Marc is concerned about the erosion of critical thinking as a broad part of American society. So who better to talk criticism than a person who makes his living doing just that? A.O. Scott brings his expertise as the film and culture critic for the New York Times to this conversation about how we need to be in dialogue with culture and art amidst increasing polarization and the oppressive power of the algorithm. They talk about movies, books, comedy, comic books and all the things we benefit from looking at with a critical eye.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s long career in show business has left him with a keen sense of the problems caused by the constant bombardment of media and technology in our lives. Joseph tells Marc how he was able to channel some of his anxieties about how we’re navigating the modern world in his new series Mr. Corman. They also talk about his life in New Zealand, growing up on the screen, and why he hopes his company HitRECord can take the edge off social media.
Lindsey Buckingham wasn’t going to let anything - from the pandemic to major heart surgery - stand in the way of finishing his new self-titled solo album. But it was in part his work on the album and the planning of a live tour that led to Lindsey being ousted from Fleetwood Mac after nearly 45 years. Lindsey and Marc talk about being part of the band’s most successful lineup, his evolving relationships with his bandmates, and the creative goals he continues to work toward in his solo career.
Matt Damon's continuing presence and popularity in American films can be summed up in four words: He loves to act. Matt tells Marc how he made the most out of working with icons like Clint Eastwood, Francis Ford Coppola, Steven Spielberg, Jack Nicholson, Denzel Washington and many more. He also talks about teaming back up with Ben Affleck for their first screenplay since Good Will Hunting and making his latest film, Stillwater, with Tom McCarthy.
Sovereign Syre and Marc have been friends for several years, sharing career paths in comedy, podcasting and writing. Now, as she ventures for the first time into the fraught process of pitching and selling a television pilot, Sovereign and Marc talk about her life leading up to this moment: Her painfully shy early years, her turbulent home life, her academic exceptionalism, her years lost to drug addiction, her entry into the world of adult entertainment, and the leap of faith she took to exit that world.
Rick Rubin’s love of music led him to help popularize hip-hop, rejuvenate artists’ careers, and leave his mark on literally thousands of popular songs. But there was a point in his youth where Rick put music aside and focused on something else: Comedy. Rick talks with Marc about being a self-described hardcore comedy nerd and how that informs his process with the artists he produces. They also talk about Johnny Cash, Rick’s love of pro wrestling, and his interviews with Paul on “McCartney 3, 2, 1.”
Comedian Rick Ingraham is a Comedy Store institution. But he’s also the last of a system that was in place going back to the ‘70s, where young comics were baptized and raised in the rites and rituals of the Store. Rick and Marc compare their early careers trying to break into the business and become a club regular. Rick also recalls some of his memorable moments in the different eras of the Store, from when he was touring with Andrew Dice Clay to when he was breaking up fights between Joe Rogan and Carlos Mencia.
LCD Soundsystem is one of the hippest, most beloved bands of the early 21st century, but its frontman says he’s spent a lifetime being uncool and no fun. James Murphy talks with Marc about the personal and global tragedies that precipitated the founding of the band, the character traits he had to come to terms with in order to lead the band, and what he’s still trying to figure out about the band today. They also talk about his aborted collaboration with David Bowie and what that taught James about himself.
John Swab could have been a real world version of the characters from his films who are casualties of addiction and criminality. But his desire to create art and his natural talents won out and set him on the road to recovery. John tells Marc how he channeled his experiences into his films Run with the Hunted and Body Brokers while remaining a true independent filmmaker. They also talk about John’s life in Tulsa, Oklahoma, the influence of Larry Clark, and their shared love of Sam Peckinpah.
There are Hollywood tough guys and then there's Danny Trejo. No need to front when you've lived a life of crime, drugs, and prison as explicitly as Danny has. But as his new memoir highlights, Danny went from being a criminal and a drug addict to a ubiquitous actor and an inspirational force in his community. Danny and Marc talk about family secrets, toxic masculinity, Charles Manson, and tacos. And Danny's son Gilbert joins in to explain how their personal struggles became intertwined.