As Connor Roy on Succession, Alan Ruck finally has the kind of role he’s been waiting to get for more than 30 years. And as Alan tells Marc, some of those years weren’t very fun. There was the time after playing Cameron in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off when he could only get work in a Sears warehouse. Or the time before making Speed when he left acting and started tending bar. And then the time when he got sick while shooting Spin City and almost died. At least there were some Star Trek conventions sprinkled in the mix.
Taraji P. Henson says all her f***s are behind her now. But after three decades in show business, Taraji admits she only feels freedom from her f***s because of her openness around mental health. Taraji and Marc talk about the importance of coping with mental illness, as well as Taraji’s work to encourage mental health awareness in the Black community. They also talk about her landmark performances, from Baby Boy to Empire to Hidden Figures, and how she dealt with getting pushed out of roles after being told that “Black doesn’t sell.”
Kelefa Sanneh has been writing about music for his entire career. Drawing on his experience as the music critic at The New York Times, a staff writer for The New Yorker, and a lifelong music obsessive, Kelefa took a detailed look at how music unites and divides us with his new opus, Major Labels: A History of Popular Music in Seven Genres. Marc and Kelefa talk about their own personal musical journeys, how genres are comparable to communities, and how identities can be established and shaped by the music we love.
American audiences fell in love with Julie Delpy as the romantic French traveler Celine in Before Sunrise and its two sequels. But Julie didn’t have an equal love affair with the making of Hollywood films. She tells Marc that she was always happier as a writer and director, and her ongoing fight against institutional biases and sexism left her more than a little frustrated. With her new comedy series on Netflix, On The Verge, Julie is creating an unfortunately rare depiction of women in their 40s and 50s.
Rosebud Baker knows all about the fine line between sadness and funny. She’s learned how to get laughs out of the tragedy that befell her family, her alcohol addiction, her co-dependent and abusive relationships, and her grandfather, who happened to be one of the most powerful people in the world. Marc and Rosebud also talk about how she found stability in her life and how she’s going about rebuilding her standup act after turning out her first special.
Even when he was a kid, B.J. Novak wanted to achieve greatness. His hard work and ambition brought him to Harvard, to the Lampoon, to doing standup, to getting on The Office, to writing a massively successful children’s book, to directing movies and creating the new anthology series The Premise. But one thing remained elusive: B.J. couldn’t really understand why Marc Maron seemed to dislike him so much. It’s a mystery Marc himself wasn’t sure he could solve. Until now, in the garage, face to face.
Franklin Leonard helped change the way movies get made in Hollywood. It’s not what he expected as a young Black math wiz growing up in Georgia. But after a love affair with movies that started at Kim’s Video in New York City, Franklin established The Black List, a tool that became one of the hottest commodities in show business and opened doors for people who weren’t getting a shot. Franklin and Marc talk about how The Black List movies made millions, how it pushed back on conventional wisdom, and how Franklin is still paving a way for undiscovered talent.
No one is harder on David Chase than David Chase. Even after a successful career as a screenwriter, show creator and director, after changing the face of television with The Sopranos, after putting HBO on the map as the home for prestige drama, David is still beating himself up over things that happened, things that didn’t, and things that could have been. Marc talks with David about New Jersey, The Rockford Files, his early fear of directing actors, The Sopranos’ ending, and going back to those characters with The Many Saints of Newark.
Melanie Vesey has a dividing line in her life: Before and after she got shot. The before part includes being a Juilliard and Alvin Ailey trained dancer, a Stella Adler trained actor, a party girl, a person in recovery, and a co-dependent who sought chaotic relationships. The after part includes deep trauma, a crumbling career, motherhood, and a rebirth involving comedy, acting and starting her own business. It’s also when she met Marc, who helps walk Melanie through the whole story.