Lily Tomlin received a bit of advice early in her life that she really took to heart: If you can’t be direct, why be? Lily’s direct approach to performing, exemplified by her creation of original characters, led her to early success in New York cabarets, spots on The Merv Griffin Show, and her breakout showcase on Laugh-In. Lily and Marc talk about her personal and professional relationship with her longtime collaborator and now wife Jane Wagner, her roles in movies like Nashville and 9 to 5, and her friendship with Jane Fonda that continues today as they reach the sixth season of Grace and Frankie. This episode is sponsored by Avenue 5 on HBO and Capterra.
Joe Mantegna is about as Chicago as they come. He grew up in Chicago, he talks like he’s from Chicago, he got his acting start in Chicago, he even used to play with the band Chicago. That might explain why he tells Marc he still thinks of himself as a blue collar guy with a blue collar job. Joe talks about the moment West Side Story changed his life, how David Mamet became his champion, and why he choses such a wide variety of projects, including his 13 years on Criminal Minds and his 30 years as Fat Tony on The Simpsons. This episode is sponsored by Stamps.com and Shyn.
During a victory lap for their movie Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio put movie stardom on hold for an hour to have a chat with Marc. They talk about their early days as show business outsiders, the moment they knew their lives would never be the same, the times they've known a movie they're in is going to tank, why they don't want to direct and why they love to produce. This episode is sponsored by SimpliSafe and Everything's Gonna Be Okay on Freeform.
Scott Caan stars in major movies, is on a long running television series, published his own photography, wrote more than 20 plays, and yet he’s still not sure what he wants to do when he grows up. Scott and Marc talk about finding professional fulfillment after a lifetime of personal growth, from being a kid looking for trouble to mellowing with age, letting go of anger, and embracing fatherhood. Scott also tells Marc about his aborted rap career and the evolution of his relationship with his dad. This episode is sponsored by Squarespace.
Shauna Duggins does stunts for blockbuster movies and TV series, but at first she just wanted to entertain. She went to Los Angeles fresh out of college with a business degree and a lifetime of gymnastics experience. At the neighborhood gym, she started hanging out with a stunt crew and learned the skills that got her jobs on Charlie’s Angels, Fast Five, and Iron Man 3. Shauna tells Marc how she got the nerve to do stunts like 80-foot jumps and being set on fire, what it’s like to serve as stunt coordinator for shows like GLOW, and what stunts made her fear for her life. This episode is sponsored by American Express.
Brittany Howard always needs to keep moving forward. That’s part of the reason she made the difficult decision to take a break from her band Alabama Shakes and go out on her own. Now, for the first time as a Grammy-nominated solo artist, Brittany is trying to force herself to be present and reckon with the fact that she tried so hard to get away from the past. Brittany and Marc also talk about the importance of the rhythm section, being in a prog rock band, trashing her first guitar, and embracing the inner child. This episode is sponsored by SimpliSafe and The Only Podcast left on Spotify.
Jimmy Tingle has a lot in common with Marc and many other Boston-based WTF guests. But what sets Jimmy apart is the merger of his comedy with politics and civic engagement. Jimmy tells Marc about his sobriety, his shift toward one-man shows and his focus on societal issues, which eventually led to him getting into Harvard in his mid-50s, giving the commencement address, and running for office. They also talk about how Jimmy wound up in the Andy Rooney spot on 60 Minutes 2 and his influential friendship with Howard Zinn. This episode is sponsored by quip and American Express.
Academy Award-winning documentarian Alex Gibney is always trying to understand why things are the way they are. He’s done so with Enron, Scientology, the War on Terror, Donald Trump and other topics where he often finds people believing that the ends justify the means. That’s true of his new documentary Citizen K about Russian oligarchs and Vladimir Putin. Alex also talks with Marc about his path to becoming a filmmaker and how the Blues opened him up to the possibilities of the documentary medium. This episode is sponsored by Squarespace and SimpliSafe.
Jay Roach went from directing major comedies like the Austin Powers series and Meet the Parents to making timely political films like Recount, Game Change and his new movie Bombshell. The transition makes more sense when you hear Jay tell Marc how he’s gone from one thing to another in life - teaching in college, making documentaries, meeting his wife, meeting Mike Myers, directing his first feature film with no track record - often without warning or any plan at all. Jay and Marc also talk about their shared upbringing in New Mexico and Jay’s next project about Kent State. This episode is sponsored by Depeche Mode: Spirits in the Forest, the Watchmen Podcast, Pepsi, and Stamps.com.
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.