Rank #1: Episode 1023 - David Letterman
David Letterman started out doing the very thing that scared him to death - getting up in front of strangers and trying to make them laugh. Now after wrapping up a legendary and influential career as late night host, Dave talks with Marc about his early days at The Comedy Store, his enjoyment of the longform interviews he’s doing for Netflix, and his focus on the hard work of becoming a better person. Dave also reveals his favorite thing about his old show and the one comic he always thought was the funniest, despite everything else that happened between them. This episode is sponsored by Turo and Starbucks Tripleshot Energy.
Rank #2: Episode 939 - Jay Leno
Jay Leno came up as a comic's comic, a performer recognized by other comedians as one of the best in the game. He also became one of the most successful late night television hosts in history, not once but twice. Those two sides always seemed at odds with each other, especially in the minds of many other comics, but Jay never saw it that way. He tells Marc about the early days in the clubs with Pryor, Carlin, Robin and others, how he and Letterman influenced each other as comics, and how things went south 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.
Rank #3: Episode 951 - Kristen Bell
Kristen Bell had an experience as a guest on WTF that not many others get to enjoy: Marc made her a meal beforehand. So with a full stomach, Kristen and Marc talk about why Dax Shepard is pushing her to have an ecstasy party, why does she have a hard time remembering things, and why she began singing opera at a young age. There's also some talk about her beloved projects like Veronica Mars, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Frozen, and The Good Place. This episode is sponsored by YouTube Music, the Around the NFL Podcast, Starbucks Doubleshot, and Fahrenheit 11/9.
Rank #4: Episode 948 - Sir Paul McCartney
Marc talks with Paul McCartney about, well, a lot: The Beatles and Stones rivalry that wasn’t, his current relationship with Ringo, the influence of Little Richard, The Who, The Beach Boys, how he needs to have an out-of-body experience to really examine the Beatles legacy, the reception of his solo work after the Beatles, recording Band on the Run in Nigeria, what messages are in his songs, which songs still make him emotional when he performs them, and what he brought to the table for his latest album, Egypt Station. This episode is sponsored by Squarespace, The Daily Show with Trevor Noah: Ears Edition, and Casper.
Rank #5: Episode 929 - Paul Rudd
One constant for Paul Rudd as he spent a large portion of his childhood moving around the country, chasing an identity, is that he loved watching adults be silly. Even when he was in acting school and performing Shakespeare on stage, he took a lot of cues from influences like Letterman, Carlin and Kaufman. Paul talks with Marc about those early days and the big days that were to come after Wet Hot American Summer, the Judd Apatow movies, and now Marvel's Ant Man and the Wasp. This episode is sponsored by the film Sorry To Bother You and SimpliSafe.
Rank #6: Episode 982 - Seth MacFarlane
Seth MacFarlane can host award shows, create button-pushing animated shows, and sing standards in symphony halls, but nothing changes the fact that he’s an introvert by nature. Seth tells Marc why he’s always enjoyed making trouble through comedy, how that impulse got him into hot water when Family Guy started, and why many of the things he’s doing now - studio recordings, live performances, his show The Orville - are rooted in his respect for the past. He also talks about making Ted, hosting the Oscars, 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.
Rank #7: Anthony Bourdain from 2011
From Episode 233, this is Marc's conversation with Anthony Bourdain, conducted in 2011. Anthony died on June 8, 2018, at age 61.
Rank #8: Episode 1004 - Rob Lowe
Rob Lowe had several revelations over the course of his life. One is that there’s more fun in sobriety than in being under the influence. Another is that he should have had a sex tape scandal later in life when it actually would have helped his career instead of nearly killing it. And the latest is that he needs to keep doing different things to keep from getting bored, including hosting a game show alongside a giant robotic arm. Rob talks with Marc about these discoveries and the moments that led to them, 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.
Rank #9: Episode 995 - Mandy Moore
Mandy Moore has already gone through several career phases in her young life, from teenage pop star to animated voice artist to dramatic actress. But her latest phase, as matriarch Rebecca Pearson on This Is Us, came after a long period in which she put her career on hold and lost her sense of self. Mandy explains to Marc what it meant to be emotionally locked into a relationship, how that tumultuous time was preceded by a stunning development in her family, and why she finally feels comfortable going back to making music. This episode is sponsored by Stamps.com and 23andMe.
Rank #10: Episode 1012 - Brené Brown
Brené Brown’s degree in social work and her research into conditions like empathy and vulnerability led to one of the most viewed TED Talks of all time, millions of readers of her books, and celebrity boosters like Oprah Winfrey. But it was her academic work on shame that started it all and is the aspect of her work that resonated strongly with Marc. Brené talks with Marc about the evolution of her work, how it’s reflected in social and cultural changes, what her research told her about hope, and what is 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.
Rank #11: Episode 1022 - Timothy Olyphant
In the last decade or so, Timothy Olyphant realized that a lot of his interests when he was younger were either impractical, ill-fitting or not very cool. He found himself going in many different directions because, as he puts it, he was scared to death of success. Timothy talks with Marc about his false starts as an artist and a standup comic before falling into acting. He explains why Deadwood was the gift that keeps on giving in terms of what he learned while making it and why he started taking a counterintuitive approach to acting in order to get out of his own head. This episode is sponsored by Leesa and Stamps.com.
Rank #12: Episode 987 - Aaron Sorkin
It's very possible the only reason Aaron Sorkin became a writer is because he spent a lonely night in a friend's apartment where the only thing working was an electric typewriter. Aaron tells Marc how that fateful night put him on the path to writing his first play, A Few Good Men, and kicked off a writing career on Broadway, in film and on TV that has few rivals. Aaron also talks about his hero and mentor William Goldman, why his first try at adapting To Kill A Mockingbird was no good, and how his habit of 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.
Rank #13: Episode 1002 - Amy Sedaris
Amy Sedaris had no plan of action for her career other than going to Chicago to do sketch comedy and going to New York to do plays with her brother David. And as she tells Marc, she still has no plan except for doing things that she finds fun. Amy and Marc talk about how that lack of planning led to her early Comedy Central sketch show Exit 57, a collaborative partnership with Paul Dinello and Stephen Colbert that birthed Strangers with Candy, and a public persona that made her an ideal Letterman guest and 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.
Rank #14: Episode 1001 - Aidy Bryant
Aidy Bryant only recently felt like she could tap into her inner rage. She remains a wonderfully nice person and hilarious performer, but with things like her new show Shrill and other mental adjustments, Aidy feels like she’s taking ownership of some righteous anger. She has that in common with Marc, as well as the fact that they both cry while watching TV all the time. They talk about those shared traits as well as Aidy’s early love of improv, her path to Saturday Night Live, and breaking away from letting things like weight and body image dominate her life. This episode is sponsored by Stay Free: The Story of The Clash on Spotify.
Rank #15: Episode 985 - Howie Mandel
Howie Mandel went to Hollywood and tried to make a living by putting a latex glove on his head. He never thought he’d be able to maintain it, so he always made other plans: Investor, entrepreneur, actor, voiceover artist. And it wasn’t until Deal or No Deal when all the disparate things he did came together for a project that transformed his life. Howie talks with Marc about his struggles with OCD and AHDH, how those challenges made it difficult for him to fit in, how getting started in comedy came out of 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.
Rank #16: Episode 1020 - Lisa Kudrow
Of course Lisa Kudrow talks with Marc about Friends. But first they discuss several other topics Lisa knows well, including genealogy, global migration patterns, evolutionary biology, and headaches. Lisa also explains how Jon Lovitz was responsible for pushing her toward improv, how Conan O’Brien helped her put it all together, and how the cast of Friends stuck together to get what they deserved. Plus, some talk about The Comeback, Web Therapy, and her new movie, Booksmart. This episode is sponsored by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Squarespace, and Starbucks Tripleshot Energy.