Present Company

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Emmy-winning actress Sarah Paulson joins the show to discuss her riveting new drama series “Ratched,” created by Ryan Murphy, her long-time champion, and Ian Brennan. As the show’s lead, Paulson steps into the shoes of one of the most notorious female villains of the modern age: Nurse Ratched of the novel and then the film, “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.In this interview, Paulson talks about the trepidation she had in taking on such an iconic role, and she discusses the evolution of her relationship with Ryan Murphy. She reflects on the journey of the career, from her early struggles when she first moved to Los Angeles, to taking on the life-changing role of Marcia Clark in “The People vs. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story,” and stepping up as an Executive Producer on “Ratched.” She also shares her advice for young actors, and talks about her legendary fashion game.
Tom Pelphrey joins the show to talk about his much-discussed performance as Ben, brother to Laura Linney’s Wendy Byrde, on season three of “Ozark.” Pelphrey devoted himself to the task of playing a man living with bipolar disorder, working to ensure the condition was portrayed with both accuracy and thoughtfulness. Born and raised in New Jersey, the Rutgers graduate got his break on the soap opera “Guiding Light,” for which he won two Daytime Emmys, and since then he has worked across film, theater and television. But 2020 is proving a remarkable year, not only on account of the acclaim he’s received for “Ozark,” but also because this fall he’ll be seen in director David Fincher’s “Mank,” which stars Gary Oldman. In this interview, Pelphey talks about the “invisible magic” of the Ozark set and what it was like being the new kid joining the show. He also shares what he learned working in soap operas, his experience working with David Fincher, and his profound advice for young actors.
Shira Haas joins the show to discuss her astonishing performance in “Unorthodox,” the Netflix original limited series about a young woman from the Hasidic community in Williamsburg, Brooklyn who breaks out of her arranged marriage and travels to Berlin to find herself. Directed by Maria Schrader, created by Anna Winger and Alexa Karolinski, and inspired by Deborah Feldman's bestseller of the same name, “Unorthodox” has captured the imagination of viewers around the world. At 25 years old, Haas is a well-established actress back home in Israel, where she landed her first lead film role at just 16. In the course of her young career, she has already received four nominations for the Israeli Academy Awards, winning Best Supporting Actress for the film “Noble Savage.” Her work in international film began with her performance in Natalie Portman’s directorial debut “A Tale of Love and Darkness” and “The Zookeeper’s Wife,” directed by Niki Caro. In this interview, Haas talks about how she got her start, how she approaches her work, and her preparation for “Unorthodox,” which included learning Yiddish. She also talks about how she’s navigated the ups and downs of the acting life, how she decompresses between roles, and why she particularly loves the challenge of conveying emotion in scenes with less dialogue.
Over the course of three decades, Laura Linney’s body of work has spanned the worlds of theater, film, and television, resulting in a long list of accolades, including Tony, Oscar, and Emmy nominations, as well four Emmy wins. Her vast range of choices means fans might cite any number of projects when they approach her — some are Broadway aficionados who loved her performance in “The Little Foxes” or “My Name Is Lucy Barton,” others cite “You Can Count on Me” or “The Savages,” or they might reference series like “John Adams” or “The Big C.” And then there are the legions of “Ozark” fans.  In this episode, Linney discusses the latest season of “Ozark,” and the evolution of her character Wendy from soccer mom to “Wolf Bitch.” She also reflects on the arc of her career, the choices that have served her well, and the spirit that she brings to her work. And she discusses growing up in New York, working with the late Philip Seymour Hoffman, as well as the enduring charm of “Love Actually.”This interview was recorded on Thursday, May 7
In the decade that “Friends” was on the air, from 1994-2004, Lisa Kudrow experienced the heights of fame and success that come with starring in a smash-hit show with legions of fans worldwide. But Kudrow’s boundless curiosity and creative instincts have led her far beyond the world of the show, to writing and producing, and starring in independent films. In the course of her career, she has created a gallery of complex, original, captivating women, from Phoebe Buffay in “Friends” to Valerie Cherish in “The Comeback,” Fiona Wallice in “Web Therapy,” and Lucia DeLury in “The Opposite of Sex.”Kudrow joins the show to discuss “Space Force,” the new Netflix comedy series co-created by Steve Carell (who also stars) and Greg Daniels, about a four-star general being tapped to form a sixth branch of the US Armed Forces. Kudrow also discusses what it was like to be an actress in the nineties, why she’s never precious about her writing, handling setbacks, and her relationship to success. 
Kumail Nanjiani joins the show fresh off the success of his new hit movie “The Lovebirds,” the romantic comedy in which he stars opposite Issa Rae.It’s been a remarkable decade for the actor, comedian, screenwriter and podcaster. He’s appeared on some of the most beloved cult comedy shows in recent memory, from “Portlandia” to “Inside Amy Schumer,” “Community” and “Key & Peele,” and he starred in the hit show “Silicon Valley.” He became an Oscar nominee, alongside his wife Emily V. Gordon, for “The Big Sick,” the critically acclaimed film based on their personal story. And he received an Emmy nomination for his performance on Jordan Peele’s reboot of “The Twilight Zone.” In this conversation, Nanjiani reflects on the pivotal moments in his career, what it was like starting his stand-up career right before September 11th, his advice on handling failure, and the importance of having trust with your directors. He also talks about working with Issa Rae, getting obsessive over his workout regimen, and how his relationship with social media has changed.
David Letterman joins the show and reflects back on his early career and explains why he thinks the high time for the art of comedy is now. He discusses family and fatherhood, the cost of success, and how he dealt with his depression. He also talks about “My Next Guest Needs No Introduction,” his Netflix series for which he has interviewed everyone from Jay Z to Howard Stern. And he shares a surprising obsession, who he’d love to do a Freaky Friday life swap with, and his thoughts on whether comedians can ever really be friends. 
As an actor, writer, and Emmy-winning comedian, Patton Oswalt has created a vast body of work, from his stand-up specials and best-selling books, to his work in television and film, including acclaimed performances in movies as varied as “Young Adult” and “Ratatouille.” In this episode, Oswalt talks about his new stand-up special “Patton Oswalt: I Love Everything.”  He also reflects on his childhood, the early days of his career, and the moment that first felt like success. He discusses how dealing with professional set-backs gets easier as you get older, the importance of sustaining the impulse to create new things, and why he’s drawn to producing and directing. Plus, the cinephile shares the films he’s re-watching while he’s sheltering in place. 
It took Jon Hamm ten years of hard work in Hollywood before he got “Mad Men” and made not only his character Don Draper but also himself a household name. Since then, he’s shifted effortlessly between drama, with films like “Beirut” and “The Report,” and comedy, guest-starring in shows like “30 Rock” and “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt,” and hosting SNL three times.In this interview, he shares how he discovered his love of acting as a child, how he felt when he first arrived in Los Angeles, and the advice he has for others trying to make it. He talks about working with Tina Fey, how he’s always been rewarded by his enthusiasm, and he reveals the one item he kept from the “Mad Men” set.Hamm also discusses the new interactive special, “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt: Kimmy vs The Reverend,” in which he reprises his role as Reverend Richard Wayne Gary Wayne. Plus, the life long sports fan talks about how he’s keeping himself occupied white sheltering in place at home.
Rashida Jones joins the show to discuss her new comedy series #blackAF from Kenya Barris, the creator of "Black-ish” and "grown-ish." In this series, based upon his life, Kenya and Rashida play a husband and wife with 6 children, navigating relationships, race, and culture, as well as newfound success. As an actress, writer, producer, and director, Jones' career has run the gamut, from roles in television smash hits like “Parks & Recreation” and “The Office,” to feature films like “Social Network," "I Love You, Man,” and "Celeste and Jesse Forever,” to the world of animation. She’s also found success in documentaries, exploring the world of pornography in “Hot Girls Wanted,” and co-writing and co-directing “Quincy,” about her father, the music legend Quincy Jones.
From his critically acclaimed sketch series “Kroll Show” to his many roles in film and television, his Broadway show "Oh, Hello," and his stand-up, Nick Kroll has long-established himself as one of the keenest comedic observers of our times.In this episode, the comedian, writer, actor, and producer, discusses “Big Mouth,” the Emmy-nominated hit adult-animated series which he co-created, writes and produces, in addition to performing over thirty voices. And he talks about the upcoming new spinoff series “Human Resources.”  Kroll takes us back to the early days of his career. He explains why the prospect of having regrets was always scarier than being rejected. He talks about the ways in which the comedy world has changed and how technology has democratized the playing field. He discusses how you can feel like you’re failing even amid great success, and how part of being successful is being hard on yourself. He also shares his goals for 2020, which includes embracing the wisdom of Brené Brown and striving to be more vulnerable."Big Mouth" and "Oh, Hello on Broadway" are streaming now on Netflix.
The story of the fashion house Rodarte began with two cinephile sisters, Kate and Laura Mulleavy, living in a sleepy California suburb, waitressing and selling their record collection to finance their dream of becoming fashion designers. What followed is an extraordinary, shot-out-of-a-cannon success story. The sisters would go on to be anointed by the Editor in Chief of Vogue, win a CFDA award, see their work exhibited in museums, create costumes for the opera and for Natalie Portman for the film  “Black Swan,” and develop a loyal following in Hollywood which led to stunning red carpet moments at the Oscars, Cannes, and the Met Gala. Kate and Laura reflect back on the story of their rapid rise, the importance of independence, and the difficulties female designers contend with in a male-dominated industry. They also discuss how film has been an essential source of inspiration and why their work with actresses is so rewarding, even as they pull back the curtain on what it’s like to create an Oscar dress and the heartache that is sometimes part of the process. And they reveal how Coach Monica, of the Netflix show “Cheer,” and her problem-solving savvy inspired their own trouble-shooting when it came to their most recent show. 
In today’s episode, Coach Monica Aldama joins the show to discuss "Cheer," the Netflix documentary series that everyone’s talking about, from Ellen Degeneres to A-listers at the Oscars and SNL. With her fierce competitive spirit, laser-like focus, and no-nonsense style, Coach Monica has captured the imagination of the show’s legions of fans who have followed along as the Navarro College cheer squad navigates the highs and lows of working to win a coveted national title.Aldama talks about the impact of the show back home in Corsicana, Texas; why she thinks listening and empathy are the keys to effective leadership; and what her alumni most appreciate when they reflect back on the experience of the program. She also talks about her mentor, her alter-ego Annette, her guilty pleasures, and what it’s like to have fans of the show obsessing over everything from her coasters to her boots and her Apple watch. 
In this episode, two-time Academy Award nominee Scarlett Johansson joins the show to talk about her new film “Marriage Story,” from Academy Award nominated filmmaker Noah Baumbach. It’s an incisive and compassionate look at a marriage breaking up and a family staying together, in which Johansson stars opposite Adam Driver, and alongside Laura Dern, Alan Alda, and Ray Liotta. Following breakout performances in Robert Redford’s “The Horse Whisperer” and the acclaimed independent film “Ghost World,” Johansson delivered a career-making performance in Sofia Coppola’s “Lost in Translation.” Since then, the superstar actress has achieved extraordinary success, shifting effortlessly between working with auteurs in independent film and starring in Hollywood blockbusters that amass billions in box office.  With her fearless appetite for challenging roles and seemingly inexhaustible work ethic, Johansson delivered not one but two Oscar-nominated performances in 2019 in “Jojo Rabbit” and “Marriage Story.” In this conversation, Johansson talks about acting without embarrassment, loving her work more than ever, and serving as both a producer and star of “Black Widow.”
By the time she was 29, Whitney Cummings had not one but two network television shows on air: “Whitney,” and “2 Broke Girls,” which she co-created with Michael Patrick King. In this episode, the writer, director, producer, actress, stand-up comedian, published author, and podcaster (check out her show “Good for You”), discusses how she handled that early success and how she dealt with the headwinds that came with it. Cummings also talks about the evolution of her Netflix stand-up special, “Can I Touch It?,” how comedians are having to step up to make their work memorable, how Jordan Peele’s “Us” changed comedy, the impact of PC culture, and why social media is less influential than we think. She also discusses her love of animals, her need for nature, why it’s no longer possible to be an enigma, her complex relationship with money, and the changes she’s seen in post #metoo Hollywood.
Gillian Anderson joins the show to discuss the second season of the heartfelt and hilariously awkward “Sex Education,” in which Anderson plays Jean Milburn, sex therapist and mom to the show’s young lead Otis, played by Asa Butterfield.Anderson of course occupies an iconic place in the pop culture galaxy, thanks to her portrayal of Agent Dana Scully in “The X-Files,” a role that would pave the way for a new kind of female character on television.Now, Anderson is based in London, and her career choices have taken her from the stage, to film, and television.In this episode, Anderson talks about challenging gender disparity, how motherhood helped her keep her “X-Files” success in perspective, her thoughts on the impact of social media, and how she prepared to step into the shoes of Margaret Thatcher for the fourth season of “The Crown.”
RuPaul and Michael Patrick King join the show to discuss their new show “AJ & The Queen,” a heartfelt, gritty comedy in which Ru stars as Robert Lee, better known as the drag queen Ruby Red, who — when faced with a broken heart and a stolen dream — meets a streetwise 10-year-old and assumes the role of de facto parent.RuPaul’s career achievements are, of course, both legion and legend, and include “The RuPaul Show,” “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” and RuPaul’s DragCon. Michael Patrick King's vast body of work includes the juggernaut that was “Sex and the City,” as well as “The Comeback,” “2 Broke Girls,” “Will & Grace,” “Cybill,” and “Murphy Brown.”Between them, they have made an indelible mark on modern popular culture, influencing everything from how we talk to how we dress, how we think about our identities, our careers, and our relationships.In this episode, the duo discuss the power in their creative partnership, their early struggles, their secret obsessions, and how social media has influenced how we watch and engage with shows.
Adam Driver joins the show to discuss his new film “Marriage Story,” from Academy Award nominated filmmaker Noah Baumbach, in which Driver plays Charlie, a husband and father navigating his marriage breaking up while trying to keep his family together. Starring opposite Scarlett Johansson, and alongside Laura Dern, Alan Alda, and Ray Liotta, Driver delivers a stunning performance in a film that’s both incisive and compassionate.In the past decade, Driver has become that rare movie star that can shift between leading man and character actor roles, as well as command a Broadway stage. He came to our attention with HBO’s “Girls,” and since then has worked in quick succession with directors including Jim Jarmusch, Spike Lee, Martin Scorsese, and Steven Spielberg, and, in the middle of all that, he stepped into the global phenomenon that is “Star Wars.” In this conversation, Driver talks about shooting “Marriage Story,” the benefit of working with friends, how problem-solving on set is his favorite part of the filmmaking process, and why he views acting as a service industry. He also talks about Arts in the Armed Forces, his foundation which brings the theater to a military audience. And, yes, he discusses Kylo Ren and working on “Star Wars.”
America fell in love with Alan Alda as Hawkeye Pierce in the legendary show M*A*S*H, for which he received a staggering 25 Emmy nominations, winning 5 times. He’s also a three-time Tony award nominee, a best supporting Oscar nominee for Martin Scorsese’s “The Aviator,” and he has six Golden Globes to his name.But beyond his work in entertainment, Alda has devoted himself to innumerable avenues, including the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science, writing his memoirs, and creating his own podcast “Clear + Vivid."In this episode, he talks about his new film “Marriage Story,” from Academy Award nominated filmmaker Noah Baumbach; his boundless curiosity; his experience living and working with Parkinson’s disease; and the advice he has to give this generation.
Jenny Slate joins the show to discuss her Netflix special “Stage Fright” -- which combines her stand-up with personal clips of her childhood and interviews with her family in an intimate look at her life -- and her New York Times bestseller, “Little Weirds." It’s been a significant year for the writer, actress, and comedian, who recently became engaged and is now enjoying a bi-coastal existence, splitting her time between Los Angeles and her bucolic home on the South Coast of Massachusetts. Slate first came up in the alternative comedy world, before landing on SNL, and in the decade that followed, she co-created the beloved “Marcel the Shell” series, appeared in numerous films, including “Obvious Child” and “Gifted,” as well as TV shows like “Parks and Recreation” and Nick Kroll’s “The Kroll Show.” With her frank and fearless style, instantly recognizable voice, and infectious humor, Slate has forged her own unique path in Hollywood as a true original.In this conversation, we talk about her fiancé and family, her writing process, why she’s grateful that her time on SNL was short-lived, how her relationship to the business has evolved, as well as everything from psychics to PMS.
Academy Award nominated filmmaker Noah Baumbach joins the show to discuss his new film, the critically acclaimed “Marriage Story.” Starring Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson, and co-starring Laura Dern, Alan Alda, and Ray Liotta, Baumbach’s film about a marriage breaking up and a family staying together is filled with honesty, humor, and compassion.Baumbach, now 50, began his writing and directing career in his twenties with the comedy “Kicking and Screaming,” and his films since then have included “The Squid & The Whale,” “Margot at the Wedding,” “Greenberg” and “Frances Ha.” With unflinching honesty, his films explore our best and worst instincts, our fears, flaws, and triumphs.In this conversation, Baumbach discusses the journey of the film, how personal stories have shaped his body of work; the group of creative peers he trusts and relies upon; and the fact that he doesn’t appreciate lunch.
With his flawless comedic timing and instinct for capturing the frustrations of the everyman, Paul Rudd has carved a singular path in Hollywood, making audiences love him, root for him, and cringe for him in hits like “Clueless,” “Anchorman,” “Knocked Up,” and “I Love You, Man.” In addition to his comedy stardom, Rudd is now a bona fide action hero, having stepped into the Marvel universe in his forties as Ant-Man.In this episode, Rudd discusses the arc of his career, and he talks about his new show “Living with Yourself,” created by Timothy Greenberg and directed by Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris. Rudd does double-duty on the show, playing both the character of Miles, a burned-out and dejected figure, and the new and improved clone of Miles, who appears following a strange procedure at a strip mall spa.Rudd also discusses his love of sports, his secret Irish bar, his go-to karaoke songs, and he shares how his son attempted his own “Hot Ones” challenge after Rudd’s triumphant appearance on the hit YouTube show.
In this special episode, Oscar-winner Sir Anthony Hopkins joins the show (he prefers to be addressed as Tony), to discuss his new film “The Two Popes,” from Academy Award-nominated director Fernando Meirelles. Inspired by true events, the film is a fascinating tale of an unprecedented transfer of power in the Catholic Church. It follows the imagined conversations between two very different men about the role of the Church in a changing world — one a traditionalist (Hopkins as Pope Benedict), and the other a progressive (Jonathan Pryce as Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, later Pope Francis). With unexpected humor, sweeping vision, and extraordinary performances, the film is a revealing look at two of the most well-known men in the world.Hopkins, of course, is a legend, but at 81 years-old he wears the mantle of success lightly, eschewing the trappings of fame and retaining a great humility about all that he has achieved. In this interview, Hopkins goes back to the beginning of the story, from his life as a young man in Wales, to his work on the stage, and “The Silence of the Lambs” phenomenon. He also talks about the moment he won that Oscar, his feelings about faith, his rigorous approach to his work, and his experience with actors like Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise. And he discusses his impressive Instagram game, his art, his music, and his sense that his life’s success is “all a dream.”
During the course of her career, Laura Dern, the daughter of actors Diane Ladd and Bruce Dern, has carved her own unique path, moving effortlessly between the worlds of independent film and blockbuster franchises like “Jurassic Park” and, most recently, “Star Wars.” She is a two-time Oscar nominee, a four-time Golden Globe winner, and the recipient of an Emmy award for her critically acclaimed work in “Big Little Lies.” Dern is also an activist and philanthropist, and a beacon in the Hollywood community.In this episode, Dern talks about her new film “Marriage Story,” from Academy Award nominated filmmaker Noah Baumbach. It’s an incisive and compassionate look at a marriage breaking up and a family staying together, and it stars Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver, as well as Alan Alda and Ray Liotta. She also talks about growing up on film sets watching the masters Alfred Hitchcock and Martin Scorsese at work, the arc of her career through the eighties and nineties, and how she’s seen the experience of women working in the industry evolve. 
“Mad Men” fans watched Kiernan Shipka grow up on the small screen in her role as Sally Draper, the daughter of Betty and Don. Her nuanced and captivating performance earned her critical acclaim and an older sophisticated fan base for such a young talent. Since then, Shipka, who was born in Chicago and raised in Los Angeles, has taken on a host of different projects, including Ryan Murphy’s “Feud” and the psychological horror film “The Blackcoat’s Daughter.” At the beginning of 2018, she stepped into the magical, mischievous world of half-human, half-witch Sabrina Spellman in Netflix’s “Chilling Adventures of Sabrina,” based on the Archie comic book series. In this conversation, Shipka, who is about to turn 20, talks about her new film, “Let it Snow,” a teen drama about the friendships, love lives, and futures of a group of high school seniors, co-starring Shameik Moore and Isabel Moner. She also talks lessons learned growing up in the “Mad Men” world, what it’s like now to have a fan base closer to her own age, as well as her style philosophy, her go-to karaoke songs, and her love of a good power nap.
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Podcast Details

Created by
Podcast Status
Jun 14th, 2019
Latest Episode
Sep 18th, 2020
Release Period
Avg. Episode Length
41 minutes

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