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.
From October 2011, Marc's revelatory conversation with Norm Macdonald about life, comedy, gambling, death and Rodney. Norm died on September 14, 2021 at age 61.
Tim Reid’s life changed on a New Year’s Eve in the 1960s when he lucked his way into a club to see a hot young comedian. That club was Mister Kelly’s, that comedian was Richard Pryor and nothing has been the same for Tim since. Tim tells Marc about his segregated upbringing, how he and Tom Dressen created the first interracial comedy team, how he got out of comedy and into acting with roles like Venus Fly Trap on WKRP in Cincinnati, and why he’s currently spending a lot of his time on historical preservation.
Steve Buscemi has covered a lot of ground in New York City: standup comedy, experimental theater, independent film, even firefighting. Marc talks with Steve about his career beginnings and some of his most memorable roles. They also talk about his time as a New York City firefighter, how he joined his old Engine Company after 9/11 to aid in the recovery operation at Ground Zero, and how he’s working to keep attention on the continuing health needs of firefighters with the new documentary Dust: The Lingering Legacy of 9/11.
Marc revisits his conversation from earlier this year with actor Michael K. Williams. Michael died at age 54 on September 6, 2021.
Sasheer Zamata doesn’t have a ton of free time. She’s on the Hulu series Woke, the ABC sitcom Home Economics, a voice actor, a standup, a podcast host and an ambassador for the ACLU. This all happened in the wake of her departure from Saturday Night Live, which started with a very rare public audition process that put her immediately in the spotlight. Sasheer talks with Marc about having the courage to walk away, how she and Nicole Byer are actual best friends, as the title of their podcast says, and what it means that she was “friends with Pluto” during her time working at Disney World.
From 2015, Marc talks with actor Ed Asner about his legendary career, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, the time he played Marc’s dad, and more. Ed died on August 29, 2021 at age 91.
When Zoe Lister-Jones found herself dealing with the anxiety and uncertainty we all encountered during the pandemic, she made a movie about the end of the world. Marc talks with Zoe about how she often finds herself channeling her fears into her work, including a filmography which she calls a direct investigation of lifelong codependency. They talk about Zoe’s start in acting, growing up with artists, and her experience jumping into studio filmmaking with The Craft remake.
Billie Jean King is forever remembered as the winner of the Battle of the Sexes, but the battles she fought for equal pay and non-discrimination are still reverberating today. Billie talks with Marc about her realization at 12 years old that she needed to fight for equality, her founding of the Women’s Tennis Association, and her advice for today’s players. They also talk about the mental and emotional toll of sports for all athletes, which were compounded for Billie as she struggled with her sexuality and suffered from an eating disorder.