WTF with Marc Maron Podcast

WTF with Marc Maron Podcast Podcast

Marc Maron welcomes comedians, actors, directors, writers, authors, musicians and folks from all walks of life to his home for amazingly revealing conversations. Marc's probing, comprehensive interview style allows guests to express themselves in ways listeners have never heard.

Episode 1163 - John Cusack
John Cusack is always trying to stay engaged with the world. From a young age when activist priests used to visit his parents to the Reagan years when he underwent a political awakening to present day, John uses his perception of how the world works as a way to build the characters he plays. That comes in handy in the new series Utopia, where John plays an evil billionaire. John also tells Marc what it was like to play Brian Wilson while working with Brian Wilson, how Being John Malkovich got made, and why ...

Episode 1162 - Barbara Kopple
Barbara Kopple is known for her acclaimed documentary films, but for Marc the most memorable time Barbara spent behind the camera is the day she directed him in a phone commercial. Marc and Barbara reminisce about how that happened and talk about her entry portal into documentaries working with the Maysels Brothers on Salesmen and Gimme Shelter. They also discuss Barbara’s Oscar-winning film Harlan County, USA, how Bruce Springsteen saved one of her early movies, and how she got Jimmy Carter to open up abou...

Episode 1161 - Cecily Strong
The adage “you can never go home again” didn’t apply to Cecily Strong. She did, and it’s what got her on Saturday Night Live. Cecily tells Marc why she didn’t stick around in Los Angeles after studying acting at CalArts, a move that people told her was a mistake. They also talk about why she got kicked out of her high school, how she battles her depression, what it was like to perform for the Obamas, and why she was in a Chinese opera with Alison Brie.  See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information...


Episode 1160 - Barry Levinson
Barry Levinson finds himself waking up in disbelief to every outlandish and shocking item in the day’s news. It’s a different mode for a filmmaker who spent his career focused on the natural, quiet moments that make up everyday life. Marc and Barry talk about his beginnings at a Washington, DC television station, his early comedy writing that landed him at The Comedy Store, The Carrol Burnett Show, and with Mel Brooks, and his breakout movies like Diner, The Natural and Rain Man. They also contemplate wheth...

Episode 1159 - Alicia Keys / John Leguizamo
It's a New York City doubleheader! First up, Marc talks with the woman behind the modern day New York anthem, Alicia Keys. On the release of her seventh studio album, Alicia looks back on what it was like to start a huge music career so young and how she had to finally meet her monster in order to come into her own. Then Marc talks to John Leguizamo about his defining one-man shows, his relationship with other New York City artists, and his new movie Critical Thinking, which is the first feature film John d...

Episode 1158 - Wendell Pierce
Wendell Pierce isn't doing a lot of acting during the pandemic, but he's keeping busy. He's spending more time with his 95-year-old father in New Orleans, he's hosting radio shows on a local station he bought, and he's helping to figure out the future of live theater. Wendell and Marc talk about his time on The Wire and the unique way he experienced that show. They also discuss what he learned playing Willy Loman last year and how Led Zeppelin and jazz helped him become a better actor. See omnystudio.com...


Episode 1157 - Toni Collette
Toni Collette might be the first actor to tell Marc that, yes, she does learn about herself through the characters she plays. That's a lot of learning, considering the wide range of characters Toni has played over the years. Toni and Marc talk about how she grew into herself while starring in movies like Muriel's Wedding, The Sixth Sense, Hereditary and now in Charlie Kaufman's latest, I'm Thinking of Ending Things, a movie that left Marc asking a lot of questions (which he'll try to get Toni to answer). ...

Episode 1156 - Martin Short
Even in the face this year, Martin Short remains an optimistic guy. Maybe it’s because he’s had a career he loves, or maybe it’s his mild-mannered Canadian disposition, or maybe it’s because he suffered through a lot of tragedy as a kid. Martin and Marc try to figure it out, and they also talk about his live shows with Steve Martin, the difference between doing SCTV and SNL, why Martin considers 80% of his career to be a failure, and why believes that a 20% success rate is high for a career in show business...

Episode 1155 - Bad Internet w/ Matt Furie, Arthur Jones & Andrew Marantz
One year ago, Marc used the Labor Day episode of WTF to find out why so much bad stuff in the world gets birthed in the darkest corners of the internet. A year later, it's only gotten worse. Marc talks with comic artist Matt Furie about how his creation, Pepe the Frog, was appropriated by online racists and Nazis, and Arthur Jones explains why he made a documentary about Matt's quest to reclaim Pepe. Also, Andrew Marantz from The New Yorker joins Marc to help draw the line from Pepe to QAnon and other fanat...


Episode 1154 - J.K. Simmons
J.K. Simmons faced a tough balancing act when his lifelong nonchalance about awards for acting came up against him becoming the runaway favorite to win an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor. J.K. and Marc talk about how he reconciled that contradiction with help from Jason Reitman and how his late-blooming Hollywood career helped him maintain perspective. They also talk about his time on stage in Seattle, Broadway and regional theaters across the country, his fear of being typecast when he was on Oz, and the b...

Episode 1153 - Chelsea Peretti
Chelsea Peretti joined Marc in the garage more than ten years ago on a very early episode of WTF. Since then she became a writer for Parks and Rec, played Gina on Brooklyn 99, got married to Jordan Peele, and became a mom. Now she’s catching up with Marc about coffee, creative satisfaction, overcoming her fear of commitment, raising a toddler while sheltering at home, and the coping strategies of the pandemic era. They also talk about her first lead role in the new movie Spinster. See omnystudio.com/list...

Episode 1152 - Billy Crudup
It’s been 20 years since Marc demanded that someone “lock the gates” on Billy Crudup and the rest of the band in Almost Famous. Now that both of them are older and wiser, Billy and Marc discuss the simultaneous drudgery and privilege of acting. They also talk about why Billy often opted for roles in the theater over roles in movies, why he thinks he wasn’t destined to be a Hollywood leading man, and how he’s settled into a career as a character actor by virtue of only taking the parts he finds interesting. ...


Episode 1151 - Giancarlo Esposito
Whether it’s Gus from Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul or Buggin’ Out from Do The Right Thing or Moff Gideon from The Mandalorian, Giancarlo Esposito’s characters always leave an indelible impression. Perhaps that’s because Giancarlo spent a lot of his life reflecting on his own character and where he belonged. He talks with Marc about growing up as the son of an Italian carpenter and a Black nightclub singer, trying to figure out where he fit in. They also talk about life lessons Giancarlo received from G...

Episode 1150 - Kieran Culkin
A lot is going on for Kieran Culkin right now. He’s a new dad, he has an Emmy nomination, he’s dealing with life during the pandemic like the rest of us. But chaos is familiar to Kieran, who grew up in a railroad apartment with six brothers and sisters, all of whom were pushed toward show business by their father. Kieran and Marc talk about that childhood environment, why Kieran and his brothers love pro wrestling, and how he established himself as an actor, including in his role as Roman Roy on Succession....

Episode 1149 - Kerry Washington
Kerry Washington has a lot to talk about with Marc, but it’s appropriate that they spend the first portion of their conversation singing the praises of Lynn Shelton. Kerry talks about what Lynn brought to Little Fires Everywhere, but they also discuss how the treatment of race was different on the show than it was in the book and why that adjustment was so important to Kerry. She tells Marc about her childhood in the Bronx, her feeling of being “the other” in high school, and her determination to tell stori...


Episode 1148 - Ellen Page
At the time when Juno became an award-winning hit film, Ellen Page experienced two things she never experienced before in her young life: She was now instantly famous and she fell in love. Unfortunately, the pressures of the former prevented her from publicly acknowledging the latter. Ellen talks to Marc about the struggles she faced in hiding her true self and the relief of coming out seven years later. They also talk about the importance of using one’s platform to advocate for change and how Ellen’s docum...

Episode 1147 - Sarah Snook
Sarah Snook plays a character on Succession who exists in the center of the American power structure. But in real life, she’s riding out the pandemic on the other side of the world, from her homeland of Australia. Sarah and Marc talk about how she was told she was “too much of an enigma” in drama school and how she evolved into the kind of actor who Helen Mirren requests by name as a co-star. They also discuss how she relates to her Succession character, Shiv Roy, and why she never warmed up to moving to LA...

Episode 1146 - Joe List
Joe List shot his new standup special a week before everything shut down, but that doesn’t mean he’s given up on comedy. He’s been performing in parks, at drive-ins and even on Zoom. Marc talks with Joe about pandemic comedy. They also explore Joe’s roots as a standup, from his first viewing of a George Carlin special to his training in Boston to his experience bottoming out with alcohol while on the road. Marc and Joe compare notes on getting sober as comics. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy info...


Episode 1145 - Ice-T
Tumultuous times call for sensible comments from voices of reason. Who better to speak to the issues of the day than Ice-T? The legendary rapper, rocker and actor talks about his personal experiences with COVID to offer some much-needed perspective. He also gives his take on the importance of the anti-racism protests around the world and how it relates to the race-driven firestorm over his Body Count album in 1992. Marc and Ice also talk about Redd Foxx, Richard Belzer, and a time Marc saw Ice at an aquariu...

Episode 1144 - Marsha Warfield
Not only is Marsha Warfield one of the early pioneers of the Comedy Store scene, she was also there at the start of standup comedy as we know it in Chicago. Marsha tells Marc what it was like to compete for limited spots while coming up against the politics and prejudices of the day. Marsha also talks about the friendships she developed with Richard Pryor and Paul Mooney, how her life changed overnight after her first episode of Night Court, and what it was like to retire from comedy for 20 years and come b...

Episode 1144 - Marsha Warfield
Not only is Marsha Warfield one of the early pioneers of the Comedy Store scene, she was also there at the start of standup comedy as we know it in Chicago. Marsha tells Marc what it was like to compete for limited spots while coming up against the politics and prejudices of the day. Marsha also talks about the friendships she developed with Richard Pryor and Paul Mooney, how her life changed overnight after her first episode of Night Court, and what it was like to retire from comedy for 20 years and come b...


Episode 1143 - Seth Rogen
Trigger warning if you are an anti-Semite: First of all, why are you listening to this show? Get lost! Secondly, you are REALLY not going to like this episode. Seth Rogen returns to WTF for the first time in six years and has, by far, the Jewiest talk with Marc that two Jews ever had on this show. And that’s saying something. The subject matter of Seth’s new movie, An American Pickle, might have something to do with it, but they really get into their shared childhood experiences, their attitudes about Judai...

Episode 1142 - Chris Fairbanks
Chris Fairbanks lives the life of a comic, which means a lot of his life is on hold right now. Chris and Marc compare notes on what it’s like to live alone during Covid, a non-ideal situation that is nevertheless providing them both with room for personal growth. They also talk about Chris’s upbringing in Montana, skateboarding, chewing tobacco, making miniatures, and why having a mustache helps with comedy. Chris also explains what it’s like to have a lot of true crime fans coming to his shows, thanks to h...

Episode 1141 - Marc and Tom's Normal Things
Tom Scharpling and Marc spend some time talking about the kind of things we all cared about when life was normal: music, coffee, comedy, live performances, and other things that make us feel alive. Leave your worries at the garage door and listen to these two friends wax nostalgic about Dunkin’ Donuts coffee, the music that first hooked them as kids, their favorite comedy albums, and their renewed love of Rodney Dangerfield and Don Rickles. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information....


Episode 1140 - Jim Carrey
Jim Carrey just wrote his first novel, a semi-autobiographical look at show business and an examination of persona. It makes sense because Jim has been playing with persona during his entire career in show business. Jim talks with Marc about his days doing stand-up in Canada, LA and Las Vegas, and the late night realization that forced him to change his act and create the public image that launched him to superstardom. They also talk about In Living Color, Ace Ventura, Rodney Dangerfield, Sam Kinison, and h...

Episode 1139 - Colin Jost
Colin Jost has 15 years of Saturday Night Live under his belt but the time in his life he feels he’s still running away from is his upbringing on Staten Island. Colin tells Marc why his Outer Borough roots loom so large in his life and how he’s linked with his SNL castmate Pete Davidson by more than just their hometown. Marc and Colin also talk about the stress of hosting the Emmys, the secret gift of Lorne Michaels, and the silver linings Colin and Scarlett Johansson are finding in quarantine. See omnys...

Episode 1138 - Helen Mirren
Dame Helen Mirren is a winner of the Oscar, the Tony, the Emmy, and the BAFTA, and is in the middle of an illustrious career in which she played the great roles of Shakespeare, Catherine the Great and Queen Elizabeth, to name a few. And yet she still begged to be cast in the Fast and Furious franchise. Helen tells Marc why she finds film acting powerful, challenging, and uniquely fulfilling compared to her stage work. They also talk about her breakthrough on Prime Suspect, her job at an amusement park, and ...


Episode 1137 - John Legend
John Legend is a multiplatinum recording artist, a winner of the coveted EGOT, a loving family man and, as Marc found out in this conversation, a tremendously nice guy. The combination of John’s talent and his kind disposition is what makes him the type of artist who works with a wide variety of collaborators. John talks about how collaboration defines his professional career, from his first gig working with Lauryn Hill to his new record Bigger Love. He also discusses his marriage to Chrissy Teigen, his wor...

Episode 1136 - George Lopez
George Lopez says much of his career is driven by spite. He talks with Marc about how the people who told him he wasn’t going to make it served as fuel for his ambitions, especially coming from a background where his opportunities were limited. George remembers what it was like to get on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, develop a hit sitcom with Sandra Bullock as his producer, and become a late night talk show host. He also sets the record straight on what happened between him and Carlos Mencia.  See...

Carl Reiner from 2013
From 2013, Marc talks with Carl Reiner about is journey from writing to acting to directing, as well as his collaborative relationships with Sid Ceasar, Dick Van Dyke, Steve Martin and, of course, Mel Brooks. Carl died on June 29, 2020 at age 98. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information....


Episode 1135 - Alan Zweibel
One thing Alan Zweibel learned by being a writer for so many funny people is you have to set your ego aside. In doing so, Alan was able to have a career spanning decades and criss-crossing with multiple generations of comedy history. Alan tells Marc about his days selling jokes to comics in the Catskills, being part of Saturday Night Live in its first five years, finding a comic partner in Gilda Radner, creating a beloved sitcom with Garry Shandling, making his way to Broadway with Billy Crystal and more. ...

Episode 1134 - Nora McInerny
As Marc dealt with personal grief, he looked around the Internet for some guidance on coping with loss. He found a TED Talk by Nora McInerny, who spoke about losing her father, her husband and her unborn child within the span of a few weeks. Since that time, Nora has been able to move forward with her grief, not move on, as she began a career as a published writer, a public speaker, and podcaster. Nora and Marc talk about processing the harsh realities of life while maintaining the ability to find new begin...

Episode 1133 - Janelle Monáe
Janelle Monáe is not going to stop creating, but right now she feels the urge to use her creativity in the service of action. Marc talks with Janelle about the social and political unrest in the country today and why no one has an excuse to remain silent. Janelle explains how her fears of emotional abandonment when she was younger laid the groundwork for her music career and her acting, including her most recent performance in Homecoming. They also talk about Prince, Stevie Wonder, David Bowie, androids, an...


Episode 1132 - Amber Preston / J-L Cauvin
It's been five years since President Obama joined Marc in the garage and WTF is marking the occasion not with Donald Trump, but with comedian J-L Cauvin, who talks to Marc about his Trump impression going viral and reinvigorating his standup career. Then Marc talks with comic Amber Preston who, like J-L, held down a day job in Corporate America while her career in comedy took shape. Amber and Marc talk about North Dakota, Scandinavians, having Dead Head parents, and trying to shake her Fargo mindset of rule...

Episode 1131 - Joe Pantoliano
Joe Pantoliano is widely known for playing bad guys, lowlifes and disreputable characters. He even has his own pseudo-Mafioso nickname: Joey Pants. But Joe tells Marc the reason he got so good at playing bad guys is because he was always bullied when he was younger. Tapping into that helped him with his acting, but he had to wait until later in life to tap into the cause of his depression, which was tied up in his complicated parentage and inescapable genetics. They also talk about some of his best known ro...

Episode 1130 - Stacey Abrams
Stacey Abrams believes deeply that the problems facing America today - police brutality, racial discrimination, economic inequality, Covid-19, creeping authoritarianism - all require the same solution: Free and fair elections. As the only Black woman ever nominated for Governor by a major party, Stacey tells Marc how she maintains hope that obstacles can be overcome and change can be achieved. Stacey also talks about how her family traditions of faith and service shaped her political identity and how her in...


Episode 1129 - Jerry Seinfeld
WTF started as a comedy podcast. It’s a show made by a comedian who wanted to talk to other comedians about comedy. Finally, after more than 10 years, Marc talks with the most well-known, most successful, and arguably most influential comedian in history, Jerry Seinfeld. About comedy. About how Jerry got started in comedy, how he was incapable of socializing, how he forged a friendship with Larry David, how he fueled himself with anger toward one person in particular. But mostly just about comedy and what c...

Episode 1128 - Chris Cooper
Chris Cooper was a guy who worked with his hands. He was raised to be a cowboy on his father’s ranch, spent time building Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, and worked as a jack-of-all-trades when he was trying to scrape by. Then he became known as a guy who worked with his heart and got to the top of his craft by doing so. Chris talks with Marc about breaking his shyness to become an actor, meeting his wife in acting class, working with John Sayles, and winning an Oscar for his madcap performance in Adaptat...

Episode 1127 - G.E. Smith
G.E. Smith started playing guitar when he was four. As he grew up, he liked The Beatles fine but it was really the Kinks and the Stones that grabbed him. Cut to many years later and G.E.’s had the opportunity to play with many of his heroes. He tells Marc about working with Mick Jagger, Bob Dylan, David Bowie, Roger Waters and more. They also talk about G.E.’s time as the bandleader on Saturday Night Live and the current dire situation for live music. This episode is sponsored by Patreon and Honey. See o...


Episode 1126 - Jeffrey Wright
Film and television production is on hold, but Jeffrey Wright is using the time to focus on his community. Jeffrey tells Marc how his attempt to help out a friend led him to a Brooklyn-wide effort to keep neighborhood restaurants afloat while feeding frontline workers. They also talk about ancestry, working in prison, Angels in America, Basquiat, Batman, Muddy Waters, and the great acting lesson Jeffrey learned from Christopher Walken. This episode is sponsored by Squarespace, Capterra, and HBO Max. See ...

Episode 1125 - Kenya Barris
Kenya Barris retreated from the abusive situation in his childhood home by listening to party records and reading comic books. Those early influences shaped his understanding of who he is and prompted the creation of Black-ish years later. Kenya talks with Marc about how much he learned from comedians like Patrice O’Neal and Dave Chappelle, how his childhood friendship with Tyra Banks led to his first big success in show business, and how an encounter with Jeffrey Katzenberg and a Ferrari was a spark for hi...

Episode 1124 - Samantha Bee
Samantha Bee says there was a point in her teenage years when she was clearly headed toward a life of crime. Thankfully, that was also the point when she realized she was being an a-hole and things needed to change. Sam tells Marc how she shook off the grifter lifestyle and started doing comedy. She also details how The Daily Show cake got baked every day and how the timing of Jon Stewart’s departure coincided with Sam getting her own opportunity to host Full Frontal on TBS. This episode is sponsored by Reu...


Remembering Fred Willard
Marc revisits his 2012 conversation with comedic actor Fred Willard, in which they discuss Fred’s career in improv-heavy films and beloved television projects. Fred passed away at age 86 on May 15, 2020. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information....

Remembering Lynn Shelton
Marc pays tribute to his creative collaborator and romantic partner Lynn Shelton, who passed away at age 54 on May 16, 2020. This episode includes her August 2015 interview on WTF. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information....

Episode 1123 - Eliza Hittman / Dan Savage
Filmmaker Eliza Hittman talks with Marc about telling the stories of teenagers in ways that feel like the lived experiences of actual teenagers. That’s partly achieved by the naturalistic performances she gets from many non-actors. But it’s also achieved by the sensitivity of her screenplays, like her latest film Never Rarely Sometimes Always, which takes the teen protagonist on an unavoidably real journey. Also, Dan Savage returns to WTF, bringing his expertise in love and relationships to help listeners n...


Episode 1122 - Cate Blanchett
Conventional wisdom holds that Cate Blanchett is one of the world’s greatest living performers, but one person who disagrees with that is Cate Blanchett, who thinks she’s pretty terrible most of the time (her words, not ours). Marc and Cate try to get to the bottom of why she’s so hard on herself despite her many career accomplishments. They discuss The Lord of the Rings, playing Bob Dylan, why her hair fell out when she played Blanche DuBois, why Al Pacino is her hero, and why she took on the story of Phyl...

Episode 1121 - Liz Garbus / Andy Kindler
Filmmaker Liz Garbus knows the importance of telling stories. Her father is one of America’s preeminent First Amendment lawyers, defending people with important stories to tell like Daniel Ellsberg and Lenny Bruce. Liz used her filmmaking skills to make a documentary on her father, just as she’s done with subjects like Nina Simone, the New York Times, and maximum security prisons. Liz and Marc also discuss her first scripted film, Lost Girls.  Plus, old friend Andy Kindler joins Marc to celebrate the releas...

Episode 1120 - Dan Levy
The OTHER Dan Levy joins Marc to talk about the Canadian perspective of America, the rite of passage for all Canadians that is Degrassi, and having Eugene Levy as a dad. Dan reminisces about his first big show business job, working on Canadian MTV, which led to an existential crisis at the MTV Movie Awards. It was only after being ok with walking away from show business that Dan got the inspiration to start writing for himself, leading to the creation of Schitt’s Creek. This episode is sponsored by The Shiv...


Episode 1119 - Whitmer Thomas
Comedian Whitmer Thomas and Marc made a movie together in Alabama. But while Marc was just a visitor, Whitmer knows Alabama to the core. Growing up in Gulf Shores and living the life of a disaffected Southern skateboarding garage rocker, Whitmer was surrounded by family dysfunction that involved alcoholism, drug addiction, failed show business dreams, jail and eventually death. Whitmer says it was hard to process all of it but that’s what he did in his HBO special, The Golden One, as his desperation to conn...

Episode 1118 - Laura Linney
Laura Linney thinks about mortality a lot and not just because of the current global predicament. Her thoughts are driven mostly by late-in-life parenthood and how her six-year-old is a constant reminder of the time she has left. Then there’s also the fact that her mother was a cancer nurse in New York City while her father lived apart from them, burning his bridges and living with regret. Laura and Marc talk about keeping things in perspective, dealing with forgiveness as you get older, and sitting in disc...

Episode 1117 - Barry Sonnenfeld
Director Barry Sonnenfeld had zero interest in film and went to college mainly to get away from his parents. His obsession with lenses and f-stops put him on the path to becoming a cinematographer and soon he was making his first feature film with the Coen Brothers. But not before getting hired as the cameraman for a porn shoot. Barry and Marc talk about Men in Black, Get Shorty, The Addams Family, dealing with bullies in Hollywood, and firing Donald Trump. This episode is sponsored by SimpliSafe. See om...


Episode 1116 - Rosie O'Donnell
In a first for WTF, Rosie O’Donnell joins Marc over video chat for a bicoastal conversation about her standup career, musical theater and life during coronavirus. Rosie recalls what it was like to become a touring comic as a teenager, win big on Star Search, steal the spotlight in Hollywood movies, and then land her own TV talk show. It was only after getting to that point that she finally reckoned with the trauma she was carrying her whole life. Also, Marc reveals the connective tissue that links Rosie wit...

Episode 1115 - Sam Morril
The other half of a quarantined comedy couple, Sam Morril joins Marc in the garage at a six-foot distance to talk about the circumstances keeping him away from his home in New York and living with Taylor Tomlinson. Sam explains how he navigates scenarios without a playbook, whether it’s his relationship, getting started in comedy, or finally meeting his biological father. Marc and Sam also commiserate over missing standup and how they both bombed spectacularly during Friar’s Club roasts. This episode is spo...

Episode 1114 - Taylor Tomlinson
Taylor Tomlinson is possibly the first guest who grew up listening to WTF and learned the comic trade from comedians on the podcast. At the time, she was a teenager doing standup in churches and she was soon a fixture on the Christian comedy circuit. Taylor talks with Marc about how her career expanded, how she had a crisis of faith, and how her family reacted to her recent work, including her new Netflix special, Quarter-Life Crisis. She also talks about living through quarantine with her comic boyfriend S...


Episode 1113 - Fran Drescher
Fran Drescher has a distinctive personality, but she says it wasn’t until her forties that she truly figured out who she is. Fran talks with Marc about growing up in Queens, being very close to her parents, and marrying her high school sweetheart. It wasn’t until she created The Nanny, dealt with post-traumatic stress, and survived cancer that she felt she could truly be her own person. They also talk about Saturday Night Fever, This is Spinal Tap and Fran’s new show, Indebted. This episode is sponsored by ...

John Prine from 2016
From Episode 746, Marc's conversation with John Prine about Kris Kristofferson, Steve Goodman, Bob Dylan, Bonnie Raitt and delivering the mail. John passed away on April 7, 2020. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information....

Episode 1112 - Jeff Dunham
A lot of comedians spend years or decades finding their voice on stage, but Jeff Dunham was very young when he settled on his comic voice. He then proceeded to throw that voice, to great success. Jeff tells Marc what attracted him to ventriloquism, how he studied it, and where he started doing it. Jeff also explains how he designs and creates new puppets, why he uses the puppets when he’s interviewed on the radio, and how he’s responded to accusations of racial insensitivity in his characters.  See omnys...


Episode 27 - Byron Bowers
One thing Byron Bowers knows for sure is that comedy taught him who he is. He needed it after a childhood filled with parental discord and moving around Georgia. That was followed by a period where Byron was living three separate lives, as a basketball player, a college student and a drug dealer. Then he had to come to grips with his father’s schizophrenia and wonder if there was a difference between his dad’s disorder and his own delusional pursuit of a comedy dream. Byron also compares notes with Marc abo...

Adam Schlesinger from 2012
From Episode 348, Marc's conversation with songwriter and musician Adam Schlesinger about Fountains of Wayne, That Thing You Do, Broadway and more. Adam passed away on March 31, 2020. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information....

Episode 26 - Ben Sinclair
Even with the popularity of his HBO series High Maintenance, Ben Sinclair is still not great at taking compliments. He gets a lot of them, considering the show is one of the early success stories from the world of DIY web series that crossed over to mainstream television. Ben tells Marc how he lived a classic struggling artist life in New York before making the show, complete with a failed audition for Blue Man Group, an apartment with bedbugs, and sleeping on a futon in a lobby. They also talk about how he...


Episode 1109 - Kathy Valentine
Kathy Valentine is in one of the most famous and profitable female rock bands ever but she’s really taken to becoming a writer. That's because she’s got a lot of stories to tell. Kathy talks with Marc about her new memoir that chronicles her early life and the peak of The Go-Go’s. She explains why the band fell apart after their period of success and tells Marc how the bandmates recently strengthened their bond with each other. Kathy also compares notes with Marc about finding the gift of forgiveness in sob...

Episode 1108 - Dan Aykroyd
Dan Aykroyd has thrived in show business but he’s always been in tune with the business part as much as the show part. Whether it was running his own radio ad company or an after-hours speakeasy, or his House of Blues clubs and his Crystal Head line of vodka, Dan is always thinking of the next thing. He tells Marc how he went from Canadian improv stages to New York City for Saturday Night Live, why he was always good at doing fast-talking characters, and how his professional life became personal with close ...

Episode 1108 - Dan Aykroyd
Dan Aykroyd has thrived in show business but he’s always been in tune with the business part as much as the show part. Whether it was running his own radio ad company or an after-hours speakeasy, or his House of Blues clubs and his Crystal Head line of vodka, Dan is always thinking of the next thing. He tells Marc how he went from Canadian improv stages to New York City for Saturday Night Live, why he was always good at doing fast-talking characters, and how his professional life became personal with close ...


Episode 1107 - Utkarsh Ambudkar
The world took notice of Utkarsh Ambudkar with his freestyle performance on the Oscar telecast but he was almost a classic cautionary character: The guy who blows his big break because of struggles with substance abuse. Utkarsh tells Marc about his early love of hip-hop, how rap battles and general swagger opened doors for him on Broadway and in Hollywood, and why he knew he had to sober up when he torpedoed his shot at a little musical called Hamilton. Utkarsh also talks about his friendship with Lin-Manue...

Episode 1106 - Thandie Newton
When Thandie Newton took the part of Maeve on Westworld, she had no idea the character would wind up being a perfect metaphor for her life. As Thandie tells Marc, she didn’t really understand her outsider status as a mixed-race young person in England until much later in life. That confusion created an identity issue where she spent many years without knowing who she really was. Thandie talks about how she turned that corner, how her friendship with Eve Ensler changed her life, and how speaking out about se...

Episode 1105 - Don Gavin
Don Gavin has Boston in his bones, so much so that he’s still cold even after moving to Florida. Marc reminisces with Don about their stand-up days in New England, where Don’s kindness and encouragement of younger comics helped earn him the moniker The Godfather of Boston Comedy. But it didn’t start in Boston for Don. He drove cross-country to become a comedian. Don tells Marc about that journey as well as the timely story of what it was like doing comedy on a cruise ship and falling ill. Don also explains ...


Episode 1104 - Don Cheadle
It’s a good thing Marc cleaned the garage before Don Cheadle came over, otherwise Don might not have lived through this episode due to his life-threatening cat allergy. With no airborne irritants to cause problems, Don and Marc were free to talk about Don’s days at CalArts, why he loves playing golf, what he learned by portraying Miles Davis and Sammy Davis, Jr., and how Hotel Rwanda got him engaged in global activism against genocide. Don also shares stories about Boogie Nights, the MCU, and his Showtime s...

Episode 1103 - Thora Birch
Being sixteen is tough for almost everyone. But when Thora Birch was sixteen, she went from being a familiar child actor to the girl from an Oscar-winning phenomenon, American Beauty. That movie changed her career, but it was her follow-up movie, Ghost World, that changed her whole outlook on life. Thora and Marc talk about how she adjusted after that period, what she focused on when she stepped away for a little while, and how she’s reintegrating herself into show business with the goal of expanding her ar...

Episode 1102 - Peter Berg
Filmmaker Peter Berg and Marc never would have predicted their respective futures when they were living together in a shared apartment back when both of them were just starting out in Hollywood. Now, after they embarked on wildly different careers, their paths converged again, with Pete directing Marc in the new movie Spenser Confidential. Pete explains that once he started acting, he got the idea to write his own movie from James Mangold, learned the ins and outs of directing from working on Chicago Hope, ...


Episode 1101 - Carol Kane
Show business paid off early for Carol Kane. She was in her first movie at age 17 and got an unexpected Academy Award nomination for Best Actress when she was 23. Carol tells Marc what it was like to break into the business working with directors like Mike Nichols, Hal Ashby and Sidney Lumet, and develop friendships with co-stars like Jack Nicholson, Diane Keaton and Ellen Burstyn. They also discuss her roles in beloved projects like Taxi, The Princess Bride and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, as well as her new...

Episode 1100 - Juliette Lewis
Juliette Lewis spent much of her life facing her fears. She was a natural introvert who was suddenly thrust into the spotlight as a teenager. She had anxiety about going to public places. She saw herself getting into trouble and wondering if she could survive. Juliette and Marc talk about how she learned to manage those fears (with help from the Rolling Stones) and how she still confronts them whenever she acts or performs with her band. They also talk about some of the movies that shaped her life, like Cap...

Episode 1099 - Adam Pally
Adam Pally watched his dad put his own show business ambitions aside while he personally washed out of a high school band and quit the basketball team. So Adam was used to the idea of things not going the way they were planned. But it was when he joined the school AV club that he found his comedy voice and got in on the early wave of the UCB in New York. Adam tells Marc how taking acting classes prepared him to be comfortable with embarrassment, which helped on shows like Happy Endings. He also explains wha...


Episode 1098 - Ronan Farrow
Ronan Farrow needed to come to terms with a lot of things. He processed the pain and trauma that existed in his family during his upbringing. He came to an understanding with his own ambition and drive. And he realized that the deck is stacked against victims and survivors of abuse the world over. These things all contributed to his current work as an investigative journalist, his Pulitzer Prize-winning reporting, and his bestselling book about it all, Catch and Kill. Ronan also talks with Marc about going ...

Episode 1097 - Brett Smrz
Some people are born into stunt performing, some achieve it, and some have it thrust upon them. For Brett Smrz, it’s all three. He was born into a family of stuntmen, including his uncle who died doing a stunt. Brett was given his uncle's name, but instead of following his namesake into the family business, Brett wanted to become a race car driver. Then he lost his leg. Brett tells Marc the story of how he rebounded from that life-changing accident to become an elite Hollywood stunt driver, with work in mov...

Episode 1096 - Ben Schwartz
Ben Schwartz was afraid to do plays in high school. In fact, if it wasn’t for his college girlfriend pushing him to audition for the school improv group, his life would be dramatically different. Ben talks with Marc about his early comedy ambitions which prompted him to sneak into MTV looking for a job, get an internship at the UCB, and become a page for The Late Show with David Letterman. Ben also explains how his confidence grew on camera playing Jean-Ralphio on Parks and Rec, why his mind is blown doing ...


Episode 1095 - Dan Levy
Once Marc gets over the confusion around Dan Levy’s name (he pronounces it differently than the Dan Levy from Schitt’s Creek), he tries to figure out how Dan went from being a guy opening at comedy clubs to a creator and showrunner of his own network sitcom. Dan talks about getting into writing while doing road gigs as a comic, what it was like to write for friends like Whitney Cummings and John Mulaney, how it was different to be a hired joke writer on a show like The Goldbergs, and how it all prepared him...

Episode 1094 - Ashton Kutcher
Ashton Kutcher is still close with the modeling agent who discovered him in a bar in Iowa. He’s also still with the manager who got him his first acting work. Ashton talks with Marc about why he feels such a strong loyalty to the people who first gave him a shot, especially because those early shots led to acting stardom, a successful production company, and lucrative involvement in the world of tech investing. They also talk about That ‘70s Show, Punk’d, taking over for Charlie Sheen on Two and a Half Men,...

Episode 1093 - Ben Bailey
Ben Bailey and Marc share a particular gripe as comics. Both of them became widely known for beloved projects they started doing on a whim. For Ben it was Cash Cab, for Marc it was this podcast. And as much as they love those projects, they really just wanted to be known as stand-ups. Ben tells Marc how he got his start answering phones at The Comedy Store and how he really wanted to be a marine biologist before he got into comedy. He also describes his lifelong fascination with fish tanks and other tank-ba...


Episode 1092 - Terry Crews
Terry Crews survived a lot. He survived a tumultuous upbringing in an alcoholic household. He survived the destruction of his hometown, Flint, Michigan. He survived playing in the NFL. He survived a pornography addiction that sent him to rehab, and his marriage survived it too. And he survived a confrontation with Hollywood agents that he was certain would end his career. Terry tells Marc how his love of art, music and comedy always won out and how projects like Idiocracy, Brooklyn 99 and America’s Got Tale...

Episode 1091 - Josh Klinghoffer
Josh Klinghoffer came over to Marc’s house just days after receiving the surprising news from the Red Hot Chili Peppers that his time with the band was over. He talks with Marc about John Frusciante’s sudden RHCP reunion and being the odd man out. But he also talks about what it’s like to develop as a solo artist under the name Pluralone after may years of feeling like he was hiding in other people’s projects, including well-regarded collaborations with Bob Forrest, the Butthole Surfers, Jon Brion, Beck, PJ...

Episode 1090 - Brian Cox
When listening to actor Brian Cox talk with Marc, it’s hard to see how this pleasant man is anything like the despotic, cold-blooded patriarch Logan Roy, who he plays on HBO’s Succession. Except there is one thing they have in common: They both see the human experiment as rather ludicrous. Brian’s view of a world that is absurd above all else has served him well playing any number of Shakespearian characters, Hannibal the Cannibal, and his real life role as a champion for Scottish independence. This episode...


Episode 1089 - Randall Park
Randall Park’s Korean immigrant parents were skeptical about their son’s career path. But that all changed when Randall played the actual dictator of North Korea in The Interview, a movie that caused an international incident. Randall also tells Marc why he founded an Asian-American theater company in college and why he’s taking the same mentality at the core of that group to his Hollywood production company. They also talk about Fresh Off The Boat, Always Be My Maybe, his friendship with Ali Wong, and the ...

Episode 1088 - Lily Tomlin
Lily Tomlin received a bit of advice early in her life that she really took to heart: If you can’t be direct, why be? Lily’s direct approach to performing, exemplified by her creation of original characters, led her to early success in New York cabarets, spots on The Merv Griffin Show, and her breakout showcase on Laugh-In. Lily and Marc talk about her personal and professional relationship with her longtime collaborator and now wife Jane Wagner, her roles in movies like Nashville and 9 to 5, and her friend...

Episode 1087 - Joe Mantegna
Joe Mantegna is about as Chicago as they come. He grew up in Chicago, he talks like he’s from Chicago, he got his acting start in Chicago, he even used to play with the band Chicago. That might explain why he tells Marc he still thinks of himself as a blue collar guy with a blue collar job. Joe talks about the moment West Side Story changed his life, how David Mamet became his champion, and why he choses such a wide variety of projects, including his 13 years on Criminal Minds and his 30 years as Fat Tony o...


Episode 1086 - Brad Pitt & Leonardo DiCaprio
During a victory lap for their movie Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio put movie stardom on hold for an hour to have a chat with Marc. They talk about their early days as show business outsiders, the moment they knew their lives would never be the same, the times they've known a movie they're in is going to tank, why they don't want to direct and why they love to produce. This episode is sponsored by SimpliSafe and Everything's Gonna Be Okay on Freeform. See omnystudio.com/li...

Episode 1085 - Scott Caan
Scott Caan stars in major movies, is on a long running television series, published his own photography, wrote more than 20 plays, and yet he’s still not sure what he wants to do when he grows up. Scott and Marc talk about finding professional fulfillment after a lifetime of personal growth, from being a kid looking for trouble to mellowing with age, letting go of anger, and embracing fatherhood. Scott also tells Marc about his aborted rap career and the evolution of his relationship with his dad. This epis...

Episode 1084 - Shauna Duggins
Shauna Duggins does stunts for blockbuster movies and TV series, but at first she just wanted to entertain. She went to Los Angeles fresh out of college with a business degree and a lifetime of gymnastics experience. At the neighborhood gym, she started hanging out with a stunt crew and learned the skills that got her jobs on Charlie’s Angels, Fast Five, and Iron Man 3. Shauna tells Marc how she got the nerve to do stunts like 80-foot jumps and being set on fire, what it’s like to serve as stunt coordinator...


Episode 1083 - Brittany Howard
Brittany Howard always needs to keep moving forward. That’s part of the reason she made the difficult decision to take a break from her band Alabama Shakes and go out on her own. Now, for the first time as a Grammy-nominated solo artist, Brittany is trying to force herself to be present and reckon with the fact that she tried so hard to get away from the past. Brittany and Marc also talk about the importance of the rhythm section, being in a prog rock band, trashing her first guitar, and embracing the inner...

Episode 1082 - Jimmy Tingle
Jimmy Tingle has a lot in common with Marc and many other Boston-based WTF guests. But what sets Jimmy apart is the merger of his comedy with politics and civic engagement. Jimmy tells Marc about his sobriety, his shift toward one-man shows and his focus on societal issues, which eventually led to him getting into Harvard in his mid-50s, giving the commencement address, and running for office. They also talk about how Jimmy wound up in the Andy Rooney spot on 60 Minutes 2 and his influential friendship with...

Episode 1081 - Alex Gibney
Academy Award-winning documentarian Alex Gibney is always trying to understand why things are the way they are. He’s done so with Enron, Scientology, the War on Terror, Donald Trump and other topics where he often finds people believing that the ends justify the means. That’s true of his new documentary Citizen K about Russian oligarchs and Vladimir Putin. Alex also talks with Marc about his path to becoming a filmmaker and how the Blues opened him up to the possibilities of the documentary medium. This epi...


Episode 1080 - Jay Roach
Jay Roach went from directing major comedies like the Austin Powers series and Meet the Parents to making timely political films like Recount, Game Change and his new movie Bombshell. The transition makes more sense when you hear Jay tell Marc how he’s gone from one thing to another in life - teaching in college, making documentaries, meeting his wife, meeting Mike Myers, directing his first feature film with no track record - often without warning or any plan at all. Jay and Marc also talk about their shar...

Episode 1079 - Paul Walter Hauser
To play Richard Jewell, Paul Walter Hauser knew he needed to tap into a part of himself he thought he left behind in Saginaw, Michigan. Paul and Marc talk about his Christian upbringing as the son of a Lutheran pastor, the importance of faith in his life today, how show business initially beat him down and kicked him back to his home town, and how he got back in the game with an emotional audition that changed everything. They also talk about his performances in I, Tonya and Blackkklansman. This episode is ...

Episode 1078 - Cedric the Entertainer
Before he was a King of Comedy, before he was even an entertainer, he was Cedric the Insurance Claims Adjuster. Cedric and Marc talk about his emergence in the St. Louis-area comedy scene and how the business of Black Comedy took off. Cedric also looks back on his brief but game-changing touring days with Bernie Mac, Steve Harvey and DL Hughley, his roles in movies like Barbershop and First Reformed, and his current CBS series The Neighborhood. This episode is sponsored by WHO by The Who, Zoro.com, American...


Episode 1077 - Ethan Russell
Photographer Ethan Russell is the only person to shoot album covers for The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, and The Who, which is quite an achievement considering he didn’t even want a career as a photographer. Ethan talks with Marc about going from the U.S. to England in the 1960s to become a writer, only to find himself working with Mick Jagger and taking rock and roll photographs that stand the test of time. On the eve of the 50th anniversary of the ill-fated Altamont Free Concert, Ethan describes what it w...

Episode 1076 - Jessica Kirson
There was a point in Jessica Kirson’s life where she was living with too many secrets. She was a pot dealer, she had a hidden cocaine habit, and she was deeply in the closet. Jessica worked to unburden herself of all those secrets and found a breakthrough when her grandmother told her, at 29 years old, that she should be a comedian. Jessica and Marc talk about her therapist mom, her stepbrother Zach Braff, her ex-girlfriend Susan Powter, and her unexpected friend Robert DeNiro. She also explains what it’s l...

Episode 1075 - Keith Wager
Keith Wager is a recovery friend of Marc’s who has a lot to be thankful for. Instead of doing drugs and getting arrested, like he did in the past, now he’s telling stories about his addiction and recovery on his podcast It’s All Bad. And because it always helps to talk about things, Keith and Marc talk about the bad decisions he made while drunk or on speed, his time in various detention centers, and his new life as a Hollywood wardrobe stylist. Plus, Marc delivers his annual reminder of how to manage the e...


Episode 1074 - Mike Sweeney
Mike Sweeney tried on several different careers before becoming the head writer for Conan O’Brien: trial lawyer, standup comedian, warm-up comic. But it’s a miracle he was able to do any of them after growing up in a violent, unpredictable household. Mike tells Marc the truly shocking circumstances of his early life, as well as the better days doing comedy in New York City, the highs of Late Night on NBC, the chaos of Conan’s Tonight Show days, and the many hats he now wears in the Conan Empire. This episod...

Episode 1073 - Louis Katz
Comic Louis Katz was working with Marc just before the launch of WTF. In the ten years since, Louis and Marc have taken paths that are both similar and completely different. They share their experiences on the road and get into the nuts and bolts of comedy club standup, then and now, as well as the persistent East Coast-West Coast split between comedy sensibilities. Louis also talks about what it was like to have a long distance relationship when starting out in comedy and what he’s only learning about hims...

Episode 1072 - Nathan Lane
When a very complementary newspaper profile called Nathan Lane “the last of the great entertainers,” Nathan couldn’t help but wonder, “Is that all there is?” Nathan talks with Marc about the subsequent steps he took to get himself out of the box people wanted him in, which included taking on roles like Hickey in The Iceman Cometh and Roy Cohn in Angels in America. They also discuss Nathan’s early days of dinner theater and stand-up comedy, his theory on why The Producers was such a big hit, and why he final...


Episode 1072 - Nathan Lane
When a very complementary newspaper profile called Nathan Lane “the last of the great entertainers,” Nathan couldn’t help but wonder, “Is that all there is?” Nathan talks with Marc about the subsequent steps he took to get himself out of the box people wanted him in, which included taking on roles like Hickey in The Iceman Cometh and Roy Cohn in Angels in America. They also discuss Nathan’s early days of dinner theater and stand-up comedy, his theory on why The Producers was such a big hit, and why he final...

Episode 1071 - Lili Taylor
Actress Lili Taylor and Marc quickly realize how much they have in common, like their nearly 50 combined years of sobriety, their similar stories about parents struggling with mental illness, and their search for belonging in New York City when they were younger. Lili tells Marc what it was like to be a central figure in the independent film community of the 1990s, but that was only a short moment in the first part of her life. The question Lili’s been asking herself lately is, Am I up to the task of the ne...

Episode 1070 - Tony Hale
Tony Hale is trying to be more present. He’s motivated by the fact that some of the biggest moments of his career on shows like Arrested Development and Veep are lost down the memory hole. Tony and Marc trace the reasons for these mental gaps, which are largely attributable to childhood panic attacks, codependency, and a long-running search for identity. They also talk about Tony’s reliance on his faith, his comedy partnership with Julia Louis-Dreyfus, and his emergence as a beloved children’s character, Fo...


Episode 1069 - Kate Nash
Kate Nash says getting cast on GLOW saved her life and, when you hear about the emotional roller coaster she was on before landing the gig, that might literally be true. Kate tells Marc what it was like to leverage her MySpace account into pop stardom at age 19, with a number one record and sold out shows for thousands of devoted fans. And then she explains why it all fell apart, with anxiety, OCD and a near-total breakdown to follow. They also talk about working together for the past four years, gaining co...

Episode 1068 - John Goodman
John Goodman has more than four decades of experience on stage, in movies, and on television, but he’s just now learning to trust himself. After a lifetime of trying to please everyone and beating himself up over everything, John tells Marc what finally caused his perception to shift. John also talks about being shaped by comic books and Mad Magazine, finding inspiration working with David Byrne and Al Pacino early in his career, and why he knew there was something special about the Coen Brothers the first ...

Episode 1067 - Joan Shelley
Marc doesn’t consider himself a “folk music guy” but he cannot deny how strongly he responds to singer-songwriter Joan Shelley’s work. Joan talks with Marc about her Kentucky upbringing and how she’s careful to respect the roots of folk music while also infusing her work with a vulnerability and texture that is her own. She also discusses her collaborative relationship with Nathan Salsburg, working with Jeff Tweedy as her producer, and her reasons for recording her latest album in Iceland. Plus, Joan gives ...


Episode 1067 - Joan Shelley
Marc doesn’t consider himself a “folk music guy” but he cannot deny how strongly he responds to singer-songwriter Joan Shelley’s work. Joan talks with Marc about her Kentucky upbringing and how she’s careful to respect the roots of folk music while also infusing her work with a vulnerability and texture that is her own. She also discusses her collaborative relationship with Nathan Salsburg, working with Jeff Tweedy as her producer, and her reasons for recording her latest album in Iceland. Plus, Joan gives ...

Episode 1066 - Edward Norton
Edward Norton knows the importance of slowing things down. While many entertainers feel the need to move immediately from project to project, Edward has learned from his peers, his idols, and his own experience that sometimes it’s all about what you don’t do. Edward talks with Marc about the lessons he learned from working with David Fincher and Milos Forman, the inspiration he takes from David Bowie and Bob Dylan, and the stories behind American History X and The Incredible Hulk. Edward also explains what ...

Episode 1065 - Pamela Des Barres
No one can doubt Pamela Des Barres’s commitment to the life of rock and roll. She’s known as THE rock groupie, but further distinguished herself as a writer, educator, tour guide and interviewer, all involving her life on the road throughout modern music history. Growing up in California with a love of Jesus and Elvis, it wasn’t surprising she was drawn to the charismatic allure of rock stars. Pamela tells Marc about her time with Frank Zappa, Phil Spector, Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, Keith Moon, Mick Jagger,...


Episode 1064 - Rick Baker
It’s very likely Rick Baker created something that made you smile, laugh, cringe, scream, or all of the above, as one of the most innovative and memorable creators of makeup effects in movie history. Rick tells Marc about being obsessed with movie makeup at 10 years old, watching monster movies on television, and drawing inspiration from Lon Chaney and his future colleague Dick Smith. But he had to fight to be accepted in an industry that didn’t want him, as he went on to create iconic cinema moments, from ...

Episode 1063 - Woody Harrelson
Living in Hawaii gives Woody Harrelson a pretty good perspective of what life should really be about. It’s a mentality that influences the way he chooses projects, the way he engages in activism, and the way he fulfills is spiritual side. Woody and Marc talk about this mindset and how it evolved over his career. He talks about the offer he turned down that would have kept Cheers on the air, the process he went through to get into the mind of a psychopath for Natural Born Killers, and the way his life change...

Episode 1062 - Rachel Maddow
Marc sees Rachel Maddow on TV almost every night. But there was a time when they saw each other every day, back when they worked together at Air America Radio. Rachel and Marc talk about those early radio days which turned out to be a transitional point in both of their lives. Rachel also explains how her early days of AIDS activism and public policy studies eventually led her to the broadcasting career she has now, which is something she never imagined herself doing. They also discuss depression, prayer, s...


Episode 1062 - Rachel Maddow
Marc sees Rachel Maddow on TV almost every night. But there was a time when they saw each other every day, back when they worked together at Air America Radio. Rachel and Marc talk about those early radio days which turned out to be a transitional point in both of their lives. Rachel also explains how her early days of AIDS activism and public policy studies eventually led her to the broadcasting career she has now, which is something she never imagined herself doing. They also discuss depression, prayer, s...

Episode 1061 - Jackie Tohn
Jackie Tohn is the co-star on GLOW who Marc feels he knows the most. Not because they knew each other before making the show, but because they share backgrounds and upbringings that make them very familiar to each other. Jackie tells Marc about growing up on Long Island, intent on pursuing an acting career, only to be met with heartbreak after heartbreak, from pilots that didn’t go to last minute casting changes to an American Idol bust. Jackie explains how a disappointed friend helped snap her out of her f...

Episode 1060 - Argus Hamilton
Argus Hamilton is the human embodiment of The Comedy Store, with the distinction of being one of the original Comedy Store comics and the only person of his generation who still works there today. In other words, he’s the perfect guest for WTF, as Marc continues building a comprehensive oral history of the infamous club. Argus tells some stories and dispels some myths about The Store’s origins, about the comics who really put the place on the map, about the big names like Pryor, Williams and Kinison who mad...


Episode 1059 - Danny DeVito
Danny DeVito is one of America’s most beloved actors and that’s true across multiple generations. Whether it’s because you came of age with One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest or watched Taxi every week or accepted his version of The Penguin as definitive or followed his antics with The Gang for 14 years on It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Danny is probably someone you feel like you know. Marc takes the time to know more about Danny, finding out about his Jersey Shore childhood, his days as a gardener and hai...

Episode 1058 - Marilu Henner
Marilu Henner will not forget what was said in this conversation. That’s mostly because she has a rare condition that allows her to remember virtually everything that ever happened to her. But it’s also because she and Marc go deep into her life and multifaceted career. They discuss the eccentric environment she was raised in, the tragedy that befell her family, the acting break that got her started in show business, the health challenges in her life that led to a career as an author, and her varied relatio...

Episode 1058 - Marilu Henner
Marilu Henner will not forget what was said in this conversation. That’s mostly because she has a rare condition that allows her to remember virtually everything that ever happened to her. But it’s also because she and Marc go deep into her life and multifaceted career. They discuss the eccentric environment she was raised in, the tragedy that befell her family, the acting break that got her started in show business, the health challenges in her life that led to a career as an author, and her varied relatio...


Episode 1057 - Jeannie Gaffigan
Jeannie Gaffigan had a lot on her plate. She was raising five kids, writing comedy with her husband Jim, and producing a television sitcom. She was so busy taking care of others that she forgot to take care of herself. Jeannie tells Marc how that self-neglect led to the inadvertent discovery of a brain tumor the size of a pear, a ten-hour surgery to remove it, and the complications that threatened her life. Now, on the road to a full recovery, Jeannie is learning how to let go of some of the control she use...

Episode 1056 - Byron Allen
How did Byron Allen go from teenage stand-up to highly successful media mogul and entrepreneur? Byron thinks it has everything to do with growing up in Detroit, watching his dad working at Ford and internalizing that factory worker mentality. Of course, his mom was a big help too, working as a tour guide at NBC Studios so young Byron could watch and learn from Johnny Carson, Redd Foxx, Richard Pryor and many others. Byron tells Marc how he found The Comedy Store, how he put in the hard work to get his own s...

Episode 1055 - Chaunté Wayans
Chaunté Wayans has a last name that adds a lot of pressure to a comedy career. She also happens to be the niece and cousin of many famous comedians with that last name. That’s one reason she stayed away from comedy when she was younger, choosing instead to get into film and television production. When Chaunté was working as an editor, she started struggling with anxiety, which led to alcoholism, which led to multiple arrests. Chaunté talks with Marc about rebounding, embracing her own comedic identity on st...


Episode 1054 - June Diane Raphael
June Diane Raphael knows people are likely to mispronounce her last name (it’s RAY-feel) but she’s ok with it. She has other things on her mind right now, like being a working mom in Hollywood, getting more women encouraged to run for office, and the simple things like aging, the meaning of life, and the acceptance of death. June and Marc talk about all of that, as well as her improv background, her marriage to How Did This Get Made? co-host Paul Scheer, and what she learns from working with Jane Fonda and ...

Episode 1053 - Danny Huston
Danny Huston felt somewhat doomed when it came to show business. His father John and grandfather Walter were legendary Hollywood figures and his half-sister Anjelica seemed like the coolest person in the world to him. To Danny, getting into the business seemed daunting. But after helping to shoot the opening credit sequence on one of his dad’s films, Danny was hooked. His father was his friend and collaborator but his death left Danny rudderless. And that’s when he started acting. Danny talks with Marc abou...

Episode 1052 - Bruce Dern
When Bruce Dern showed up at The Actors Studio, Lee Strasberg told him he was going to be their Frankenstein Monster and Elia Kazan told him “you’re not into acting, you’re just into being.” But they also told Bruce he would never be a leading man and no one would know who he is until his 60s. It was the start of a career that spanned hundreds of movies, TV shows and plays, and shows no signs of letting up. Bruce goes through all of it with Marc, including his experiences working with legends, shooting John...


Episode 1051 - Edi Patterson
When Marc first saw Edi Patterson on Vice Principals, he knew she was the kind of performer who can’t possibly stifle who she is. It turns out her raw, comedic intensity was born in Texas oil-refining country, where she was an anxious, sensitive kid who was in a full-blown existential crisis in fourth grade. Edi tells Marc how she figured out how to fake confidence, how she owes a lot of her growth to an actor from Hogan’s Heroes, and how she wound up collaborating with Danny McBride on shows and movies, in...

Episode 1051 - Edi Patterson
When Marc first saw Edi Patterson on Vice Principals, he knew she was the kind of performer who can’t possibly stifle who she is. It turns out her raw, comedic intensity was born in Texas oil-refining country, where she was an anxious, sensitive kid who was in a full-blown existential crisis in fourth grade. Edi tells Marc how she figured out how to fake confidence, how she owes a lot of her growth to an actor from Hogan’s Heroes, and how she wound up collaborating with Danny McBride on shows and movies, in...

Episode 1050 - Dale Beran
Unlike Marc, Dale Beran was immersed in internet culture for most of his life. He considered himself an artistic, creative person with aspirations to become a writer. But what Dale discovered in the online communities he frequented was a disconnected, nihilistic disposition that evolved from meme creation to activism to alt-right and white supremacist ideologies. Dale thoroughly documents the online worlds that created a culture of toxic trolling in his book It Came From Something Awful, which provides a ma...


Episode 1049 - Buddy Guy
Legendary blues guitarist Buddy Guy had many insecurities about performing and they didn’t really subside until musicians like Eric Clapton and Jeff Beck would tell him how big of an influence he was on them. Buddy tells Marc about is humble beginnings, growing up in Louisiana to sharecropper parents, picking cotton for small amounts of money. His high energy performances, inspired by Guitar Slim, helped Buddy stand out among his peers, but respect in the industry was hard fought and late coming, with his b...

Episode 1048 - Betty Gilpin
Betty Gilpin’s performance on GLOW has brought her critical accolades, Emmy nominations, and personal fulfillment. So why does she feel like she’s constantly running from a monster that is snapping at her ankles? Part of it is she lost a certain degree of invisibility as a performer and as her visibility rises the job gets harder and weirder. Betty and Marc discuss the strange out-of-body experiences of talk shows and junkets, and how learning to fight for yourself becomes a critical survival tool. Betty al...

Episode 1047 - David Shields
David Shields is always looking to push the form forward, whether it’s by way of his writing, his filmmaking or his thinking. Using collage-style prose and film techniques to help draw connections, David intrigued Marc with what his art says about the world and our place in it. So the two of them had a talk about some of David’s recent work exploring war, journalism, race, masculinity, Donald Trump, and football player Marshawn Lynch. Both David and Marc try to find the connections, in the work and in their...


Episode 1046 - Patricia Clarkson
Patricia Clarkson came to show business by way of New Orleans, where exposure to all manner of public figures who were equal parts good and bad may explain why she never judges the characters she plays, even if they’re monstrous. That’s true of her Emmy-nominated performance in Sharp Objects and her stage performance as Blanche DuBois, a role Patricia says she had to survive. She also talks with Marc about working with Brian DePalma and Clint Eastwood in her first two films, struggling in Hollywood in her 3...

Peter Fonda from 2018
From Episode 930, Marc's conversation with actor Peter Fonda about childhood trauma, Easy Rider, and talking George Harrison down from a bad trip. Peter passed away on August 16, 2019....

Episode 1045 - Stephen Root
Stephen Root grew up moving all over the country because of his dad’s job. Being uprooted all the time meant he was shy and quiet without too many friends.  Fortunately, shy, quiet people are good observers. Stephen tells Marc how he was able to channel this childhood disposition into his acting and each opportunity always led to something else. Shakespearean acting helped him play a Klingon on Star Trek. Working on King of the Hill led him to a table read of Office Space. Stephen even sees Newsradio as pav...


Episode 1044 - Bashir Salahuddin
Bashir Salahuddin is having a moment. He has two new shows out that he co-created and stars in, South Side and Sherman’s Showcase. He’s back in the third season of GLOW. And he’ll be in Top Gun: Maverick next year. But despite all this, Bashir tells Marc that he still struggles with the business aspect of show business. They also talk about his upbringing in Chicago, working with his comedy partner Diallo Riddle, writing for Jimmy Fallon, and dealing with a case of impostor syndrome while working with Tom C...

Episode 1043 - Greg Kinnear
Greg Kinnear actually bailed on being an actor. Even though he performed in high school plays and hosted his own radio show as a teenager, when he started acting in college he decided it wasn’t for him. As Greg tells Marc, it felt like too much of a crap shoot. So he tried broadcast journalism instead, eventually hosting Talk Soup on the fledgling E! channel and Later on NBC. Greg explains how these gigs led him back to acting, and they discuss some of his best roles in As Good As It Gets, Auto Focus, Littl...

Episode 1042 - Walton Goggins
Walton Goggins has played tough guys, weird guys and guys who completely defy description, but to him it’s all just playing pretend. Walton found himself as the center of attention at a young age while he was being raised by a group of women - his mother, his aunts and his grandmother. He caught the performance bug wile living in Georgia and a random American Express mail promotion became his ticket to Los Angeles. Walton tells Marc what it was like to learn on the job from Robert Duvall and Anthony Hopkins...


Episode 1041 - Juston McKinney
Juston McKinney’s story keeps coming back to New Hampshire. It’s where he grew up, where he lost his mother at age six, where his father was a homeless alcoholic, and where Juston became a cop. He tells Marc why he joined the police force in the first place, why he gave it up for comedy, how his background as a cop made him a hot comedian with TV deals and big money promises that all went away. Through the career ups and downs, Juston always finds himself back in New Hampshire, for comedy purposes and for h...

Episode 1040 - Kurt Andersen
At some point in the past decade, Kurt Andersen felt like he had to figure out America. Coming from a professional career rooted in satire and troublemaking, Kurt had a pretty good vantage point to examine the tug of war between reason and magical thinking that has become a chronic American condition. Kurt talks with Marc about putting this all into his book, Fantasyland, and recalls the founding of Spy Magazine, where he and Graydon Carter took pleasure messing with public institutions like the New York Ti...

Episode 1039 - Tom Dreesen
Now that Tom Dreesen has 50 years in show business under his belt, he wants to enjoy life. He’s earned it because he’s already experienced enough for five lifetimes. Tom takes Marc all the way back to when he was a kid in suburban Illinois, holding on to a life-changing secret. After wandering aimlessly through jobs in construction, private investigation and the military, he started doing comedy with his partner Tim Reid. Tom talks about going to LA where he became a regular at The Comedy Store, helped the ...


Episode 1038 - Geena Davis
Geena Davis says the biggest thing she had to learn as she made her way through show business was how to speak up for herself. This was particularly difficult because she was taught at a very young age that politeness was paramount, to the point where it endangered her life. Geena talks with Marc about how the industry as a whole needed to go through a similar change, which is why she gathered a team from her institute to amass evidence of institutional sexism and gender bias. They also talk about the legac...

Episode 1037 - Alex Ross Perry
Not only did director and writer Alex Ross Perry work in a video store while he was learning to become a filmmaker, his first film crew was made up of his friends and co-workers at the video store and they remain his crew today. Alex explains to Marc that watching films by directors like David Lynch and Stanley Kubrick made him want to have an immediately identifiable style. He found his style while embracing a true independent film aesthetic, which means virtually no money and very few shooting days. It al...

Episode 1036 - Sean Lennon
Sean Lennon admits that he was naïve about his family legacy when he began a career in music. He also admits that when he received bad reviews for his first solo record, deep down he agreed with them. Sean talks with Marc about how he grew into himself as an artist and musician, how “John and Yoko” as the world sees them are different from his dad and mom as he knows them, and how the trauma of losing his father at a young age left him with memories that will never go away. They also talk about his work wit...


Episode 1035 - Nahnatchka Khan
When Nahnatchka Khan started developing Fresh Off The Boat for TV, she knew it was an undertaking that no one had tried for more than 20 years: A network sitcom with an Asian-American cast. And it was a premise that appealed to her as a first generation American whose parents are Iranian immigrants. Nahnatchka talks with Marc about getting her start working in kids animation, how she learned the nuts and bolts of show running, and why directing the film Always Be My Maybe is another example of centering peo...

Episode 1034 - David Lee Roth
You only need to hear David Lee Roth talk for a few seconds to understand why he is the consummate rock and roll frontman. Diamond Dave takes Marc on a stream of consciousness ride through his past, present, future and whatever else he’s thinking about in the moment. They talk about David’s love of Big Band music, jazz guitar, his Uncle Manny, working as an EMT in the Bronx, and his serendipitous pairing with the Van Halen brothers that created musical perfection and nonstop personal animosity. This episode...

Episode 1033 - Jamie Lee
Jamie Lee started her career in close proximity to comedy, but not actually doing it. She was working in PR at Comedy Central and found herself around a lot of comics in a professional capacity. It wasn’t long before she caught the bug and was doing open mics in New York City. Jamie tells Marc about the influence of her parents, who were photographers for ZZ Top and later rock concert promoters and club owners. She also talks about working with Pete Holmes on Crashing and why the stress, shame and tension s...


Episode 1032 - Stephen Dorff
Stephen Dorff started acting in movies before he was a teenager, but the sudden and tragic death of his brother made him contemplate leaving the business altogether. Stephen tells Marc why he stuck it out and how he wound up landing one of his most fulfilling roles of his career in True Detective. Stephen talks about the good fortune he’s had in forming relationships with an older generation of actors, like Dennis Hopper, Anjelica Huston and Jack Nicholson, and in working with a variety of great directors, ...

Episode 1031 - Brent Butt
Even though Brent Butt grew up in rural Saskatchewan, his path to comedy is similar to American comics, except it was exclusively Canadian. He was a directionless youth who was taken in by comedy on Canadian TV, he booked gigs throughout the Canadian countryside to hone his act, he dealt with monopolistic club owners and did sets in lousy environments like curling rinks. It all led to him being the first native Canadian with a #1 comedy series in Canada, Corner Gas, which was turned into a hit movie and now...

Episode 1030 - Stephen Colbert
Before Stephen Colbert knew what he wanted to do with his life, all he wanted was to be Hamlet. Not to play Hamlet, but to be Hamlet. That’s how he felt as an outsider teen dealing with family tragedy and deep, unaddressed grief. Stephen tells Marc how comedy gave him a refuge from sadness, how his anxiety dissipated when doing improv and sketch comedy, and how a nervous breakdown made him realign his life. They also talk about The Colbert Report, the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, and doing The Late S...


Episode 1029 - Steve Sweeney
When Steve Sweeney was growing up in Boston, the last thing he expected to become was an entertainer. He rubbed elbows with career criminals in Charlestown but somehow wound up doing summertime productions of Shakespeare plays and seeing actors like Lawrence Olivier and Christopher Plummer. Acting then led to exposure to comedy, which later led to cocaine-induced psychosis, and eventually to working in jails and with at-risk youth. Steve talks with Marc about the journey to build his act and why he enjoys p...

Episode 1028 - Eve Ensler
When Marc read Eve Ensler’s new book The Apology, he knew he had to speak with her right away. Not just because it was a harrowing, beautifully written, courageous book, but because Marc believes the book fully reveals the geometry of toxic masculinity. Eve and Marc have an emotional conversation about why she needed to change the narrative of being the victim to her father’s perpetrator and how she constructed an apology from her deceased father to achieve that goal. They also discuss The Vagina Monologues...

Episode 1027 - Jamie Denbo
Jamie Denbo’s life and career would not be the same were it not for her job at a Renaissance fair. Her future in comedy, improv, acting, and now writing and producing might not have taken shape if she didn’t mistakenly audition for a gig she didn’t understand. Jamie tells Marc how early life misdirection and heavy duty self-criticism changed course thanks to the honing of her improv skills at the Ren-Fair and her coming-of-age at the original UCB Theater. They also talk about Ronna and Beverly, why she does...


Episode 1026 - Mavis Staples
As Mavis Staples turns 80 years old, she continues to perform and record with young musicians and producers across musical genres, just as she’s done her whole life. Mavis talks with Marc about her early years as a gospel singer with her family, the stunned reception they received when they started singing R&B songs, and the life-threatening acts of racial prejudice she encountered in the Jim Crow South. Mavis also details the important moments she shared with her father Pops Staples, Martin Luther King, Jr...

Episode 1025 - Perry Farrell
Perry Farrell is the creative force behind Jane’s Addiction, Porno for Pyros, and the Lollapalooza festival, but while talking with Marc, it’s clear a lot of Perry's focus these days is on being a dad. Perry sees the parallels in how he was angry at his family as a teenager and how his relationship with his own teenage son is evolving. Also, Perry’s wife, Etty Lau Farrell, gets on the mic with him to talk about their collaborative project Kind Heaven, which is an album, a community event and, they hope, muc...

Episode 1024 - John Turturro
When you talk with John Turturro, it’s quickly apparent that he’s a student of history. But John says that type of education really only happened for him once he left school and engaged with the world. His breadth of knowledge has certainly helped him as an actor and director throughout his versatile career. John and Marc talk about his fascinations, as well as what John was able to build for himself after living in a fairly volatile household. He also looks back at his experiences with longtime collaborato...


Episode 1023 - David Letterman
David Letterman started out doing the very thing that scared him to death - getting up in front of strangers and trying to make them laugh. Now after wrapping up a legendary and influential career as late night host, Dave talks with Marc about his early days at The Comedy Store, his enjoyment of the longform interviews he’s doing for Netflix, and his focus on the hard work of becoming a better person. Dave also reveals his favorite thing about his old show and the one comic he always thought was the funnies...

Episode 1022 - Timothy Olyphant
In the last decade or so, Timothy Olyphant realized that a lot of his interests when he was younger were either impractical, ill-fitting or not very cool. He found himself going in many different directions because, as he puts it, he was scared to death of success. Timothy talks with Marc about his false starts as an artist and a standup comic before falling into acting. He explains why Deadwood was the gift that keeps on giving in terms of what he learned while making it and why he started taking a counter...

Episode 1021 - Duff McKagan
Duff McKagan weathered the storm of rock and roll excess and now finds himself with a loving family, sobriety, a reunited band, and a new solo album. Duff takes Marc back to the days when he first met Axl Rose, when Guns N’ Roses became one of the biggest bands in the world, and when heroin decimated his entire scene and nearly ended his life. Duff also talks about the lesson he learned from Joe Strummer that still guides him today, why Slash still blows his mind, and how he keeps himself grounded by being ...


Episode 1020 - Lisa Kudrow
Of course Lisa Kudrow talks with Marc about Friends. But first they discuss several other topics Lisa knows well, including genealogy, global migration patterns, evolutionary biology, and headaches. Lisa also explains how Jon Lovitz was responsible for pushing her toward improv, how Conan O’Brien helped her put it all together, and how the cast of Friends stuck together to get what they deserved. Plus, some talk about The Comeback, Web Therapy, and her new movie, Booksmart. This episode is sponsored by the ...

Episode 1019 - Kyle Mooney
A fateful moment in Kyle Mooney’s life was when his high school hip hop group went up in flames. Quite literally. All his equipment was destroyed in a fire. Lacking an outlet for his creativity, Kyle gravitated toward improv and making digital videos, two skills that would eventually land him on Saturday Night Live. Kyle tells Marc his SNL story (of course) and talks about the fulfillment of making his first feature film, Brigsby Bear. He also explains why he likes going for human reactions in comedy as opp...

Episode 1018 - Anjelica Huston
If there was one constant in Anjelica Huston’s early life and career, it was the pressure to prove herself. Anjelica tells Marc about the benefits and drawbacks of being part of a Hollywood dynasty, the strains on the relationship with her father when she started making movies with him, and what it meant to her when she won an Oscar for working under her dad’s direction. They also talk about her life with Jack Nicholson, her work on Wes Anderson’s movies, and why it was difficult to make the Addams Family m...


Episode 1017 - Anna Konkle & Maya Erskine
Anna Konkle and Maya Erskine, co-creators and stars of the middle school-based comedy PEN15, met and bonded in college. But they knew their most authentic collaboration would come from playing themselves as adolescents, which started them on a six-year journey to put together their show. Maya and Anna talk with Marc about playing their 13-year-old selves again, what it was like to redo traumatic moments of their youth, and why all the other actors are age-appropriate teens. Also, Anna explains what she lear...

Episode 1016 - Dennis Quaid
Dennis Quaid believes in the benefits of familiarity. In fact, he attributes his career to it. Multiple generations of audiences know him for different films, be it Breaking Away or Dreamscape or The Parent Trap or The Rookie, but everyone has a sense of who he is. That’s because Dennis says he’s always playing a version of himself, even when he’s playing real people like Doc Holliday, astronaut Gordo Cooper, and Jerry Lee Lewis. Dennis also talks with Marc about teaching mandolin to Marlon Brando, playing ...

Episode 1015 - Irwin Winkler
After fifty years in Hollywood producing some of the most popular movies of all time, Irwin Winkler says the question he still gets asked the most is, What does a producer do? To get the answer, Irwin tells Marc about his days running the bumper cars on Coney Island, his job as a self-described mediocre agent, and his success making movies as the studio system broke down, including culture-changing hits like Rocky, Raging Bull and Goodfellas. Plus, Irwin explains why he’s had such a great collaborative rela...


Episode 1014 - Jane Fonda
Jane Fonda is still acting and is still an activist, two constants in her entire adult life. But as she tells Marc, Jane spent a lot of her life thinking she was a worthless person. Carrying the twin burdens of her mother’s suicide and a strained relationship with her father, Jane talks about why she gravitated throughout her life toward strong men, how she struggled with her own compulsive behavior, and what finally happened to convince her that she was worth it. Jane and Marc also talk about the real reas...

Episode 1013 - Bryan Callen
Bryan Callen always wished he could be a tough guy. Maybe it was the influence of his Marine father or maybe it was the snippets of American culture he was taking in as he grew up all over the world. Whatever it was, it caused a crisis of identity that pushed him toward acting and, ultimately, standup comedy. Bryan talks with Marc about where that identity crisis stands today, why he doesn’t buy into the concept of alpha males, and what’s driving him to be a better man today. They also compare notes, in non...

Episode 1012 - Brené Brown
Brené Brown’s degree in social work and her research into conditions like empathy and vulnerability led to one of the most viewed TED Talks of all time, millions of readers of her books, and celebrity boosters like Oprah Winfrey. But it was her academic work on shame that started it all and is the aspect of her work that resonated strongly with Marc. Brené talks with Marc about the evolution of her work, how it’s reflected in social and cultural changes, what her research told her about hope, and what is th...


Episode 1011 - Mark Arm / The Pashman Cometh
Mark Arm was there at the beginning of a Seattle music scene that became a national phenomenon. But all Mark ever thought he and his bandmates were doing was entertaining themselves. Mark talks about how he grew up in Suburban Washington with pressure from his mom to be in the arts and how his outsider status led him to starting bands like Green River and Mudhoney, playing alongside contemporaries like Soundgarden and Mother Love Bone. Also on this episode, Marc’s old pal Dan Pashman from The Sporkful stops...

Episode 1010 - Christina Hendricks
Christina Hendricks can relate if you had a lousy time in high school. Between moving around a lot to her goth fashion style and music choices to her time spent with the school theater crew, Christina was a target of bullies and wanted to get as far away from school as possible. She tells Marc how this alienation led to careers in modeling and acting, and how her agents dumped her when she insisted on pursuing a role in a little show called Mad Men. Christina talks about growing along with the character of ...

Episode 1009 - Bruce McCulloch
Bruce McCulloch’s characters and disposition on The Kids in the Hall would lead you to conclude he’s somewhat shy, sensitive and kind. And while that may be true now, Bruce says he was an angry young man, a drinker, a fighter. Growing up in Calgary, there didn’t seem to be much of a future for him, but improv comedy became the way out. Bruce talks with Marc about the darkness lurking beneath the Kids and why the group dissolved after making the movie Brain Candy. Bruce also talks about his friendship with t...


Episode 1008 - Vincent D'Onofrio
The last time Vincent D’Onofrio saw Marc it was at a standup show where Marc got tackled on stage by a disgruntled audience member. A lot has changed for both of them since then. You know Marc's story. But Vincent says in the decades since that night, he has improved his mental wellness and gotten his anger under control, two changes he thought would hurt his craft but wound up helping him become a better actor. Vincent also tells Marc about his first movie job being unadulterated Kubrick, why the real goal...

Episode 1007 - T Bone Burnett
Growing up in Texas, young Joseph Henry Burnett first experienced musical transportation while listening to records of Cole Porter and Ella Fitzgerald. He developed into not just a versatile musician and producer, but an obsessive archivist and student of music history. T Bone tells Marc about his days traveling with Bob Dylan’s Rolling Thunder Revue, his collaborations with the Coen Brothers for their films, and his production work on the late-career albums of artists like Gregg Allman and BB King. T Bone ...

Episode 1006 - John Lithgow
John Lithgow can go from playing the sweetest characters you’ll ever see to truly deranged psychopaths, sometimes within the same movie. He’s good at playing kind and evil in equal measure partly because he developed his acting range at a young age growing up around his dad’s traveling Shakespeare festivals. John talks with Marc about his many memorable roles and how working on 3rd Rock from the Sun led him to creating children’s entertainment, from voice acting to songs to books to live concerts. John also...


Episode 1005 - Phoebe Robinson
Phoebe Robinson knows too well the feeling of being “the only one.” Whether it was being the only black person in her grade, the only woman or person of color on a standup show, or the only person being asked to step out of the line at the airport, the ongoing impact is exhausting. Which is why, as Phoebe tells Marc, she always wants to be doing her own thing on her own terms, from 2 Dope Queens to writing bestselling books to her most recent podcast, Sooo Many White Guys. Also, Phoebe and Marc compare note...

Episode 1004 - Rob Lowe
Rob Lowe had several revelations over the course of his life. One is that there’s more fun in sobriety than in being under the influence. Another is that he should have had a sex tape scandal later in life when it actually would have helped his career instead of nearly killing it. And the latest is that he needs to keep doing different things to keep from getting bored, including hosting a game show alongside a giant robotic arm. Rob talks with Marc about these discoveries and the moments that led to them, ...

Episode 1003 - Tal Wilkenfeld
The word prodigy gets thrown around a lot, but if Tal Wilkenfeld isn’t one then the word has no meaning. Tal tells Marc how she never even saw a person play guitar until she was 14 years old. Thanks to encouragement from her grandfather, she started playing as a teenager and immediately stunned professional musicians with her natural talents. Tal explains how her career took off in part because of a viral video of her bass solo in a Jeff Beck concert, how she wound up playing with artists like Herbie Hancoc...


Episode 1002 - Amy Sedaris
Amy Sedaris had no plan of action for her career other than going to Chicago to do sketch comedy and going to New York to do plays with her brother David. And as she tells Marc, she still has no plan except for doing things that she finds fun. Amy and Marc talk about how that lack of planning  led to her early Comedy Central sketch show Exit 57, a collaborative partnership with Paul Dinello and Stephen Colbert that birthed Strangers with Candy, and a public persona that made her an ideal Letterman guest and...

Episode 1001 - Aidy Bryant
Aidy Bryant only recently felt like she could tap into her inner rage. She remains a wonderfully nice person and hilarious performer, but with things like her new show Shrill and other mental adjustments, Aidy feels like she’s taking ownership of some righteous anger. She has that in common with Marc, as well as the fact that they both cry while watching TV all the time. They talk about those shared traits as well as Aidy’s early love of improv, her path to Saturday Night Live, and breaking away from lettin...

Episode 1000
To celebrate the milestone of 1000 episodes, Marc and WTF producer Brendan McDonald reflect on how they got here, why they created the show in the first place, and what the future holds for them and WTF. They answer listener questions and divulge some never-before-heard revelations, such as the time the show almost ended and how the White House reacted to President Obama's interview in the garage. Most importantly, Marc and Brendan talk about how their working relationship evolved into a deep friendship wit...


The Marc and Tom Show #5
Media juggernauts Marc Maron and Tom Scharpling join forces once again, this time to save not only themselves but the world as well. Along the way, they talk about Howard Stern, movie theater food, falling for advertising, sweating, and Jonah Ray’s influence on Marc’s identity. Also, we get the story of Marc’s ill-fated music career and the reason Sausage Party led to a great awakening in Tom’s life. Theme music by The Tokeleys. This episode is sponsored by Squarespace....

Episode 999 - Alfred Molina
Alfred Molina was told early on that he was a “dreadful actor but a marvelous show off.” Thankfully, he took that assessment as a positive and became one of our great actors, working in experimental British theater, BBC radio plays, and large-scale musicals like Oklahoma. Alfred tells Marc how he transitioned to movies, with his first film being a small trifle called Raiders of the Lost Ark, and how that paved the way for his future work with directors like Paul Thomas Anderson, Sam Raimi, and Jim Jarmusch....

Episode 998 - Gary Clark Jr.
Gary Clark Jr. tries not to put too much pressure on himself. That’s not surprising since outside forces seem to put a lot of pressure on Gary, with guys like Eric Clapton asking him to go on tour and outlets like Rolling Stone calling him The Chosen One. The truth is, Gary was just a kid who wanted to be an R&B singer and taught himself how to play guitar. He tells Marc what he learned about the guitar from watching Stevie Ray and Jimmie Vaughan, playing with Hubert Sumlin , and listening to Tito Jackson. ...


Episode 997 - Andrea Savage
Andrea Savage didn't really know Marc but thought he was a little scary. Marc didn't know Andrea but found her to be intimidating. What was it about these two funny people that had them keeping a distance from each other? Perhaps it was because of what they have in common, like the broken homes they came from, the disdain they share for the inner workings of show business, and their histories of missed opportunities. They talk about all of that, as well as Andrea's show "I'm Sorry," how it draws from her re...

Episode 996 - Jon Bernthal
Jon Bernthal’s path to becoming an actor was less about following a dream than about getting out of a nightmare. Before he was The Punisher or other streetwise characters in The Wolf of Wall Street and The Walking Dead, Jon was a kid with a nose for trouble and a rebelliousness that pulled toward violence. It was heading in a bad direction but thanks to an acting teacher, a journey to Russia and Chekhov’s The Seagull, Jon turned it around. Marc and Jon also talk about his love of making “pure theater” in Ne...

Episode 995 - Mandy Moore
Mandy Moore has already gone through several career phases in her young life, from teenage pop star to animated voice artist to dramatic actress. But her latest phase, as matriarch Rebecca Pearson on This Is Us, came after a long period in which she put her career on hold and lost her sense of self. Mandy explains to Marc what it meant to be emotionally locked into a relationship, how that tumultuous time was preceded by a stunning development in her family, and why she finally feels comfortable going back ...


Episode 994 - Yeardley Smith / Krusty the Clown
Yeardley Smith knows that Lisa Simpson gets people through tough times. She knows because strangers come up to her in public and tell her how much Lisa helped them. And yet, despite portraying this iconic character for 30 years, Yeardley struggled for a long time to see her own life and career as a success. She and Marc talk about her journey, which includes Broadway roles as a teenager, stumbling into voiceover acting, and hosting her own podcast, Small Town Dicks. Plus, Marc himself becomes part of the Si...

Episode 993 - Tony Shalhoub
Tony Shalhoub grew up with nine siblings so it’s no surprise he developed a way to stand out. Tony and Marc talk about his upbringing in Green Bay, Wisconsin, worshiping at the Church of Lombardi, aka Lambeau Field, and eventually leaving town to become an actor. Tony explains how tricky it is to separate himself from popular characters, like Antonio from Wings and Detective Monk, how his genealogy research in Lebanon made him realize he might be related to a Hollywood legend, and how the popularity of The ...

Episode 992 - Yorgos Lanthimos
Yorgos Lanthimos makes films that pose a lot of questions and Marc wants answers. But it turns out the question Yorgos finds the least interesting is “Why?” Perhaps his disinterest in simple answers stems from the fact that he was on his own at the age of seventeen, or maybe from his time spent directing hundreds of Greek television commercials, or maybe just from watching movies and being struck by broken conventions. Yorgos talks with Marc about all of his films, from The Favourite to The Lobster to Dogto...


Episode 991 - Anderson .Paak
Long before Anderson .Paak was getting nominated for Grammy Awards, well before his collaborations with Kendrick Lamar, Snoop Dogg and Q-Tip, before he was releasing solo albums to critical acclaim, he had already walked away from the music business and had to be talked into returning. Anderson tells Marc why it was such a struggle to establish himself without conforming to what the record labels wanted him to sound like and why he didn’t really see a place for himself in the industry until Dr. Dre told him...

Episode 990 - Allan MacDonell
Writer Allan MacDonell shaped his writing style at the punk magazine Slash, refined it while working for Larry Flint at Hustler, and turned it all on its ear with his trilogy of memoirs. Allan tells Marc how his life was shaped by a David Bowie concert, how he immersed his life in the LA punk scene, and how he almost ended it all in a fit of rage at God. They also talk about the slipperiness of truth in nonfiction writing, which is why Allan killed himself off in his new memoir, and he also divulges the rea...

Episode 989 - Allison Janney
Allison Janney won an Oscar playing the mother of a figure skater, but when she was younger she actually wanted to be a figure skater. That dream was cut short by a freak accident as a teenager and her acting career didn’t really take off until she was 38. In between, she tells Marc how she became friends with Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward, took an aptitude test that told her to become a systems analyst, and was told by casting agents that she could only play lesbians or aliens. Allison also talks about t...


Episode 988 - Brad Garrett
If Brad Garrett had to bet on it - and he likes to bet - he’s pretty sure he’ll die in Las Vegas. Which is appropriate because he grew up with an abiding love of Vegas and got his comedy start at the famous Desert Inn on the strip. Brad and Marc talk about how he went from being a six-foot-tall twelve-year-old with no friends to a guy on one of the world’s most beloved sitcoms and now the owner of his own comedy club. Brad also talks about the lessons he learned opening for Frank Sinatra, following Robin Wi...

Episode 987 - Aaron Sorkin
It's very possible the only reason Aaron Sorkin became a writer is because he spent a lonely night in a friend's apartment where the only thing working was an electric typewriter. Aaron tells Marc how that fateful night put him on the path to writing his first play, A Few Good Men, and kicked off a writing career on Broadway, in film and on TV that has few rivals. Aaron also talks about his hero and mentor William Goldman, why his first try at adapting To Kill A Mockingbird was no good, and how his habit of...

Episode 986 - Linda Cardellini
For Linda Cardellini, a person whose spiritual crisis took her all the way to the Vatican, it's appropriate that the pivotal moment in her career happened when she took a leap of faith on a little TV pilot called Freaks and Geeks. Linda and Marc talk about that seminal show, the initial failure of which was hard to accept, along with the other projects that make her so recognizable to audiences, like ER, Mad Men and the new movie Green Book. They also try to figure out why Linda is still so hard on herself ...


Episode 985 - Howie Mandel
Howie Mandel went to Hollywood and tried to make a living by putting a latex glove on his head. He never thought he’d be able to maintain it, so he always made other plans: Investor, entrepreneur, actor, voiceover artist. And it wasn’t until Deal or No Deal when all the disparate things he did came together for a project that transformed his life. Howie talks with Marc about his struggles with OCD and AHDH, how those challenges made it difficult for him to fit in, how getting started in comedy came out of h...

Episode 984 - Sam Lipsyte
Not only is Sam Lipsyte one of the funniest modern fiction authors, he’s also one of Marc’s best friends, a kindred spirit with whom Marc shares a deep mutual respect and understanding. Whenever Marc is in New York City, he and Sam sit around and talk, going over the pressing questions and answers about the way things are. This is the first time they recorded it for an extended period of time. They get into Sam’s early years with the art-punk band Dungbeetle, how he creates his stories in a manner he calls ...

Episode 983 - Steve Coogan
When Steve Coogan realized he was good at doing impressions, he also realized it was a really good way to get attention. But Steve also knew he had to deliver beyond the impressions if he wanted to get funnier. Steve talks with Marc about that evolution, with some help from "Michael Caine," "Sean Connery," and others. Plus, Steve explains how his new Alan Partridge series will force the beloved presenter to adapt to a changing world, how his new movie Stan and Ollie is really a love story about comedy, and ...


Episode 982 - Seth MacFarlane
Seth MacFarlane can host award shows, create button-pushing animated shows, and sing standards in symphony halls, but nothing changes the fact that he’s an introvert by nature. Seth tells Marc why he’s always enjoyed making trouble through comedy, how that impulse got him into hot water when Family Guy started, and why many of the things he’s doing now - studio recordings, live performances, his show The Orville - are rooted in his respect for the past. He also talks about making Ted, hosting the Oscars, th...

Episode 981 - Reinaldo Marcus Green
Before directing his first feature film, Reinaldo Marcus Green's life could have gone down multiple paths. There was baseball in his teen years, then teaching elementary school students, then going to work on Wall Street, then helping his brother and other filmmakers with their movies. But it was a short film of his own made with a cop friend that led to an impassioned discussion between the two of them, which provided the impetus to make Monsters and Men. Reinaldo takes Marc down all of these connected rou...

Episode 980 - Kyle Dunnigan
Kyle Dunnigan was saved from a midlife crisis by Instagram. He explains to Marc how he bent the social media platform to suit his comedy as they both discuss the challenges of facing down middle age. Kyle takes Marc all the way back to when he was a young song-and-dance-man in high school who got suspended for doing a stand-up routine at the talent show. Kyle also talks about the conditions surrounding his high-profile writing jobs, first writing on Sarah Silverman’s show after the two of them had broken up...


Episode 979 - Topher Grace
Topher Grace is at a point where he’s only going to make what he wants to make. Not all actors can afford that luxury, but Topher tells Marc that working on That '70s Show for seven years taught him more about acting than any school, working with Ashton Kutcher taught him about being fully committed to everything you do, and working with auteurs like Steven Soderbergh, Christopher Nolan and most recently Spike Lee taught him you don’t have to compromise your vision. Topher and Marc also talk about the diffi...

Episode 978 - Fahim Anwar
Fahim Anwar's path to show business went through Boeing. It's not the most traditional route to Hollywood success, but it was necessary for a son of immigrant parents who did not approve of his standup comedy pursuit. Marc finds out about those early days in Seattle when Fahim was engineering by day and secretly doing standup by night. They also talk about comedy attire mistakes, experimenting with drugs later in life, and Fahim's new sketch comedy project, Goatface. This episode is sponsored by Squarespace...

Episode 977 - The Beastie Boys
Michael Diamond and Adam Horovitz deal with many of the typical challenges of middle age, but they’re still deeply in touch with the alter egos they created four decades ago: Mike D and Ad-Rock. They tell Marc about running wild as kids in late-70s/early-80s New York City, meeting their bandmate Adam “MCA” Yauch, collaborating and then falling out with Rick Rubin and Russell Simmons, the differences between opening for Madonna and opening for Run-DMC, and the honest self-reflection prompted by the music and...


Episode 976 - Maggie Gyllenhaal
Maggie Gyllenhaal grew up with filmmaker parents but didn't really feel like her family was in show business. That disconnect has helped her in her work and life, like when she performs with her husband, Peter Sarsgaard, or when she turns to her mother for screenwriting advice. Maggie and Marc also talk about the sexual politics of The Deuce and how they match up with the Hollywood today, her relationship to poetry and how that factored into her performance in The Kindergarten Teacher, what she learned abou...

Episode 975 - Jeff Daniels
Jeff Daniels has delivered great performances in films, plays and TV shows for more than 40 years but he thought a true “dream role” had eluded him. Until now. Marc talks with Jeff in the midst of rehearsals for Aaron Sorkin’s adaptation of To Kill A Mockingbird on Broadway, in which Jeff plays Atticus Finch. Jeff explains how he applies his Midwest work ethic to acting, why he sustains his own theater company in Michigan, and what he learned about the job of acting from people like James Cagney, Clint East...

Episode 974 - Ted Alexandro
Ted Alexandro is a comic who believes deeply in social responsibility. Whether it’s responsibility to his fellow comics as he fought for better pay from clubs, or to his fellow citizens as part of the Occupy Wall Street movement, or to his audience as he wrestles with effectively addressing the Trump Era on the comedy stage. Ted talks with Marc about the evolving nature of a comedian’s role in the culture, how his experience as an elementary school teacher prepared him for standup, and why he felt it was ne...


Episode 973 - Tim Blake Nelson
Tim Blake Nelson might be a familiar face due to his indelible character roles in many films, but that didn’t stop him from defying just about all of Marc’s preconceptions about him. Marc had no idea, for example, about Tim’s Jewish upbringing in Tulsa, or that his family escaped the Holocaust and became oil drillers in America, or that Tim tried his hand at stand-up in the 80s, or that he studied the classics in hopes of becoming a professor or an archeologist. They talk about all of that stuff and a lot a...

Episode 972 - Jeff Tweedy
Jeff Tweedy doesn’t spend a lot of time reflecting on the past. But he awakened a whole lot of it while writing his new memoir. That means he has fresh thoughts on his mind about Jay Farrar, Uncle Tupelo, the early days of Wilco, and coming into his own as a musician and producer, which is on display in his new solo album, Warm. Jeff also talks with Marc about his experiences with mood disorders, painkiller addiction, parenthood, and converting to Judaism. This episode is sponsored by YouTube Music, Nightfl...

Episode 971 - Martin Mull
Martin Mull has many job titles in front of his name: Actor, musician, painter, writer, comedian. But when he was younger, struggling to make it as any of those things, he couldn't afford heat for his apartment and had to borrow an electric blanket, which he also could not afford. Martin tells Marc how things turned around, how he found himself in music circles with the likes of Harry Nilsson and John Lennon, how his comedy performances led him to friendships with the likes of Steve Martin and Fred Willard,...


Episode 970 - Annie Lederman
Comedian and writer Annie Lederman saw her adolescence take a turn for the worse after a childhood car crash. She was growing up with learning disabilities and attending a Quaker school. Then after the crash she was making choices she didn’t want to make and finding herself in situations that left lasting scars, physically and emotionally. Annie tells Marc how she pulled herself out of the darkness, started her comedy career and ended up in an unexpected relationship that helped her process her trauma. This...

Episode 969 - Kenneth Lonergan
Kenneth Lonergan doesn’t think there’s a real difference between comedy and drama, at least not in the way he writes and directs. The playwright-screenwriter-director talks with Marc about the lie of sentimentality, how ideas collapse when he’s writing and new ideas emerge, and why he hopes to get to 95% satisfaction with his work (he’s gotten to about 90% so far). That work includes Manchester By The Sea, Margaret, You Can Count On Me, and plays like The Waverly Gallery, which is now on Broadway. This epis...

Episode 968 - Michael Douglas
Michael Douglas produced an Academy Award-winner for Best Picture, was the star of a successful television series, and was compiling a notable filmography both in front of and behind the camera. But he still didn't feel like he made it. That finally changed in his 40s, with movies like Wall Street and Fatal Attraction, and Michael tells Marc why that period was such a breakthrough for him. They also talk about why his early work on TV was vital for his career, why Jack Nicholson calls him a “hair actor," an...


Episode 967 - D.L. Hughley
"The most dangerous place for black people to live is in white people’s imaginations." That idea has allowed D.L. Hughley to organize a lot of his thoughts on what we're dealing with as a country, and he believes what we're really doing is fighting fear. D.L. tells Marc about his experiences growing up in South Central Los Angeles, getting out before he got lost, and building himself up through comedy. They also talk about two of D.L.'s influences, Robin Harris and Bernie Mac, his tours, his specials, his T...

Episode 966 - Sandy Hackett
Sandy Hackett learned from the best, but not just because Buddy Hackett was his dad. But also because Buddy was his best friend, his road companion, and the guy he opened for night after night. Sandy tells Marc what it was like to grow up in and around Las Vegas, how his entertainment career actually started out as a career in hotel management, and why he decided to create a touring show about The Rat Pack. Plus, Sandy shares some stories about Buddy, Lenny Bruce, Richard Pryor, Johnny Carson, and Elvis Pre...

Episode 965 - Rita Rudner
Rita Rudner is very likely the only person to start a comedy career because of an article in the New York Times business section on soft soap. It was quite the turn of events for Rita, who was dancing professionally on Broadway since she her teenage years. Rita tells Marc how she utilized the performing arts culture of New York City to create a comedy curriculum for herself, how she rose up through the city clubs and took her act on the road to become a major headliner, and why she decided to start working ...


Episode 964 - Roger Daltrey
Roger Daltrey believes you can't retire from rock and roll, rock and roll retires you. But for now, as long as Pete can still play and Roger can "sing the s--- out of the songs," The Who will go on. On the release of his memoir, Roger talks with Marc about building his first guitar by hand, meeting Pete Townsend and John Entwistle as schoolboys, finding Keith Moon in a Beach Boys cover band, getting kicked out of The Who over NOT doing drugs, coming back in time for the band to achieve its greatest success,...

Episode 963 - Zoe Kazan
Zoe Kazan doesn't think much about the concept of "Hollywood royalty." Yes, her parents are in show business, but she still had to run the gauntlet of failed auditions and odd jobs. Yes, her grandfather's body of work is legendary, but she had a relationship with him that was completely removed from his career. Zoe talks with Marc about paving her own way, as well as working with the Coen Brothers, enjoying the unexpected success of The Big Sick, and collaborating with her partner Paul Dano on their new fil...

Episode 962 - Eric Idle
Python Week continues on WTF as Eric Idle gives Marc his perspective on the creation of the legendary British comedy group, talks about the making of Monty Python and the Holy Grail, The Rutles, and Spamalot, and explores his feelings about the other Pythons. Eric also explains what it was like growing up at the end of World War II, how rock and roll became his escape from reality, and why he wound up having lasting friendships with David Bowie, George Harrison and Robin Williams. This episode is sponsored ...


Episode 961 - John Cleese
John Cleese says there's one constant throughout his life, from Monty Python through today. He still has a very strong childish side and it has done him well. John talks to Marc about putting that childish side to work when he was doing sketch comedy at Cambridge and why the success of Monty Python had a lot to do with five guys who all liked pushing boundaries. Also, John and Marc try to find the line between affectionate and inappropriate comedy by telling each other a string of off-color jokes. This epis...

Episode 960 - Richard E. Grant / Brian Posehn
Actor Richard E. Grant keeps a daily diary and has done so since he was ten years old. Having immediate access to his past experiences has no doubt helped his performances as a wide variety of characters throughout his career. Richard and Marc talk about his standout roles, working with directors like Scorsese, Coppola, and Altman, and now working side-by-side with Melissa McCarthy in Can You Ever Forgive Me? Also, comedian Brian Posehn stops by to talk about his new memoir and how being a nerd can also be ...

Episode 959 - Busy Philipps
Busy Philipps is on the cusp of becoming a late night talk show host, so it's appropriate for her and Marc to talk about anything and everything during an afternoon in the garage. Busy explains what it's like raising young daughters, how she navigated life after a sexual assault, and why she feels like she's done with acting, despite staring in beloved shows like Dawson’s Creek, Freaks and Geeks, Cougar Town, Vice Principals. This episode is sponsored by This Week at the Comedy Cellar on Comedy Central, Dre...


Episode 958 - Kurt Vile
Recording artist Kurt Vile and Marc like a lot of the same stuff: Tom Scharpling, the blues, Randy Newman, Neil Young, flat driveways. They get to share their mutual admiration of these things while also talking about Kurt's unique upbringing with nine siblings in Philadelphia and the banjo that led to his development as a musician. In his early 20s, Kurt had a job driving a forklift and in his free time he was making home recordings, which eventually became the tracks on his first album. They also get into...

Episode 957 - Charles Demers
Writer and comedian Charles Demers has a lot of thoughts on the differences between the United States and his home country, Canada. Differences that are political, social and professional. But he also tells Marc his thoughts about how Canada presaged Donald Trump in one specific way, how socialized medicine in Canada helps the national psyche as well as individual lives, and how the alt-comedy scene in Vancouver took off with the help of a couple prominent American comedians. This episode is sponsored by Yo...

Episode 956 - Sissy Spacek
Sissy Spacek was a girl from Texas with a guitar who just wanted to sing. But after spending some time as a teenager living in New York City with her relatives, Rip Torn and Geraldine Page, Sissy got the acting bug. She talks with Marc about the life-changing moment when she made Badlands, how the studio didn't want her in Carrie, what it was like going on the road with Loretta Lynn for Coal Miner's Daughter, and a lot more about her life and prolific career, including her new film with Robert Redford, The ...


Episode 955 - Anna Faris
Anna Faris had Marc on her podcast once. They both agree it got a little weird. They try to navigate that weirdness in the garage for Round Two, while also discussing Anna's painful insecurity as a teen, the great advice she got from Keenen Ivory Wayans, her breakout movie roles, the reasons actresses have it tough if they want to be honest, why she became clickbait fodder, and why she loves her co-star Allison Janney so much. Marc and Anna also make podcast history with an interlude from an unexpected loca...

Episode 954 - Gale Anne Hurd
Gale Anne Hurd is one of Hollywood’s most successful producers, with films like The Terminator, Aliens, The Abyss and Armageddon under her belt. She tells Marc how her first job out of college, working as an assistant for Roger Corman, prepared her for a lifetime in the movies and how her collaboration with James Cameron helped her storm the gates of the studios. Gale also talks about shifting from feature films to producing documentaries, why most producers don’t understand how film sets operate, and how s...

Episode 953 - Joan Jett
Joan Jett wanted to be a rocker ever since she got a hold of a guitar, even though she was told girls don’t play rock and roll. That didn't stop her from forming The Runaways despite the sexist roadblocks the band faced. It also didn't stop her from putting out her own albums when she couldn't get a record label to do it. Joan takes Marc through her past, most of which was shared with her longtime producer and collaborator Kenny Laguna, who also joins Marc and Joan in the garage to add some detail and persp...


Episode 952 - Slash
Slash is known for guitar wizardry, the top hat, and a prolific career across several major rock acts. But he's less known as Saul Hudson, a British, biracial son of a costume designer who was into drawing and BMX, not music. He tells Marc about being involved with a tangled web of Los Angeles bands that led to the formation of Guns N’ Roses, the band no one wanted to see succeed except the people who were directly involved in it. Slash also discusses collaborating with Michael Jackson, Carole King, reuniti...

Episode 951 - Kristen Bell
Kristen Bell had an experience as a guest on WTF that not many others get to enjoy: Marc made her a meal beforehand. So with a full stomach, Kristen and Marc talk about why Dax Shepard is pushing her to have an ecstasy party, why does she have a hard time remembering things, and why she began singing opera at a young age. There's also some talk about her beloved projects like Veronica Mars, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Frozen, and The Good Place. This episode is sponsored by YouTube Music, the Around the NFL ...

Episode 950 - Adam Cayton-Holland
Comedian, actor and writer Adam Cayton-Holland didn't plan on having a memoir in his 30s. But Adam's life took a stunning turn when his sister took her life six years ago and the grief process ran through the writing. Adam and Marc talk about hereditary mental illness, the urge to romanticize depression and self-destruction in comedy, and navigating the aftermath of a family tragedy. Adam also remembers what it was like to discover alt-comedy while living in Denver and wonders about the future of his TV ser...


Episode 949 - Billy Eichner
Billy Eichner was singing before he was yelling. The star of Billy on the Street had an early love of Broadway and musical theater but, as he tells Marc, comedy didn’t come quickly. No stand-up, no improv, no sketches. Then he developed a stage show in New York and the seeds of his comedic persona were planted. Billy also talks about the new season of American Horror Story, his role in the upcoming remake of The Lion King, and the return of Billy on the Street. This episode is sponsored by Sam Morril: Posit...

Episode 948 - Sir Paul McCartney
Marc talks with Paul McCartney about, well, a lot: The Beatles and Stones rivalry that wasn’t, his current relationship with Ringo, the influence of Little Richard, The Who, The Beach Boys, how he needs to have an out-of-body experience to really examine the Beatles legacy, the reception of his solo work after the Beatles, recording Band on the Run in Nigeria, what messages are in his songs, which songs still make him emotional when he performs them, and what he brought to the table for his latest album, Eg...

Episode 947 - Dan Schlissel
Dan Schlissel died recently. He tells Marc all about it, along with the less harrowing tale of how an isolated Jewish kid from Nebraska got into producing records. Dan turned his production know-how into a vibrant business when he started Stand Up Records and became a Grammy-winning comedy industry mainstay, producing and distributing albums for everyone from Maria Bamford to Doug Stanhope to Hannibal Buress. And yes, even Marc Maron. This episode is sponsored by New Mexico, Podcasts on Spotify, Starbucks D...


Episode 946 - Ian Bagg / Bert Kreischer
If there was a competition for WTF guest who comes from the most far-flung, middle-of-nowhere place, comedian Ian Bagg would probably win by a lot. Ian tells Marc about growing up in Northern British Columbia, being part of the blast crew in a gold mine, and realizing that the satisfaction he got blowing things up was equaled only by doing stand-up comedy. Also, Bert Kreischer returns to the show on the cusp of a mid-life crisis that is mitigated a bit by his new Netflix special. This episode is sponsored b...

Episode 945 - Jo Koy
Jo Koy is one of the biggest headlining comedians in the world and it might not have turned out that way if he hadn't become a vigorous self-promoter. Jo tells Marc how moving around a lot as part of a military family and dealing with his brother's severe mental illness  made him realize that if he was going to do something big, he had to do it himself. Jo and Marc also talk about holding down other jobs while doing comedy, the hazards of burning through material, and why people mistakenly think being a sta...

Episode 944 - Tanya Donelly / Jason Bateman
A lot has changed in the 30 years since Marc and Tanya Donnelly worked together at a luncheonette in Boston. Tanya saw her emerging music career take off in the early '90s, thanks to her bands Throwing Muses, The Breeders and Belly. Now in the midst of a Belly reunion with tour dates and a new album, Tanya tells Marc how things evolved in the more than two decades since. Also, Jason Bateman returns to talk about the second season of Ozark on the heels of Marc binge-watching season one. This episode is spons...


Episode 943 - Shooter Jennings / Rob Riggle
Shooter Jennings was born into Nashville royalty, the son of Waylon Jennings and Jessi Colter. But he didn't exactly fit the Outlaw Country archetype. In fact, he was a computer nerd whose real influence was Nine Inch Nails. Shooter talks with Marc about developing his own style, idolizing George Jones, collaborating with Stephen King, and always changing things up. Also, Rob Riggle stops by to explain how a fake idea he told people about to mess with them turned into an actual show, Rob Riggle’s Ski Master...

Episode 942 - Joe Walsh
There were two times Joe Walsh felt part of a community. The first was as a student at Kent State, but that all went away after the National Guard shooting. The second was when he got to LA and met a bunch of other musicians, including Don Henley and Glenn Frey, and that almost went away in a haze of substance abuse. Joe talks with Marc about his days with The James Gang, opening for The Who, Led Zeppelin, and every band under the sun, joining The Eagles, breaking up with The Eagles, getting sober, and goin...

Episode 941 - Jimmy O. Yang
Jimmy O. Yang felt like an outsider growing up in Hong Kong and then felt like he didn't fit in studying economics in America. It was only once he starting paying five bucks to do an open mic night in Hollywood that he found a community. Jimmy tells Marc how the immigrant story was different for everyone in his family, how he got his first real lessons in American life from watching BET, and how his performances in Silicon Valley and Crazy Rich Asians are so different when it comes to the pressures of repre...


Episode 940 - Chris O'Dowd
Chris O'Dowd charmed and amused audiences in things like Bridesmaids, The IT Crowd, and recently the Get Shorty TV series, but things could have gone differently if he had followed through on his political science major. Chris and Marc talk about growing up in the Irish countryside and heading of to university in Dublin, only to find out he enjoyed acting much more than studying politics. They also talk about Bono, the Native Irish vs the Boston Irish, and having cats but not being a "cat person." This epis...

Episode 939 - Jay Leno
Jay Leno came up as a comic's comic, a performer recognized by other comedians as one of the best in the game. He also became one of the most successful late night television hosts in history, not once but twice. Those two sides always seemed at odds with each other, especially in the minds of many other comics, but Jay never saw it that way. He tells Marc about the early days in the clubs with Pryor, Carlin, Robin and others, how he and Letterman influenced each other as comics, and how things went south a...

Episode 938 - Luzer Twersky
Luzer Twersky is an actor who has been seen on shows like Transparent and High Maintenance. But prior to 2008, he wasn't seen by anyone outside of his Hasidic Jewish community. Luzer tells Marc about his cloistered upbringing, the details of Hasidic life, his troublemaking as a youngster, his crisis of faith, and ultimately his exile from the only world he ever knew. Luzer also explains what role Marc played in his journey and where things stand now with the people from his past. This episode is sponsored b...


Episode 937 - Mila Kunis / Iliza Shlesinger
Mila Kunis says she's had a most fortunate trajectory in show business. That's because she got to experience it as a hobby and as a career. She explains to Marc what that means, along with telling him what it was like to arrive in LA as a religious refugee, why Ashton Kutcher is turning into an old man, and why she didn't realize she was supposed to be promoting her new movie, The Spy Who Dumped Me. Also, Iliza Shlesinger returns to talk about her wedding and her new special. This episode is sponsored by Ro...

Episode 936 - Sue Costello / Jim Gaffigan
Marc welcomes back to the show two comedian friends from the early years of WTF, both of whom have experienced a lot of changes in their lives since their previous visits. First, Sue Costello talks with Marc about how she persisted in the face of ingrained show business obstacles and is finding herself coming out clean on the other side. Then Jim Gaffigan tells Marc how one day he was out there doing comedy and the next day his family life went topsy-turvy after his wife's visit to the doctor. This episode ...

Episode 935 - Bo Burhnam / David Sedaris
It’s a summertime double-header of returning guests. First, David Sedaris takes a break from his months-long 'Calypso' book tour to tell Marc about his visit to Buckingham Palace, how he's navigating life with his elderly conservative father, and why he got a bizarre phone call from Roseanne. Then Bo Burnham returns to explain why he decided to make the movie Eighth Grade after having panic attacks on stage. Bo also tells Marc about the special friendship he struck up with Garry Shandling. This episode is s...


Episode 934 - Daveed Diggs / Bob Newhart
Before he was in Hamilton, Daveed Diggs was an aspiring actor, rapper and spoken word performer creating "a rap curriculum" for Bay Area schools. Marc talks with Daveed about how that was the perfect starting point for his eventual portrayal of Thomas Jefferson. They also talk about Oakland, Daveed's rap group Clipping, and his new movie Blindspotting, which he co-wrote as a kind of love letter to his always-changing hometown. Also, Marc gives Bob Newhart a call to talk about his new Audible series, Hi, Bob...

Episode 933 - Gus Van Sant
Filmmaker and kindred guitar noodler Gus Van Sant meets Marc in the garage and jumps in for a deep dive on his movies, including Drugstore Cowboy, My Own Private Idaho, To Die For, Gerry, Elephant, Last Days, Milk and more. Gus tells Marc why doing Good Will Hunting felt like such a personal risk at the time, why the remake of Psycho got green-lit in spite of itself, and why his latest movie Don't Worry, He Won't Get Far On Foot owes its existence to Robin Williams. This episode is sponsored by Sonos and Zi...

Episode 932 - Ray Liotta / Jim Jefferies
Ray Liotta had no intention of getting into acting but his fearless disposition led him to performing in school musicals, and the rest was history. Ray tells Marc about why being on a soap opera was great training, why he owes his movie career to Melanie Griffith, and why the filming of Goodfellas was emotionally tumultuous for him. Also, comedian Jim Jefferies stops by to talk about parenting, his new Netflix special, and Crocodile Dundee. This episode is sponsored by Ben & Jerry's and SimpliSafe....


Episode 931 - Boots Riley / Bobcat Goldthwait
Filmmaker and hip hop artist Boots Riley wants his audiences to be radically engaged. He grew up with parents who were organizers and he believes political radicalism prompts cultural change. Boots and Marc talk about social movements, power structures, and how he wanted to take on all of it with his years-in-the-making movie, Sorry To Bother You. Also, Bobcat Goldthwait returns to the garage to talk about grief, getting older, and his new series Misfits and Monsters. This episode is sponsored by the Outsid...

Episode 930 - Peter Fonda / Andy Kindler & J. Elvis Weinstein
Peter Fonda is happy to be figuring things out, no matter how long it took. Childhood traumas and an emotionally distant father affected his life and career, and he finally has some missing pieces of the puzzle. Peter also talks with Marc about Easy Rider, the time he talked George Harrison down from a bad trip, and working with Christopher Plummer on the new movie Boundaries. Plus, Andy Kindler and J. Elvis Weinstein stop by to try and explain what their podcast Thought Spiral is all about. This episode is...

Episode 929 - Paul Rudd
One constant for Paul Rudd as he spent a large portion of his childhood moving around the country, chasing an identity, is that he loved watching adults be silly. Even when he was in acting school and performing Shakespeare on stage, he took a lot of cues from influences like Letterman, Carlin and Kaufman. Paul talks with Marc about those early days and the big days that were to come after Wet Hot American Summer, the Judd Apatow movies, and now Marvel's Ant Man and the Wasp. This episode is sponsored by th...


Episode 928 - Eleanor Kerrigan
Comedian Eleanor Kerrigan knows a lot about The Comedy Store. Not only did she become the club's head waitress, she also became a confidant and sometime-assistant to the owner, Mitzi Shore. After a stint as a professional wrestler and an opener for Andrew Dice Clay, Eleanor finally found herself on stage at The Store and she hasn't left since. She tells Marc what it was like to get to know Mitzi, why she can't escape her South Philly roots, and how she's trying to pass along the history of The Store to new ...

Episode 927 - Lil Rel Howery
Lil Rel Howery burst into the mainstream as a hero. Playing the character who saves the day in Get Out, Lil Rel can see how that role changed everything for him, as he's now the lead in the new movie Uncle Drew and he's putting his life on TV with his own show. He also talks with Marc about learning empathy and compassion from his mom and how those lessons helped him with his comedy. It also helped him see another side of a person who Lil Rey believes is struggling with grief: Kanye West. This episode is sp...

Episode 926 - Dave Itzkoff / Robin Williams from 2010
New York Times culture reporter Dave Itzkoff came into Robin Williams's life right around the same time Marc talked to Robin for WTF. Dave and Marc share notes on what they learned about this one-of-a-kind comedic performer, how his death affected the world, and what Dave was able to glean from working with Robin to write his biography. Then, after their conversation, hear the full interview Marc conducted with Robin back in 2010. This episode is sponsored by Amy Schumer Presents: 3 Girls, 1 Keith, Hearts B...


Episode 925 - Billy Bob Thornton
Billy Bob Thornton sees himself in a certain way and feels as though the world sees him differently. That's why he feels uncomfortable at parties, uneasy about being a celebrity, and most relaxed when he can retreat into a new role. With Marc's help, Billy Bob tracks a lot of his anxiety back to his childhood in Arkansas, his pursuit of a life as a rock musician, and his stumble into a long and prosperous career in Hollywood. They also talk about Robert Duvall, Richie Havens, Sling Blade, and the new season...

Episode 924 - Holly Hunter / Amber Tamblyn
Holly Hunter left the family farm in Georgia to become an actor. She talks with Marc about her early days in New York, catching the attention of the Coen Brothers as they were on the verge of making their first film, and everything that followed, including her foray into voice acting with The Incredibles and its new sequel. Also, Amber Tamblyn returns to talk about being a new mom, fighting for gender equality, and how it all relates to her new novel Any Man. This episode is sponsored by Outside the Box, Go...

Episode 923 - Bob Balaban
Bob Balaban was born into show business and he didn't even know it until he was 10. The ubiquitous actor tells Marc how his immigrant family came to Chicago at the turn of the century and broke into the movie business, eventually winding up in charge of Paramount Studios. Bob also talks with Marc about Charlie Brown, Midnight Cowboy, Altered States, Christopher Guest, Francois Truffaut, and his many roles in film, stage and TV, including his new show Condor. This episode is sponsored by the new film Hearts ...


Anthony Bourdain from 2011
From Episode 233, this is Marc's conversation with Anthony Bourdain, conducted in 2011. Anthony died on June 8, 2018, at age 61....

Episode 922 - Vanessa Hollingshead
Vanessa Hollingshead can honestly say that a cruise ship saved her life. She tells Marc what led to a comedy career in the first place after a childhood spent in communes, foster homes, and around lots of grown-ups on acid and other psychedelic drugs. Vanessa got a hot start in comedy and her big break was right in front of her, and then it all went away, followed by a crushing personal tragedy. And if it wasn't for that cruise ship, she might not be here telling this story. This episode is sponsored by Squ...

Episode 921 - David Harbour
David Harbour became pretty cynical about the acting profession before landing the star-making role of Jim Hopper on Stranger Things. But he and Marc are in agreement that it was probably better for David to hit it big after four decades of dealing with anxiety, self-hatred, mania, fear, sobriety, and the difficult project of building one's identity. David and Marc also talk about Hellboy, the elves on the edges of reality, and the one character trait of Hopper's that David likes the most. This episode is s...


Episode 920 - Rachel Brosnahan
Rachel Brosnahan related to the pressures and insecurities of standup comics when she got the lead role of a 1950s standup in The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. That's because she feels constant dread as an actor, going from project to project, always worried it's not going to go well. Rachel compares notes with Marc about being a standup vs. being an actor, learning the craft in school vs. learning on the job, and why working on episodic television may be the best training for actors. This episode is sponsored by ...

Episode 919 - Tom Papa
Tom Papa got the comedy bug early in life but his unconventional path went from football to live theater to standup. Once Tom started writing jokes while working as a security guard, there was no turning back. Tom talks with Marc about the competitive '90s comedy scene, his close friendship with the late Greg Giraldo, his public failure with The Marriage Ref, his new gig on public radio, and the two people who took a chance on him and helped shape his life and career: Jerry Seinfeld and Steven Soderbergh. T...

Episode 914 - Melissa McCarthy
Before comedy and acting were ever on Melissa McCarthy's radar, she was like a lot midwestern teens trying to find herself. She tells Marc how her cheerleading years were followed by a partially-shaved head and goth makeup. The search for an identity led to acting, which led to New York, which led to LA, which led to an all-star class at the Groundlings. They also talk about how she met her husband, how she got cast on Gilmore Girls, how Bridesmaids came to be, why she played Sean Spicer on SNL, and what we...


Remembering Barry Crimmins
Comedian and activist Barry Crimmins passed away on February 28, 2018 at age 64. Here are Marc's conversations with Barry on WTF. First, from Episode 443, a one-on-one talk with Barry in June 2013. Then, from Episode 626, a talk with Barry and Bobcat Goldthwait in August 2015 upon the release of Call Me Lucky, Bob's documentary about Barry....

Episode 893 - Jennifer Lawrence
Jennifer Lawrence takes a break from being one of the biggest movie stars in the world to stop by the garage and talk with Marc about Kentucky, cats vs. dogs, older brothers, Winter's Bone, The Hunger Games, David O. Russell, Darren Aronofsky, Amy Schumer, learning a Russian accent for Red Sparrow, and living a relatively private life for someone with a very public profile. Jennifer and Marc also compare their respective symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder. Spoiler: There's a lot of overlap. This episo...

Episode 877 - Marc's Family
Ring in the New Year with the Maron Family. Marc takes a trip back to some of the earliest episodes of WTF to hear classic interactions with his father, mother, and brother, all of whom help explain how and why Marc got to where he's at now. From his dad's wild ideas for Marc's career to his mom's cautious relationship advice to his brother's concern over getting in too deep with their parents, Marc has no shortage material to take to his next therapy visit....


Episode 852 - Waiting for the Punch
Marc presents a special audio version of the first chapter of Waiting for the Punch: Words to Live by from the WTF Podcast. This chapter features thirty WTF guests talking with Marc about growing up. Hear from Conan O'Brien, Sir Ian McKellen, Kevin Hart, Mel Brooks, RuPaul Charles, Jim Gaffigan, John Oliver, Maria Bamford, Paul Scheer, Norm Macdonald, Molly Shannon, John Darnielle, Ahmed Ahmed, Dave Attell, Russell Peters, Joe Mande, Ron Funches, Allie Brosh, Gillian Jacobs, The Amazing Johnathan, Jon Glase...

Episode 771 - Sammy Shore
Marc makes a pilgrimage to Las Vegas for a sit-down with Sammy Shore, a comic with a long show business life that doesn't quite have the ending he planned on. Sammy tells Marc about starting his career as Shecky Greene's partner, becoming the opening act for Elvis, starting The Comedy Store, and how each of these successful points of his career seemed to fall apart every time. This episode is sponsored by Sonos and Casper....

Episode 614 - The President Was Here
From the minute the Presidential motorcade pulled away, Marc began recording his reaction to the momentous event that just occurred in his garage. Hear Marc's ongoing reflections in the aftermath as well as a discussion with WTF producer Brendan McDonald about how this happened in the first place. This episode is sponsored by Stamps.com, Squarespace, Comedy Central, and Vegas.com. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information....


Episode 613 - President Barack Obama
Marc welcomes the 44th President of the United States of America, Barack Obama, to the garage for conversation about college, fitting in, race relations, gun violence, changing the status quo, disappointing your fans, comedians, fatherhood and overcoming fear. And yes, this really happened. This episode is presented without commercial interruption courtesy of Squarespace. Go to MarcMeetsObama.com to see behind-the-scenes photos and captions. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information....

Episode 579 - Nick Tosches
Author and journalist Nick Tosches is often called one of America's greatest living writers. Marc considers him to be an indispensible tour guide through the darkness in life. Nick talks with Marc about his work, including his influential biographies of Dean Martin, Jerry Lee Lewis and Sonny Liston, but more importantly, Marc gets Nick's unvarnished take on the way we live now. This episode is sponsored by NatureBox and Stamps.com....

Episode 153 - Paul Krassner
Marc travels into the California desert to meet Paul Krassner, who represents about a half century of counter-culture comedy. Paul talks about his writing in The Realist magazine and his work with Lenny Bruce, giving context to the tumult (and humor) of the 1960s. And, as an added bonus, Paul recounts the time he acid-tripped with Groucho Marx....