The first time Brad Williams got on a stand-up stage, he was just an audience member. Brought up on stage by a comedian who was telling little people jokes, Brad realized the power that comes with making people laugh on his own terms. Marc talks with Brad about what it’s like doing comedy as a little person, how other little people have responded to his act, how he feels about language that’s deemed inappropriate, and why he credits his dad for his ability to tell jokes. They also talk about Brad being a new father and the range of emotions he had about raising a little person.
Zach Braff and Marc both dealt with a lot of loss in the past year. For Zach, keeping it all in perspective is helping him get through the daily stress of pandemic life, as he fires up his creative impulses. Zach and Marc talk about the struggle of saying goodbye to beloved pets, the trauma of losing someone close to you, and managing childhood anxiety later in life. They also discuss Zach’s past projects like Scrubs and Garden State, as well as his new podcast and his upcoming movie with Robert De Niro, The Comeback Trail.
John Densmore was the drummer for one of the most influential bands of the ‘60s, The Doors, but he’s always been on a quest to find truth through art and creativity. John explains to Marc that his love of jazz inspired a lot of the rock and roll he made and his latest book is an attempt to discover the inspirations of other artists. They also talk about how the drug scene spelled the end of the good times in 1960s Los Angeles, why he went to the mat against his bandmates over licensing The Doors music for commercials, and what Jim Morrison is like these days when he appears in John’s dreams.
It may not surprise you that James Caan has been in a few fights. He also played football, boxed and was in rodeo competitions, among other “non-Jewish activities,” as he calls them. James and Marc talk about how he turned his rough and tumble life into an acting career and how the same instincts that served him in competition helped him create memorable performances. They also talk about Robert Duvall, John Wayne, Misery, Thief, The Godfather, and the unexpected person who helped him create Sonny Corelone.
Mike Campbell was more than Tom Petty’s bandmate. He was more than a friend, too. He was a partner who had an almost telepathic writing relationship with his famed frontman. Mike talks with Marc about crafting so many of those Petty hits, how they developed the Heartbreakers sound, what song he played that made Tom put him in the band, and why he wants to keep playing guitar and writing music into his 70s.
Johnny Flynn and Marc already developed a rapport while they were road-tripping through Canada. They were playing David Bowie and Bowie’s publicist at the time, but they still got to enjoy each other’s company. Now they get to converse just as themselves, as they talk about the movie they made together, Stardust, as well as Johnny’s personal journey from a fishing boat to acting school to rock bands and record contracts. Johnny also brings up a bit of advice Marc gave him when they were on the road that changed the way he looked at his life.
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.
It took Glenn Close a long time to open up about some aspects of her past. Shame was stubbornly in the way. But Glenn tells Marc she was able to discover her inner rebel and push past that shame, many years after she already became famous for finding the buried emotions of complicated characters. They talk about Glenn’s personal evolution, as well as the mark she left with her performances in The Big Chill, Fatal Attraction, Sunset Boulevard, 101 Dalmatians, and her latest film Hillbilly Elegy.
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.