Roy Wood Jr can’t be angry on stage. He wants to be angry. But he believes his face is too round to be angry. Now, whenever Roy wants to say something mean in his act, he knows he has to smile while he does it. Roy tells Marc how he learned to navigate the way audiences perceive him while doing the Southern standup circuit and honing his skills on The Daily Show. He also explains how doing the show Finding Your Roots upended what he thought was the truth of his life story and prompted him to undertake a personal journey.
Ana Gasteyer learned a major life lesson from Will Ferrell and it has nothing to do with their time together on Saturday Night Live. It was about making choices, square dancing and knowing how to have fun. Ana and Marc talk about how much fun she’s had in her life and career, including her time in the Groundlings, her work on Broadway and her roles in ensemble comedies like her new series American Auto. She also talks about the circle of friends she still keeps from her time on SNL and the bond she has with cast members whenever she meets them.
From 2014, Marc talks with filmmaker Ivan Reitman about his career, his movies and his relationship with his writer-director son, Jason. Ivan died on February 12, 2022 at age 75.
Chris Spencer is the kind of guy the White House calls when they need a show business favor. How did he become so connected? In Chris’s words, Black Hollywood is a small place. Chris talks with Marc about how his early comedy career paved the way for a big break as a late night talk show host. But when that opportunity fizzled from the start, Chris had to figure out how to redirect his talents. That new approach led to a lot of comedy writing and directing his first feature film with Kevin Hart, Wesley Snipes and Tiffany Haddish.
Judd Hirsch is interested in the pursuit of truth. That’s why he loved math as a student, that’s why he got a physics degree, and that’s why he has a civil engineering background. But he also learned to apply the pursuit of truth to his acting. Judd tells Marc why he always insists on conveying the truth about his characters, down to changing the characters’ names if they don’t feel right. They talk about his roles in Taxi, Ordinary People, Uncut Gems and as Marc’s dad on the show Maron, and how he uncovered the truth in all of those instances.
Sam Richardson thinks desperation is the key to comedy. His characters from shows like Detroiters and I Think You Should Leave are a testament to that philosophy. Sam and Marc talk about his childhood being split between the United States and Ghana, his days performing on cruise ships for Second City, and his friendship with Tim Robinson, which began with Tim as Sam’s improv teacher. Sam also explains how his role as Richard Splett on Veep went from a one-episode guest shot to a series regular who winds up becoming the President.
Tony Kushner is one of the most important American playwrights of the past 50 years who is now a creative partner of one of the most important American filmmakers of the last 50 years. Tony talks with Marc about working with Steven Spielberg on Munich, Lincoln and the new adaptation of West Side Story. They also discuss the history of Jews in the Louisiana lumber industry, the pivotal moment of Angels in America that came to him in a dream, and the play he saw when he was six that made him want to be a part of the theater community.
Film critic Dana Stevens took her love for Silent Movie Era star Buster Keaton and told the story of the 20th century film industry as it evolved alongside Buster’s own life. Marc talks with Dana about her new book, Camera Man, which is not just a biography of Keaton. It’s a look at the politics of film, the beginning of the studio system, the start of film criticism, the rise and fall of early movie stars, and how America dealt with the seismic change that was ushered in by this new art form.
Peter Dinklage spent a good portion of his life trying to come to terms with ambition. It's something he's had an adversarial relationship with, going back to the days when he started a theater company that mounted no productions. But Peter tells Marc how he got more comfortable with having an acting career and how he learned to embrace mainstream success, whether it was from his star turn in The Station Agent or his work on Game of Thones or his latest film, the new adaptation of Cyrano.