Stacey Abrams believes deeply that the problems facing America today - police brutality, racial discrimination, economic inequality, Covid-19, creeping authoritarianism - all require the same solution: Free and fair elections. As the only Black woman ever nominated for Governor by a major party, Stacey tells Marc how she maintains hope that obstacles can be overcome and change can be achieved. Stacey also talks about how her family traditions of faith and service shaped her political identity and how her interests in acting, physics and writing romance novels made her who she is. This episode is sponsored by HBO Max, Space Force on Netflix, and SimpliSafe.
WTF started as a comedy podcast. It’s a show made by a comedian who wanted to talk to other comedians about comedy. Finally, after more than 10 years, Marc talks with the most well-known, most successful, and arguably most influential comedian in history, Jerry Seinfeld. About comedy. About how Jerry got started in comedy, how he was incapable of socializing, how he forged a friendship with Larry David, how he fueled himself with anger toward one person in particular. But mostly just about comedy and what comedy is. They have some, it’s fair to say, differing opinions on it. This episode is sponsored by Pataday Once-Daily Relief and Stamps.com.
Chris Cooper was a guy who worked with his hands. He was raised to be a cowboy on his father’s ranch, spent time building Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, and worked as a jack-of-all-trades when he was trying to scrape by. Then he became known as a guy who worked with his heart and got to the top of his craft by doing so. Chris talks with Marc about breaking his shyness to become an actor, meeting his wife in acting class, working with John Sayles, and winning an Oscar for his madcap performance in Adaptation. This episode is sponsored by Ben & Jerry’s and HBO Max.
G.E. Smith started playing guitar when he was four. As he grew up, he liked The Beatles fine but it was really the Kinks and the Stones that grabbed him. Cut to many years later and G.E.’s had the opportunity to play with many of his heroes. He tells Marc about working with Mick Jagger, Bob Dylan, David Bowie, Roger Waters and more. They also talk about G.E.’s time as the bandleader on Saturday Night Live and the current dire situation for live music. This episode is sponsored by Patreon and Honey.
Film and television production is on hold, but Jeffrey Wright is using the time to focus on his community. Jeffrey tells Marc how his attempt to help out a friend led him to a Brooklyn-wide effort to keep neighborhood restaurants afloat while feeding frontline workers. They also talk about ancestry, working in prison, Angels in America, Basquiat, Batman, Muddy Waters, and the great acting lesson Jeffrey learned from Christopher Walken. This episode is sponsored by Squarespace, Capterra, and HBO Max.
Kenya Barris retreated from the abusive situation in his childhood home by listening to party records and reading comic books. Those early influences shaped his understanding of who he is and prompted the creation of Black-ish years later. Kenya talks with Marc about how much he learned from comedians like Patrice O’Neal and Dave Chappelle, how his childhood friendship with Tyra Banks led to his first big success in show business, and how an encounter with Jeffrey Katzenberg and a Ferrari was a spark for his new Netflix show #blackAF. This episode is sponsored by Patreon, HBO Max, Space Force on Netflix, and SimpliSafe.
Samantha Bee says there was a point in her teenage years when she was clearly headed toward a life of crime. Thankfully, that was also the point when she realized she was being an a-hole and things needed to change. Sam tells Marc how she shook off the grifter lifestyle and started doing comedy. She also details how The Daily Show cake got baked every day and how the timing of Jon Stewart’s departure coincided with Sam getting her own opportunity to host Full Frontal on TBS. This episode is sponsored by Reunions by Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, Patreon, Scotts Turf Builder Thick’R Lawn, and HBO Max.
Marc revisits his 2012 conversation with comedic actor Fred Willard, in which they discuss Fred’s career in improv-heavy films and beloved television projects. Fred passed away at age 86 on May 15, 2020.
Marc pays tribute to his creative collaborator and romantic partner Lynn Shelton, who passed away at age 54 on May 16, 2020. This episode includes her August 2015 interview on WTF.
Filmmaker Eliza Hittman talks with Marc about telling the stories of teenagers in ways that feel like the lived experiences of actual teenagers. That’s partly achieved by the naturalistic performances she gets from many non-actors. But it’s also achieved by the sensitivity of her screenplays, like her latest film Never Rarely Sometimes Always, which takes the teen protagonist on an unavoidably real journey. Also, Dan Savage returns to WTF, bringing his expertise in love and relationships to help listeners navigate some of the difficulties of living with other people during lockdown. This episode is sponsored by Patreon, Purple Mattress, and Scotts Turf Builder Triple Action.