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.