Writer-director Azazel Jacobs was born into the world of experimental film. But it was a combination of comic books, old radio shows, Mad Magazine and The Clash that helped him develop the sensibility he would later put on screen. Aza tells Marc how his parents passed along a love of art and a compulsion to create, why he believes the name they chose for him limited his professional options, and how he found out a world existed between Hollywood and the kind of films his father made. They also talk about Aza’s latest film, French Exit.
Eddie Huang has been fighting for things his whole life. Whether fighting for respect from a culture that is unwelcoming, or fighting for normalcy amidst a chaotic upbringing, or fighting for approval from his immigrant parents, all his achievements came with a cost. Now, with the first movie he wrote and directed under his belt, Eddie tells Marc why the film Boogie represents a collection of everything he’s had to fight for. They also talk about his struggles with having his memoir Fresh Off The Boat adapted for TV and why Lynn Shelton was integral to him becoming a director.
Christopher Lloyd has a career spanning more than 60 years on stage, TV and film. But Marc was enamored with stories about the first movie Christopher ever made, One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest. Christopher tells Marc about the unique audition process, how they slept overnight in the institution, what it was like working with his idol at the time, Jack Nicholson, and more. They also talk about the first movie Christopher almost made, shooting lots of guns in the new movie Nobody, and what he considers to be the true legacy of Back to the Future.
Serj Tankian from System of a Down says he is dedicated to the truth in a very naive way. That basic need to tell the truth and be honest with himself comes through in his art, his activism and his personal life, all of which are depicted in the new documentary Truth to Power. Serj and Marc talk about how so much of Serj’s life has been dedicated to telling the story of the Armenian genocide and how that mission informs his activism around the struggles in present day Armenia, as well as other human rights efforts around the world.
Laraine Newman titled her memoir May You Live in Interesting Times, a phrase many people believe to be a curse. But Laraine thinks it’s an appropriate framework for her life and career. She tells Marc what it was like to be a part of culture-changing comedy institutions as a founding member of both The Groundlings and Saturday Night Live. They also talk about her prolific career as a voiceover artist in animation which also began on serendipitous terms.
Hugh Grant thinks he’s only getting better as an actor now. The work he’s done for the past few years feels real to him, as opposed to felling like he was faking it when he made all those romantic comedies. Hugh and Marc talk about that realization and what happened in his life to make him finally feel less insecure as an actor. They also discuss his early comedy troupe, his recent habit of playing scoundrels and villains, and his mission to push back against the violating behavior of the British tabloids.
In order for Eddie Murphy to become “Eddie Murphy” he had to become a comedian. Eddie tells Marc, comic-to-comic, what it was like being a Black teenager on Long Island building a standup act fueled by impressions and inspired by Richard Pryor. And now, with fatherhood at the center of his life, Eddie explains why he wants to bookend his career by going back on stage. Eddie also talks about the real reason he exploded on the movie scene, why he stopped doing standup before he turned 30, and why it was finally the right time to make Coming 2 America.
Jake Gyllenhaal knows he has a great job as a celebrated film actor. But the thing that brings him true joy is bursting into song as part of a stage musical. Jake talks with Marc about his love of theater, which ended up landing him three Tony Award nominations this year, one for acting and two for producing. They also get into why Broadway needs to evolve when it returns, why Jake was in awe of Heath Ledger, and why he was completely surprised by Marc after this episode started.
Tim Allen has embodied enough different personas - Tim Taylor, Mike Baxter, Buzz Lightyear, Santa Claus - that he often doesn’t know which guy he actually is. But at least he’s no longer the directionless young man who made bad choices and ran afoul of the law. Tim tells Marc how he cleaned up his act and made it as a club comic before breaking out with one of the most popular sitcoms in network history. They also talk about how Tim’s emotions are running high as Last Man Standing comes to an end and why his new competition show, Assembly Required, is surprisingly out of his comfort zone.