Even with the popularity of his HBO series High Maintenance, Ben Sinclair is still not great at taking compliments. He gets a lot of them, considering the show is one of the early success stories from the world of DIY web series that crossed over to mainstream television. Ben tells Marc how he lived a classic struggling artist life in New York before making the show, complete with a failed audition for Blue Man Group, an apartment with bedbugs, and sleeping on a futon in a lobby. They also talk about how he fell in love, got married and got divorced, but still maintains a close working relationship with his ex, series co-creator Katja Blichfeld. This episode is sponsored by Scotts Turf Builder Triple Action.
Kathy Valentine is in one of the most famous and profitable female rock bands ever but she’s really taken to becoming a writer. That's because she’s got a lot of stories to tell. Kathy talks with Marc about her new memoir that chronicles her early life and the peak of The Go-Go’s. She explains why the band fell apart after their period of success and tells Marc how the bandmates recently strengthened their bond with each other. Kathy also compares notes with Marc about finding the gift of forgiveness in sobriety. This episode is sponsored by Ozark, Season 3 on Netflix and The Last Degree of Kevin Bacon on Spotify.
Dan Aykroyd has thrived in show business but he’s always been in tune with the business part as much as the show part. Whether it was running his own radio ad company or an after-hours speakeasy, or his House of Blues clubs and his Crystal Head line of vodka, Dan is always thinking of the next thing. He tells Marc how he went from Canadian improv stages to New York City for Saturday Night Live, why he was always good at doing fast-talking characters, and how his professional life became personal with close collaborators like John Belushi, Bill Murray and Carrie Fisher. This episode is sponsored by ZipRecruiter.
The world took notice of Utkarsh Ambudkar with his freestyle performance on the Oscar telecast but he was almost a classic cautionary character: The guy who blows his big break because of struggles with substance abuse. Utkarsh tells Marc about his early love of hip-hop, how rap battles and general swagger opened doors for him on Broadway and in Hollywood, and why he knew he had to sober up when he torpedoed his shot at a little musical called Hamilton. Utkarsh also talks about his friendship with Lin-Manuel Miranda, his hero worship of Ice Cube, and his scene-stealing turns in The Mindy Project, Pitch Perfect and Brittany Runs a Marathon. This episode is sponsored by Squarespace and SimpliSafe.
When Thandie Newton took the part of Maeve on Westworld, she had no idea the character would wind up being a perfect metaphor for her life. As Thandie tells Marc, she didn’t really understand her outsider status as a mixed-race young person in England until much later in life. That confusion created an identity issue where she spent many years without knowing who she really was. Thandie talks about how she turned that corner, how her friendship with Eve Ensler changed her life, and how speaking out about sexual abuse in Hollywood damaged her career before there was widespread awareness about the need for change. This episode is sponsored by Stitcher Premium, The Climb from Sony Pictures Classics, and Capterra.
Don Gavin has Boston in his bones, so much so that he’s still cold even after moving to Florida. Marc reminisces with Don about their stand-up days in New England, where Don’s kindness and encouragement of younger comics helped earn him the moniker The Godfather of Boston Comedy. But it didn’t start in Boston for Don. He drove cross-country to become a comedian. Don tells Marc about that journey as well as the timely story of what it was like doing comedy on a cruise ship and falling ill. Don also explains why his 2011 comedy album Live with a Manhattan never got a proper release and is finally getting out into the world. This episode is sponsored by Lights Out with David Spade on Comedy Central, Nationwide Pet Insurance, and The Last Degree of Kevin Bacon on Spotify.
It’s a good thing Marc cleaned the garage before Don Cheadle came over, otherwise Don might not have lived through this episode due to his life-threatening cat allergy. With no airborne irritants to cause problems, Don and Marc were free to talk about Don’s days at CalArts, why he loves playing golf, what he learned by portraying Miles Davis and Sammy Davis, Jr., and how Hotel Rwanda got him engaged in global activism against genocide. Don also shares stories about Boogie Nights, the MCU, and his Showtime series Black Monday. This episode is sponsored by Scotts Turf Builder Thick'R Lawn.
Being sixteen is tough for almost everyone. But when Thora Birch was sixteen, she went from being a familiar child actor to the girl from an Oscar-winning phenomenon, American Beauty. That movie changed her career, but it was her follow-up movie, Ghost World, that changed her whole outlook on life. Thora and Marc talk about how she adjusted after that period, what she focused on when she stepped away for a little while, and how she’s reintegrating herself into show business with the goal of expanding her artistic pursuits, while also spending some time on The Walking Dead. This episode is sponsored by Squarespace and SimpliSafe.
Filmmaker Peter Berg and Marc never would have predicted their respective futures when they were living together in a shared apartment back when both of them were just starting out in Hollywood. Now, after they embarked on wildly different careers, their paths converged again, with Pete directing Marc in the new movie Spenser Confidential. Pete explains that once he started acting, he got the idea to write his own movie from James Mangold, learned the ins and outs of directing from working on Chicago Hope, and came to form a partnership with Mark Wahlberg that has lasted for five consecutive films. This episode is sponsored by Dave's Killer Bread, Greed from Sony Pictures Classics, and Stamps.com.