Jamie Denbo’s life and career would not be the same were it not for her job at a Renaissance fair. Her future in comedy, improv, acting, and now writing and producing might not have taken shape if she didn’t mistakenly audition for a gig she didn’t understand. Jamie tells Marc how early life misdirection and heavy duty self-criticism changed course thanks to the honing of her improv skills at the Ren-Fair and her coming-of-age at the original UCB Theater. They also talk about Ronna and Beverly, why she doesn’t want to do on-camera work anymore, and how she turned the Renaissance fair experience into a comedy series, American Princess. This episode is sponsored by the Netflix podcast I Hate Talking About Myself, Turo, SiriusXM, and Allbirds.
As Mavis Staples turns 80 years old, she continues to perform and record with young musicians and producers across musical genres, just as she’s done her whole life. Mavis talks with Marc about her early years as a gospel singer with her family, the stunned reception they received when they started singing R&B songs, and the life-threatening acts of racial prejudice she encountered in the Jim Crow South. Mavis also details the important moments she shared with her father Pops Staples, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Bob Dylan. This episode is sponsored by Starbucks Tripleshot Energy.
Perry Farrell is the creative force behind Jane’s Addiction, Porno for Pyros, and the Lollapalooza festival, but while talking with Marc, it’s clear a lot of Perry's focus these days is on being a dad. Perry sees the parallels in how he was angry at his family as a teenager and how his relationship with his own teenage son is evolving. Also, Perry’s wife, Etty Lau Farrell, gets on the mic with him to talk about their collaborative project Kind Heaven, which is an album, a community event and, they hope, much more. This episode is sponsored by Baskets on FX, Turo, Allbirds, and the ZipRecruiter Job Search app.
When you talk with John Turturro, it’s quickly apparent that he’s a student of history. But John says that type of education really only happened for him once he left school and engaged with the world. His breadth of knowledge has certainly helped him as an actor and director throughout his versatile career. John and Marc talk about his fascinations, as well as what John was able to build for himself after living in a fairly volatile household. He also looks back at his experiences with longtime collaborators the Coen Brothers and Spike Lee. This episode is sponsored by Squarespace and SimpliSafe.
David Letterman started out doing the very thing that scared him to death - getting up in front of strangers and trying to make them laugh. Now after wrapping up a legendary and influential career as late night host, Dave talks with Marc about his early days at The Comedy Store, his enjoyment of the longform interviews he’s doing for Netflix, and his focus on the hard work of becoming a better person. Dave also reveals his favorite thing about his old show and the one comic he always thought was the funniest, despite everything else that happened between them. This episode is sponsored by Turo and Starbucks Tripleshot Energy.
In the last decade or so, Timothy Olyphant realized that a lot of his interests when he was younger were either impractical, ill-fitting or not very cool. He found himself going in many different directions because, as he puts it, he was scared to death of success. Timothy talks with Marc about his false starts as an artist and a standup comic before falling into acting. He explains why Deadwood was the gift that keeps on giving in terms of what he learned while making it and why he started taking a counterintuitive approach to acting in order to get out of his own head. This episode is sponsored by Leesa and Stamps.com.
Duff McKagan weathered the storm of rock and roll excess and now finds himself with a loving family, sobriety, a reunited band, and a new solo album. Duff takes Marc back to the days when he first met Axl Rose, when Guns N’ Roses became one of the biggest bands in the world, and when heroin decimated his entire scene and nearly ended his life. Duff also talks about the lesson he learned from Joe Strummer that still guides him today, why Slash still blows his mind, and how he keeps himself grounded by being out in the world talking with people. This episode is sponsored by Turo, Airbnb Experiences, and Starbucks Tripleshot Energy.
Of course Lisa Kudrow talks with Marc about Friends. But first they discuss several other topics Lisa knows well, including genealogy, global migration patterns, evolutionary biology, and headaches. Lisa also explains how Jon Lovitz was responsible for pushing her toward improv, how Conan O’Brien helped her put it all together, and how the cast of Friends stuck together to get what they deserved. Plus, some talk about The Comeback, Web Therapy, and her new movie, Booksmart. This episode is sponsored by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Squarespace, and Starbucks Tripleshot Energy.
A fateful moment in Kyle Mooney’s life was when his high school hip hop group went up in flames. Quite literally. All his equipment was destroyed in a fire. Lacking an outlet for his creativity, Kyle gravitated toward improv and making digital videos, two skills that would eventually land him on Saturday Night Live. Kyle tells Marc his SNL story (of course) and talks about the fulfillment of making his first feature film, Brigsby Bear. He also explains why he likes going for human reactions in comedy as opposed to the inherently funny ones, which explains the tone and humor of a lot of his videos. This episode is sponsored by Mark Manson's new book Everything is F*@!ed: A Book About Hope, Turo, Allbirds, and Starbucks Tripleshot Energy.
If there was one constant in Anjelica Huston’s early life and career, it was the pressure to prove herself. Anjelica tells Marc about the benefits and drawbacks of being part of a Hollywood dynasty, the strains on the relationship with her father when she started making movies with him, and what it meant to her when she won an Oscar for working under her dad’s direction. They also talk about her life with Jack Nicholson, her work on Wes Anderson’s movies, and why it was difficult to make the Addams Family movies. Plus, Anjelica explains why she loves being part of the John Wick franchise. This episode is sponsored by Turo and Hair Club.