Comedian Marc Maron is tackling the most complex philosophical question of our day – WTF? He’ll get to the bottom of it with help from comedian friends, celebrity guests and the voices in his own head.
Here's the Latest Episode from WTF with Marc Maron Podcast:
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 opposed to the inherently funny ones, which explains the tone and humor of a lot of his videos. This episode is sponsored by Mark Manson's new book Everything is F*@!ed: A Book About Hope, Turo, Allbirds, and Starbucks Tripleshot Energy.
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 movies. Plus, Anjelica explains why she loves being part of the John Wick franchise. This episode is sponsored by Turo and Hair Club.
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 learned from Marc when she worked with him and Maya details the process that led to the casting of her real mom as her TV mom. This episode is sponsored by ZipRecruiter and SiriusXM.
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 a true psychopath in The Intruder, and getting into the podcast game with Bob Dylan. This episode is sponsored by SimpliSafe and Stamps.com.
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 relationship with Martin Scorsese and provides some details about Marty’s upcoming movie, The Irishman. This episode is sponsored by Squarespace and Capterra.
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 reason she started making workout videos, what current issues she believes need our urgent attention, and why she feels like she has a real handle on acting for the first time in her life as part of Grace and Frankie. This episode is sponsored by Ramy on Hulu, SiriusXM, and Leesa.
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-spoiler fashion, on being in the Joker movie. This episode is sponsored by Ramy on Hulu, JustCoffee.coop, and SiriusXM.
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 the biggest challenge of adult life. They also discuss her new Netflix special, The Call to Courage. This episode is sponsored by Ramy on Hulu and Capterra.
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 by because he was in the neighborhood. This episode is sponsored by Squarespace and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
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 Joan and why she made the creators of her new show, Good Girls, make a promise to her when she took the gig. This episode is sponsored by Yousician, Ramy on Hulu, and Stamps.com.
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 the late Gord Downie of The Tragically Hip, his career behind the camera, and his new role producing and directing a sketch comedy troupe called Tallboyz. This episode is sponsored by Leesa.
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 of an actor is servicing the story, and what went into creating and directing a full-on Western movie, The Kid. This episode is sponsored by Missing Link from Annapurna Pictures, OpenFit, and Capterra.
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 also explains why he’s taking a break from production to release his first album in 11 years. This episode is sponsored by ZipRecruiter.
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 explains what it’s like to put his own twist on historical characters, like Winston Churchill, Roger Ailes, and now Bill Clinton in the Broadway play Hillary and Clinton. This episode is sponsored by Squarespace and SimpliSafe.
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 notes on interviewing the Obamas. This episode is sponsored by the Broad City series finale on Comedy Central.
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, including his early Brat Pack movies, his turn to comedic roles, and his three recurring nightmares, one of which came true. This episode is sponsored by Tacoma FD on TruTV, Stamps.com, Stay Free: The Story of The Clash on Spotify, and Happy on SyFy.
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 Hancock, Prince, and Mick Jagger, and why she often didn’t know who these famous people were as they introduced themselves to her. This episode is sponsored by What We Do in the Shadows on FX, Squarespace, and Stay Free: The Story of the Clash on Spotify.
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 the perfect driver for a faux-homemaking show like At Home with Amy Sedaris. This episode is sponsored by Comedy Central, Hulu, Capterra and Aspiration.
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 letting things like weight and body image dominate her life. This episode is sponsored by Stay Free: The Story of The Clash on Spotify.
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 with a profound understanding of each other. This episode is sponsored by Aspiration and Stamps.com.
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.
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. And yes, he and Marc talk about THAT scene in Boogie Nights. This episode is sponsored by SimpliSafe and Aspiration.
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. Yes, Tito Jackson. Somewhere along the way, Gary made the shift from doing covers of the blues to tapping into it on his own. This episode is sponsored by Vice Live, Squarespace, and Care/of.
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 real life, and why she wants to feed eggs to her co-star Jason Mantzoukas. This episode is sponsored by Aspiration, Stamps.com and ZipRecruiter.
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 New York, how he transitioned into TV and movies without compromising his vision, and what happened when the darkness of his early life came back. This episode is sponsored by Hulu and Capterra.
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 to making music. This episode is sponsored by Stamps.com and 23andMe.
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 Simpsons Universe when he welcomes Krusty the Clown to the garage. For real. This episode is sponsored by Squarespace and Aspiration.
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 Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is truly global. This episode is sponsored by SimpliSafe and Butcher Box.
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 Dogtooth, and his satisfaction that there are no easy answers. This episode is sponsored by Stamps.com and Carnival Cruise Line.
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, “You’ve got that pain in your voice.” Anderson also explains what the dot in his name represents. This episode is sponsored by Aspiration, SimpliSafe, and the New York Times Crossword App.
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 real story of how Hustler got Congressman Bob Livingston to resign. This episode is sponsored by This Is Not Happening on Comedy Central, the New York Times Crossword App, and 23andMe.com.
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 the grueling shooting days on The West Wing, why her Oscar win was such a relief, and how a personal tragedy was part of the reason she did the show Mom. This episode is sponsored by TurboTax Live, the New York Times Crossword App, and Stamps.com.
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 Williams, and being on game shows to boost his profile. And yes, of course he still loves Raymond. This episode is sponsored by Broad City and The Other Two on Comedy Central, the New York Times Crossword App, and ZipRecruiter.
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 writing high landed him in rehab. Plus, stories about the making of The West Wing, The Social Network and more. This episode is sponsored by Squarespace and SimpliSafe.
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 and why she avoids a lot of trappings of celebrity. This episode is sponsored by Black Monday on Showtime, Deadly Class on SYFY, and Stamps.com.
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 his impulsive behavior, and why he remembers the first time he ever laughed. This episode is sponsored by I'm Sorry on truTV, TurboTax Live, Deadly Class on SYFY, and the New York Times Crossword App.
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 “moving sideways,” how his life has been enriched by teaching, and why it took him a while to write his latest novel Hark. This episode is sponsored by Comedy Central, Squarespace, Stamps.com, and Deadly Class on SYFY.
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 how he became friends with his co-star John C. Reilly much the same way the real Stan and Ollie did. This episode is sponsored by Tigtone on Adult Swim, SimpliSafe and the New York Times Crossword App.
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, the evolution of offensive comedy, and the influence of The Far Side. This episode is sponsored by Standup Month on Comedy Central and Deadly Class on SYFY.
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 routes ending with a film that asks difficult questions and doesn't provide easy answers. This episode is sponsored by TurboTax Live and the New York Times Crossword App.
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 and then being in the middle of a joke-stealing controversy while writing for Amy Schumer. This episode is sponsored by the New York Times Crossword App.
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 difficulty of playing a person for whom you have no empathy, as was the case with David Duke in BlacKkKlansman. This episode is sponsored by Stand-Up Month on Comedy Central, Squarespace, SimpliSafe, and Carnival Cruise Line.
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, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and YouTube Music.
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 style of their early years. This episode is sponsored by Springsteen On Broadway: The Complete Live Performance Album, Holmes & Watson, Stamps.com, and Squarespace.
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 about herself making Secretary, and what kind of support system she shares with her brother Jake. This episode is sponsored by Omaha Steaks, YouTube Music, 23andMe, and the New York Times Crossword Puzzle App.
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 Eastwood, Jack Nicholson, and Debra Winger. This episode is sponsored by Spotify, Holmes & Watson, SimpliSafe, and quip.
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 necessary to do material at the Comedy Cellar that was critical of Louis CK’s return to the Comedy Cellar. This episode is sponsored by Funny or Die's No Activity on CBS All Access, Omaha Steaks, Molekule, and YouTube Music.
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 about the Coen Brothers, too, particularly their new movie with Tim, The Ballad of Buster Scruggs. This episode is sponsored by The Shivering Truth on Adult Swim, Spotify, SimpliSafe, and Stamps.com.
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, Nightflyers on SYFY, YouTube Music, Quip, and the New York Times Crossword App.
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, and how he wound up acting in everything from Roseanne to Sabrina the Teenage Witch to his new show The Cool Kids. This episode is sponsored by Nightflyers on SYFY, The New Yorker, and ZipRecruiter.
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 is sponsored by Squarespace, Headlong: Surviving Y2K, and SimpliSafe.
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 Podcast, Starbucks Doubleshot, and Fahrenheit 11/9.
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, Egypt Station. This episode is sponsored by Squarespace, The Daily Show with Trevor Noah: Ears Edition, and Casper.
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 as they both made it big. And then there's the whole Conan thing. Marc and Jay deal with all of it, and then some. This episode is sponsored by The Happytime Murders, Sennheiser CX Sport Headphones, ZipRecruiter, and Stamps.com.
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 the film Sorry To Bother You and SimpliSafe.
From Episode 233, this is Marc's conversation with Anthony Bourdain, conducted in 2011. Anthony died on June 8, 2018, at age 61.
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 Glaser, Amy Schumer, Wyatt Cenac, Aimee Mann, Tom Arnold, Bruce Springsteen, Leslie Jones, Terry Gross, Dan Harmon, and President Barack Obama.
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.
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.
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.