Most people who know David Manheim don’t know him as David Manheim. To fans of the Dopey podcast, he’s just Dave (no last name given), a recovering drug addict who built a tight-knit digital community around addiction, recovery and being human. David talks with Marc about how his career in show business fizzled out as addiction took hold of his life and how starting a podcast with a friend he met in recovery was his salvation. They also talk about Dave’s other life at Katz’s Deli and they get into the important hierarchy of deli meats.
Recently, Marc talked with television historian David Bianculli about The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour and the important place it holds in American culture. Talking with Tom and Dick Smothers themselves, Marc finds that the brothers are as surprised as anyone that they left such an indelible mark. Starting with an act that grew out of the folk music scene, Tom and Dick talk about the evolution of their variety show, how they wound up locking horns with the network that ultimately fired them, and why they’re getting back on stage after 12 years of retirement.
When Rory Cochrane started acting, he knew he didn’t want to be a movie star. He wanted to be a freight train that keeps on moving. Rory tells Marc about the practices and measures he put in place to attain his goal of career longevity and artistic satisfaction. They also talk about why it’s important for him to work on productions where the crew is treated well, why he asked to leave CSI: Miami when it was still the biggest show on TV, and what led to some of his pivotal career moments in movies like Dazed and Confused, Black Mass, and Argo.
Aida Rodriguez wanted her first HBO special to be more than a comedy show. She wanted to depict the parts of her past that are foundational to her comedy. So that’s why she filmed a short documentary about her visits to Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, as she reunited with the father she hadn't seen in 40 years. Marc and Aida talk about how she got comedy material out of a life story that included being kidnapped twice, finding herself raising her children without a home, and breaking into the business later in life.
Guillermo del Toro believes in one universal truth: We all get to a moment in our lives when we see ourselves for who we really are. That belief not only guides his own life, it guides the characters through his many films. Guillermo and Marc talk about how he takes on the dark forces of the world in his movies, including his latest, Nightmare Alley. They also discuss his friendship with fellow Oscar-winning directors Alejandro González Iñárritu and Alfonso Cuarón, his expansive collection of oddities, and his strong identification with outsider characters and monsters.
Despite multiple Oscars and billions of dollars in box office returns, Peter Jackson still has the same interests he had when he was 10 years old: First World War airplanes, monster movies, using his Super 8 camera, and The Beatles. Peter tells Marc what it was like to be entrusted with more than 60 hours of Beatles footage to make the new documentary Get Back, why he was filled with dread when he started the project, and why he was surprised by what he found when he went through the footage.
At one point, Chan Marshall was in a band called Cat Power. But it’s appropriate for someone like Chan, who had to be self-reliant almost from birth, that she’d adopt the name as her own once the band dissolved. Chan and Marc talk about her rebirth as Cat Power, the Atlanta music scene in the early ‘90s, carrying trauma throughout her life, and finding out that making music grounded her in something real for the first time. They also focus on her eclectic collections of cover songs as she prepares to release another album of them.
Halle Berry wasn’t supposed to be in the movie Bruised. And she definitely wasn’t supposed to direct the movie Bruised. Then she wound up being in it and directing it, but no one wanted to take a chance on it. Now it’s such a hit for Netflix that they’ve signed her to a multi-picture deal. Halle tells Marc what it took to get to this place in her life and career, transcending her childhood of abuse to create a portfolio of performances where she breathes life into broken people.
Still only in his early 30s, Jesse Plemons has already delivered a laundry list of indelible performances in everything from Breaking Bad to Friday Night Lights to Black Mass, working with directors like Paul Thomas Anderson, Martin Scorsese and now Jane Campion in The Power of the Dog. Jesse tells Marc how a humble kid from Central Texas cultivated an acting career that would be the envy of any performer. They also talk about what it’s like for Jesse to act opposite his wife, Kirsten Dunst.
Jennifer Hudson didn’t start singing with her eyes open until she was 19 years old. That’s not a metaphor. Jennifer tells Marc how she was so afraid to sing in public, the only way she could do it was by closing her eyes. They talk about what it was like to finally feel brave enough to open them and the doors that also opened up when she did. Jennifer explains the centrality of church in her life, how faith helped guide her through unspeakable tragedy, and why she got Aretha Franklin’s blessing to portray her in the movie Respect.