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.
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 ...more
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 amusemen...more
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 Chris...more
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 Carl...more
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.
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...more
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 fi...more
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 ...more
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 min...more
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 b...more
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 an...more
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 comed...more
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 performanc...more
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 Hon...more
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 ...more
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 ...more
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 spon...more
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.
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.
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...more
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 s...more
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 celebrat...more
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...more
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 despera...more
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 sit...more
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 SimpliSaf...more
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 lin...more
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 ep...more
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...more
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 s...more
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.
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.
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 w...more
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.
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 ...more
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 forgiv...more
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...more
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 wi...more
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 ...more
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 al...more
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 hi...more
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 expa...more
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 Ch...more
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 wel...more
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 li...more
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 ...more
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 ...more
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...more
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 ...more
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 ...more
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...more
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 o...more
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 Americ...more
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 Bri...more
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. ...more
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 Wo...more
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.
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 Brother...more
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 ex...more
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.