Michael J. Fox didn’t intend to be an inspiration but he’s glad he can help out. As Marc learned from talking with him, Michael maintains a perspective on life filled with gratitude and optimism as he lives with the effects of Parkinson’s disease. Recently, after a run of health setbacks, that perspective faltered. But Michael tells Marc how he got back on track, how he maintains strong bonds with his wife and children, how he felt about giving up show business for a second time, and what he realized about mortality while spending several months on the couch watching re-runs.
Better Call Saul features characters who are not honest about their lives and identities, so it’s appropriate that one of the show’s stars, Rhea Seehorn, suffers from imposter syndrome in real life. Rhea and Marc compare notes on why they both feel insecure and inadequate despite their natural talents, such as Rhea’s skills at painting, sculpting and building. They also talk about her father’s secretive life in the Naval Intelligence Services, the perils of pilot season, and why Bob Odenkirk is so hard on himself.
Mel Brooks once told Frank Langella, “Nobody would believe you’re from Bayonne. You look like a prince without a country.” But whether he’s playing Dracula or Richard Nixon or King Lear, Frank is still a Jersey Boy at heart. Marc asks Frank about that upbringing across the Hudson and how being an introverted, sensitive middle child led him to a life of transforming into larger than life characters. They also talk about an amazing gift Frank was given by Ron Howard, the line of dialogue from the movie Dave that is his favorite in his entire career, and his performance in The Trial of the Chicago 7.
With the world still wondering what this year's Presidential election really means, it's the right time for Marc to talk with actor and playwright Heidi Schreck, who knows a thing or two about power structures and why they don't serve everyone equally. They talk about Heidi’s acclaimed Broadway show, What The Constitution Means To Me, and how her recognition of generational trauma in her family prompted her to write a show about unequal rights and the people who help stack the deck. They also talk about her time living in Russia, how she started a writing career in her 40s, and her newborn twins.
David Cross is one of Marc’s oldest friends in show business. And right now is a good time for them to catch up, as David balances his life as the dad to a three-year-old with the demands of going back to work on film and television sets during the pandemic. David explains to Marc how he was feeling more antisocial even before COVID-19 hit, why he wanted to become a dad late in life, and what he had to physically endure while making his new movie, The Dark Divide. Marc and David also compare notes after both of them played Jerry Wexler for dueling Aretha Franklin projects.
If comedy equals tragedy plus time, comedian Melinda Hill has reached the point where she can make some funny out of the traumas from her past. Melinda and Marc talk about processing the pain, particularly dealing with parents suffering from mental illness. They also talk about Melinda’s trajectory in the comedy business, starting with success in voiceovers to her influential LA stand-up showcase What’s Up, Tiger Lily? to her acting, writing and podcasting ventures. Plus, Melinda talks about the connection she has with Marc’s past, something that requires a bit of processing on Marc’s end.
When Hari Kondabolu was a college student, he interviewed Marc for a research paper about standup comedy. Twenty years later, they’re talking to each other as peers whose lives have changed considerably in the past two decades. With a newborn baby, a recent Netflix special, and a documentary about Apu from The Simpsons that spurred a global conversation about representation in pop culture, Hari gets Marc up to speed on where his life is at right now. He also explains how he developed his comedy career while engaging in human rights work and immigration activism.
These are appropriate times for reflection and Matthew McConaughey just went through the process of reflecting on his whole life while writing his memoir, Greenlights. Marc talks with Matthew about the revelations he encountered, the perspective he gained, and the philosophies he was able to codify in the process. They go through Matthew’s upbringing in Austin, his first movie role in Dazed and Confused, his launch into superstardom, his self-imposed hiatus, and his career rebirth that saw him win an Oscar. Matthew also explains how an ad lib changed his life and why pressed jeans helped him understand how to take control of his destiny.
Patti Smith has been at the vanguard of art, poetry, rock and roll, and other forms of self-expression since the 1960s. But this talk with Marc happens to be her very first one-on-one conversation done over Zoom. They talk about Patti’s days living at the Hotel Chelsea, carrying on the legacy of the Beat Generation, and forming life-changing relationships with William Borroughs, Sam Shepard, Allen Ginsberg, and Bob Dylan, among others. Patti also recalls the most mortifying live performance moment of her career, which happened for all the world to see.
Everyone needs to let off some steam these days and there are few people better who do it better than Lewis Black. Marc welcomes his old friend back to the show for a talk about pandemic comedy, going stir crazy during quarantine, avoiding cults and pulling for democracy to make it through these times. They also talk about Lewis's new standup special, Thanks for Risking Your Life, which was filmed the day before the country shut down.