Holly Hunter left the family farm in Georgia to become an actor. She talks with Marc about her early days in New York, catching the attention of the Coen Brothers as they were on the verge of making their first film, and everything that followed, including her foray into voice acting with The Incredibles and its new sequel. Also, Amber Tamblyn returns to talk about being a new mom, fighting for gender equality, and how it all relates to her new novel Any Man. This episode is sponsored by Outside the Box, Gossip, StitchFix and Sonos.
Bob Balaban was born into show business and he didn't even know it until he was 10. The ubiquitous actor tells Marc how his immigrant family came to Chicago at the turn of the century and broke into the movie business, eventually winding up in charge of Paramount Studios. Bob also talks with Marc about Charlie Brown, Midnight Cowboy, Altered States, Christopher Guest, Francois Truffaut, and his many roles in film, stage and TV, including his new show Condor. This episode is sponsored by the new film Hearts Beat Loud, Ben & Jerry's, and Stamps.com.
From Episode 233, this is Marc's conversation with Anthony Bourdain, conducted in 2011. Anthony died on June 8, 2018, at age 61.
Vanessa Hollingshead can honestly say that a cruise ship saved her life. She tells Marc what led to a comedy career in the first place after a childhood spent in communes, foster homes, and around lots of grown-ups on acid and other psychedelic drugs. Vanessa got a hot start in comedy and her big break was right in front of her, and then it all went away, followed by a crushing personal tragedy. And if it wasn't for that cruise ship, she might not be here telling this story. This episode is sponsored by Squarespace and SimpliSafe.
David Harbour became pretty cynical about the acting profession before landing the star-making role of Jim Hopper on Stranger Things. But he and Marc are in agreement that it was probably better for David to hit it big after four decades of dealing with anxiety, self-hatred, mania, fear, sobriety, and the difficult project of building one's identity. David and Marc also talk about Hellboy, the elves on the edges of reality, and the one character trait of Hopper's that David likes the most. This episode is sponsored by Casper and Audible.
Rachel Brosnahan related to the pressures and insecurities of standup comics when she got the lead role of a 1950s standup in The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. That's because she feels constant dread as an actor, going from project to project, always worried it's not going to go well. Rachel compares notes with Marc about being a standup vs. being an actor, learning the craft in school vs. learning on the job, and why working on episodic television may be the best training for actors. This episode is sponsored by The Break with Michelle Wolf on Netflix and the Outside the Box Podcast.
Tom Papa got the comedy bug early in life but his unconventional path went from football to live theater to standup. Once Tom started writing jokes while working as a security guard, there was no turning back. Tom talks with Marc about the competitive '90s comedy scene, his close friendship with the late Greg Giraldo, his public failure with The Marriage Ref, his new gig on public radio, and the two people who took a chance on him and helped shape his life and career: Jerry Seinfeld and Steven Soderbergh. This episode is sponsored by Arrested Development on Netflix.
Paul Rodriguez has always been paying his dues. Even before he paid his dues doing open mics and parking cars at The Comedy Store, he paid his dues growing up in Compton, serving in the Air Force, and struggling with the religious devotion of his family. Paul and Marc talk about those early days, as well as his first appearances on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, his infamous comedy special in San Quentin, and his most recent comedy special which Paul insists will be his last. This episode is sponsored by Joe Pera Talks With You on Adult Swim and the Outside the Box podcast.
Nearly seven years after doing an episode of WTF that never aired, Neal Brennan sits down with Marc for a conversation that is probably the one they should have had all those years ago. Neal and Marc talk about how the two of them have changed since then, especially in light of Neal’s recent comedy special 3 Mics, which mixed heavy personal stories with jokes. Now that they feel better about themselves and each other, Marc and Neal try to figure out what they really want next and whether they should be doing more with their lives. This episode is sponsored by Spotify, Squarespace, and Casper.
Mary Steenburgen started out pretty far away from Hollywood, as a young girl in Little Rock, Arkansas, growing up during the era of school desegregation. She fortified herself in that environment before heading out to become an actor, working directly with legendary acting teacher Sanford Meisner and getting her big break thanks to Jack Nicholson. Mary and Marc also talk about parenting, fame, divorce, re-marriage, and the close friendship she has formed with the co-stars of her new movie, Book Club. This episode is sponsored by Joe Pera Talks With You on Adult Swim, Podcasts on Spotify, and Amazon Music.