Anthony Carrigan set out to become an actor despite growing up with alopecia, an autoimmune disease that causes hair loss. When he finally went completely bald while on a major network TV show, people in the business told him his career was over. Anthony talks to Marc about how that made him want to succeed even more, how he channeled his anger into his performance on the show Gotham, and how he broke through in a big way playing NoHo Hank on HBO’s Barry. They also talk about his role in the new movie Fatherhood and how it’s nice to just play normal dudes now.
Jackson Browne is one of the most prolific singer-songwriters in modern music. He talks to Marc about how a lot of his aptitude comes from his enjoyment of being a solitary player. But that doesn’t mean Jackson doesn’t have stories about his career collaborations. He does, going back to Nico and the Velvet Underground all the way up to his upcoming tour with James Taylor. Jackson also talks to Marc about his new album Downhill from Everywhere and what it has to do with the Pacific Ocean Garbage Patch.
Helen Hunt: Oscar winner, Emmy winner, filmmaker, mother, and self-proclaimed “worst celebrity in the world.” Helen sits down with Marc to talk about how, despite her many accomplishments, she was able to block out the spotlight of fame, through her own choices as well as decisions imposed upon her by the industry. They also talk about Helen’s memories of working with Jack Nicholson, how Paul Reiser sold her on doing Mad About You, and how she craves being part of diverse projects like her new show Blindspotting.
Danny Elfman did not set out to become one of the most prolific film composers in history. He was a distractible kid who couldn’t focus on much of anything except music, loved jazz, loved Stravinsky, taught himself how to read, write and play music, and found himself as the frontman for the band Oingo Boingo for 16 years. But everything changed when a fan named Tim Burton came to Danny and asked if he would score a movie called Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure. Danny and Marc talk about all of it, including Batman, The Nightmare Before Christmas, The Simpsons and his new solo album, which is his first in 37 years.
William Zabka spent the ‘80s playing a variety of bullies all seemingly modeled after his star-making performance in his first movie, The Karate Kid. But by the time he was in Back to School, William grew tired of playing the same jerk again and again. He tells Marc how he expanded his life beyond the typecasting, through music, through family, through world travel, through the arduous mounting of an Oscar-nominated short. And now, with Cobra Kai, it’s all come full circle, as William finally gets the chance to explore the depth and pathos of the bully who started it all, Johnny Lawrence.
Andrew Santino and Marc didn’t know much about each other, aside from both being Comedy Store regulars and comedians from different ends of a generational divide. But in this conversation, they discover the similar paths they both paved in comedy, starting out with no money and no connections, finding themselves unhappy with their early work, and preferring the life of a lone wolf to the life in a pack. Andrew also talks about being a Comedy Store comic starring in a fictional show about the early days of The Comedy Store.
Whether he was getting booked on The Tonight Show or becoming the first standup to have a hit sitcom based on his act or finding success as a professional poker player, Gabe Kaplan says it all happened in spite of his lack of ambition. Gabe tells Marc how he really wanted to become a professional baseball player, how his athleticism served him well in Battle of the Network Stars, and how his initial years in standup were spent opening for strippers and bellydancers. They also talk about the making of Welcome Back, Kotter and how playing Las Vegas got Gabe into poker.
Rickie Lee Jones is, first and foremost, a storyteller. She realized at a young age that she could process her feelings and tell her own story through the fiction of songs. As she tells Marc, that same impulse prompted her to write a memoir in which she could present her life story through the narrative of her extended family of vaudevillians. Rickie Lee and Marc also talk about her formative and tumultuous relationship with Tom Waits and why it’s hard for her to reminisce about her early albums and the hits that made her a star.
American audiences know Eric Bana from his complex performances in movies like Munich, Black Hawk Down and Ang Lee’s Hulk. But in his native Australia, Eric got his start doing standup and sketch comedy. Eric and Marc share their respective experiences of the Australian comedy scene and Eric explains how his gift for mimicry and impressions helped him transition from sketch to dramatic acting. They also talk about Eric’s new movie The Dry, why the demise of movie theaters is greatly exaggerated, and why Australian actors are rarely allowed to play Australians.
Kristin Hersh needs to make music. Whether it’s with her bands Throwing Muses and 50FOOTWAVE or in her solo albums, making music is a compulsion. But she only recently figured out that music was her way of managing trauma. Kristin tells Marc about a life changing car accident, her dissociative disorder, PTSD, “switching,” and how processing all of this helped her understand the music she’d been hearing in her head all her life. They also talk about her new book, Seeing Sideways, which deals with Kristin raising four children on a tour bus.