells Marc why acting never seemed like an option when she was younger, what she learned working with colleagues like Dustin Hoffman, Jessica Tandy, Mike Nichols, and James Caan, and why after decades of work on the stage and screen she decided now was the time to do a show like Disjointed, a three-camera sitcom with a live studio audience. Plus, comedian Graham Elwood stops by to talk about Ear Buds: The Podcasting Documentary. This episode is sponsored by Vice Principals on HBO and Casper.
Ken Burns and his frequent collaborator Lynn Novick have made indelible documentaries about American life, on subjects like jazz, baseball, the Civil War, and World War II. Their latest film is a ten-part examination of the Vietnam War, and Marc talks with them about the bold storytelling choices used in the film, the decade-long process that went into making an 18-hour documentary, and the lessons learned that show we are still living in an America defined by this specific war. This episode is sponsored by Comedy Central, Stamps.com, and Hello Fresh.
Not every global pop superstar would feel at home in Marc's garage, but Lorde isn't your average global pop superstar. The singer-songwriter takes some time before kicking off her worldwide Melodrama tour to talk with Marc about her life in New Zealand, her frequent collaborator Jack Antonoff, and the math of making pop music. They also go down a music rabbit hole as Lorde reveals herself to be a knowledgable student of classic rock, power pop, rhythm and blues, and Phil Collins. This episode is sponsored by Sonos, Soothe, and the Harold Ramis Film School.
Warren Hutcherson and Marc were getting their starts in standup around the same time. Then, as Marc recalls it, Warren was suddenly a television writer and wasn't on the standup scene anymore. Warren explains how his college-age writing was responsible for his somewhat accidental entry into comedy, which led to him running the network television gauntlet, navigating the conventions and biases of Hollywood on his way to becoming a writer and showrunner on programs like The Bernie Mac Show. This episode is sponsored by Squarespace and Audible.
From Episode 332, this is Marc's conversation with comedian Shelley Berman. Shelley passed away on September 1, 2017 at age 92.
Steve Jordan is considered one of the greatest rock and roll drummers of all time. He joins Marc in the garage to talk about his years playing in the house bands for David Letterman and Saturday Night Live, which included being part of The Blues Brothers' band. Steve also shares stories of his collaborations with Neil Young, Don Henley, Eric Clapton, Bob Dylan, Chuck Berry and The Rolling Stones, which led to a prolific partnership and friendship with Keith Richards. This episode is sponsored by the new film 'mother!' from Paramount Pictures and The Harold Ramis Film School.
Actor Jay Baruchel takes the trip down from Canada to talk with Marc about life, acting and the Great White North. Jay explains what it was like being raised in a family that was righteously engaged in politics while also beset by criminal activity and alcoholism. He also tells Marc why it's important to him to see Canadian culture reflected in film, which is one of the reasons he wrote and directed the new movie Goon: Last of the Enforcers. This episode is sponsored by The War on Drugs' new album A Deeper Understanding and Stamps.com.
Marc gets the full story of how Vincent Furnier became Alice Cooper and took rock & roll into dark and unexpected territory. Alice tells Marc about the early formation of his band, how his return to Christianity helped him confront his alcoholism, and how he's remained sober for nearly 40 years. Along the way, he inspired, and was inspired by, the likes of John Lennon, Iggy Pop, Lou Reed, Frank Sinatra, Groucho Marx, Glen Campbell, and many more. This episode is sponsored by Stitcher Premium, Audible, and Warby Parker.