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 style of their early years. This episode is sponsored by Springsteen On Broadway: The Complete Live Performance Album, Holmes & Watson, Stamps.com, and Squarespace.

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 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.

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 Eastwood, Jack Nicholson, and Debra Winger. This episode is sponsored by Spotify, Holmes & Watson, SimpliSafe, and quip.

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 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.

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 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.

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, Nightflyers on SYFY, YouTube Music, Quip, and the New York Times Crossword App.

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, 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.

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 is sponsored by Squarespace, Headlong: Surviving Y2K, and SimpliSafe.

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 episode is sponsored by Loop Jewelry, Screen Dive from 20th Century Fox, YouTube Music, and Stamps.com.

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," and why he was draw to making a serialized comedy like The Kominsky Method with Alan Arkin. This episode is sponsored by Screen Dive from 20th Century Fox, YouTube Music, 23andMe.

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 TV and radio shows, and Kanye. This episode is sponsored by Amy Schumer Presents: 3 Girls, 1 Keith on Spotify, Loop Jewelry, SimpliSafe, and Quip.

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 Presley. This episode is sponsored by Squarespace and 23andMe.

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 regularly in Las Vegas. This episode is sponsored by The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, YouTube Music, Stamps.com, and ZipRecruiter.

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, and maintaining his close relationship with Pete after all these years. This episode is sponsored by Screen Dive from 20th Century Fox, The New Yorker, and ZipRecruiter.

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 film Wildlife. This episode is sponsored by Screen Dive from 20th Century Fox, SimpliSafe, and Amazon Music.

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 by YouTube Music and Quip.

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 episode is sponsored by Amy Schumer Presents: 3 Girls, 1 Keith on Spotify and Stamps.com.

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 a religion. This episode is sponsored by Squarespace and YouTube Music.