"We Wish You A Mary Steenburgen" w. Mary Steenburgen | Crooked Media
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May 03, 2023
Keep It
"We Wish You A Mary Steenburgen" w. Mary Steenburgen

In This Episode

Louis and Crooked executive producer Kendra James tackle the black, white, pink, and beige world of the 2023 Met Gala, the legacy of Jerry Springer, and what’s on the line during this incoming Writers Guild strike. Then Ira rejoins to interview screen legend and Book Club: The Next Chapter star Mary Steenburgen.


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Louis Virtel And welcome back to Keep It. I’m Louis Virtel and you’re about to hear an unfamiliar voice. Please brace yourself.


Kendra James Hello. I’m Kendra James.


Louis Virtel Keep It producer.


Kendra James Executive producer.


Louis Virtel Pardon me. My God, I feel crazy for demoting you like that. Also, former Jeopardy alum.


Kendra James Yes. Twice.


Louis Virtel Yes. Now tell people how that’s possible.


Kendra James So, long story short, my dad entered me, unbeknownst to me, when I was nine. I was the only child at the test who knew every Star Trek alien in the category they gave us. And then I ended up on Jeopardy by the time I was ten.


Louis Virtel And so you were on once. That would have been kids week. Yeah.


Kendra James So I was on the first ever back to school special hosted by Alex Trebek.


Louis Virtel Yes.


Kendra James And then to celebrate what apparently was some sort of momentous occasion, they had us back a decade later to celebrate our ten year anniversary. So I was on again at the age of 20.


Louis Virtel I hope you’re on every decade for the rest of your life. The way Barbra Streisand gets like one top 20 album every decade.


Kendra James Yeah, they’ve missed. I’m 35 now, so it would be 15. I don’t know if they’re holding to 20.


Louis Virtel Oh.


Kendra James And now I’ve missed the last opportunity to see Alex again.


Louis Virtel Right, right, right. I should say Ira madison is not here right now, but you will hear him during our interview segment today with a guest. I am so, so excited about talk about how amazing she is anyway, but it’s a crazy week. First of all, these writers are on strike. And by the way, I’m one of them.


Kendra James Congratulations.


Louis Virtel Me, Louis. Being on strike. Picture me with a sign I crazy.


Kendra James What are you going to wear?


Louis Virtel Well, they kind of recommend you wear red and black, but that’s what they did during the 2007 strike.


Kendra James You’re a delta.


Louis Virtel Yes. And also, by the way, let’s just talk about the color red and how it doesn’t belong in this complexion.


Kendra James And I feel that like for myself, too, I never wear red.


Louis Virtel Really?


Kendra James That would be hard for me if I was told that I had to wear it, go out and wear red and black. A) because Delta, but also just because that would not work.


Louis Virtel No picture Elle Fanning in red, you can it doesn’t work. So we’re going to have to work that out. The writers are fighting for a whole bunch of things that are all. Look at the list downright reasonable based on the amount of money being made in all these various channels. One that’s on my mind. As you know, I write for Jimmy Kimmel Live, which is on ABC, but the comedy variety writers on streaming. One of the things that we’re fighting for right now is that there’s no NBA minimum and they basically can be paid nothing. So if I did this job but worked at like the Amber Ruffin show, like based on the current rules, they could basically treat me like a TaskRabbit. They’ll be like, Well, call upon you and pay you just a little bit of money and good luck with health insurance, whatever your life, etc..


Kendra James It essentially comes down to like a day rate, right?


Louis Virtel Yes, right.


Kendra James I’m not WGA, I’m just I’m just a little writer trying to struggle out here.


Louis Virtel And as you know, I’m a huge writer in size. Yes.


Kendra James But I really appreciate it, Like how transparent the negotiating committee and just like the WGA members as a whole have been with what their list of we say demands but not sound so strong for things that are so reasonable to be asked for. But the fact that all of this stuff, you can find it online and you can really, if you want, genuinely a clear understanding of why this is happening. It is very well laid out. Yes.


Louis Virtel One of the things is they basically want to give writers this chunk of money, and it’s the same chunk of money that David Zaslav, the head of Warner Brothers, would be getting for one year of work.


Kendra James Ultimately, it’s essentially like 400 rounding up. It’s like $430 million, which if you think about it, that is less than any Marvel movie. So it is less than the profit of one movie coming out written by one WGA member. Yeah.


Louis Virtel So in other words, believe us, we just would like to be paid well and fairly, etc. But we’re going to get back to normal pop culture right now. Namely, the Met Gala is on the docket. The theme was Karl Lagerfeld, which is not a contract, which is not a controversial topic at all. So nothing to say about him. We’ll get into that very briefly. And also we’ll talk about the death of Jerry Springer and also the kinds of things you watched during the day when you were sick growing up and how that’s totally different from now, like children really do not understand turning on The Bold and The Beautiful. No. You know, much as Ira would want them too, they just don’t understand that. So we’ll get into the insanity of Jerry Springer culture, the weirdness of him as a celebrity, the kind of sly irony he brought to being a, quote unquote, ringmaster. That’s what he called himself on his show. And then our guest today is an Oscar winner and also just one of these kind of radiant people that when we booked her, I just knew she would be as rad as I expected. It’s Mary Steenburgen who’s in Book Club, The Next Chapter with our girl, Jane Fonda, our girl, Candice Bergen, our girl, Diane Keaton. All the girls showed up for this one. And our girl, Greg D. Nelson. Frankly.


Kendra James I have to say, you guys have had just like as as an EP slash observer, you all have had a string of guests that frankly, like we have a slack that you’re not part of. But let me tell you, the thirst that I have seen going down in this slack. Channel that have made me just like want to kind of like, pop in here and open the door. These people in this room of of queer men and straight men just lusting after Rachel Weisz.


Louis Virtel Oh, sure. I mean, I mean. I mean. Right in the row. Rachel Weisz. Toni Collette. James Marsden. Patti LuPone. Everybody who’s rad. And also very opinionated. And we’re very thankful. And Mary Steenburgen is the next in this cavalcade that’s we’re so thrilled about. I fucking love her. You know what she reminds me of? We had Valerie Bertinelli on this show one time. Another time Ira wasn’t here. And there’s just this combination of like a radiant, positive energy, but then also like a real sly knowing humor, too. And I love that dichotomy. And you get both of those things in this interview. And then, of course, we’ll say, Keep It to something. So something get your spiciness together, Kendra


Kendra James I migh have used it all last night on the Met gala.


Louis Virtel Oh, well, save some for us. We’ll be right back. So the Met gala occurred Monday night. And first of all, it always sneaks up on me. I feel like they announced it the day before and then it just happens the day of and everybody’s prepared. I can’t explain it. And then we’re all like, Is Rihanna in town? And then there’s the footage of Rihanna entering the hotel. So, okay, we are getting some Rihanna. Who are you most looking forward to this year, Kendra?


Kendra James Well, so last night I was holding out hope. Like I’ve held out hope for weeks. Many things from her. I thought Beyonce was going to show up. I thought she was going to give us something.


Louis Virtel That’s fully the great pumpkin behavior. Like, what were you thinking sitting in that pumpkin patch waiting for her to show up.


Kendra James Waiting for visuals for a year? I don’t know. I thought she was going to come and give us the carpet. Look, that was the rumor online from Balenciaga, and we’ll get over it.


Louis Virtel I am continuously inspired and disturbed by the rumors about what her follow up Renaissance stuff will be when I keep hearing rock and roll album. What does that mean?


Kendra James I’m assuming it’s a country album.


Louis Virtel Yeah, which can I tell you? Daddy Lessons? One of my least favorite Beyoncé song.


Kendra James Daddy lessons. I have a I’m terrified of flying. I hate flying. Okay, Daddy Lessons is the song that I must listen to. Like as we’re taxiing. Every time we’re taxiing, I turn Daddy Lessons on. As soon as the engine start. Wow, we taxi up. I listen to the whole song in full. I will allow myself to pause if they’re making an announcement because I am terrified. And if an announcement is happening, I’m assuming something has gone wrong with the plane. So I will pause it. But then I have to that I unpause it and listen to it in full. If I’m listening to the Dixie Chicks version, I go straight through the talking. It is part of my flight preparation.


Louis Virtel Yes, I enjoyed the Dixie Chicks covering it and then also performing at at.


Kendra James The CMAs.


Louis Virtel CMAs with Beyonce. They were they then ripped into long Time Gone.


Kendra James Yes.


Louis Virtel By the Dixie Chicks and that it’s a very subversive song because they’re hating on certain figures in country music. But it turns out I’m not a big fan of your cover. Kendra, Take that. Anyway, the Met gala went down last night. The theme was Karl Lagerfeld, and now we can get into what’s weird about him in a second, but I just want to say it felt a little bit like on RuPaul’s Drag Race, when they have a challenge where the theme is Janet Jackson, and then what you get is a bunch of people just dressed up in familiar Janet Jackson clothes.


Kendra James Yes.


Louis Virtel Which I want to see that, you know, love her work, want to think about her, want to evoke several eras of her. But at the same time, I think it makes for a less I don’t know about inspired presentation or just a less quote unquote campy version of the Met gala, which is kind of what we expect now.


Kendra James For me, it felt like. So Karl Lagerfeld has outside of Chanel, he has his own sort of ready to wear line that you’ll find in like a Bloomingdales outlet or a Saks Off Fifth. And for me, the majority of what I saw last night simply looked like we walked into Saks Off Fifth, grab something off the rack and just like it was because it when you’re doing Karl Lagerfeld, you have like four options black, white, pearls, beige. Yes, that’s it. And that’s a lot of what we saw. And we didn’t see a lot of creative reinventing.


Louis Virtel Right.


Kendra James Of those looks.


Louis Virtel I also don’t feel I heard a lot of people defending the worst parts of Karl Lagerfeld. So you’ll never meet somebody who is more on the record about how body positivity is bad for the culture. I mean, the list goes on and on.


Kendra James My mans would have been upset to see Lizzo there.


Louis Virtel Yes, right, right, right. He’s one of these people that you’re constantly assured is a droll, kind of witty, sparkling figure in fashion. But I do think ultimately and I don’t think this is just me reading the brainy quote on Karl Lagerfeld and being upset with six of the things he said. I think the nasty does outweigh the inspiring.


Kendra James I agree. I agree. Especially when you combine it with the fact which like I was him. I’m a 30 something woman in America. I own a pair of Chanel heels, I own some Chanel here and there. But when you combine it like first of all, Chanel like the background of it, like she was a Nazi, we know this. And then you have the fact that the like main figurehead of the company for so many years was a man who outwardly hated bad people. He did not like anything that was not like basically tall, white, skinny. Nicole Kidman, shall we say, who wore one of the dresses that he designed for her way back in the day. Yeah, she was at the gala last night. But when you combine like those two origins of what this carpet was really inspired by, it’s really hard to defend anything around it, especially when you see the results of what we got.


Louis Virtel Right. Anna Wintour or one of these people that is constantly telling you how inspiring Karl Lagerfeld was. But I have to tell you, I don’t want to say she redeemed herself last night, but I had forgotten that she is dating Bill Nye, too, and Oscar nominee Bill Nye, not Bill Nye, the science Guy.


Kendra James It’s something that comes up, I would say, every eight months For me, I’m reminded of it. I promptly dump it, because how could that be true?


Louis Virtel Yes.


Kendra James And we don’t see them together until last night, right?


Louis Virtel No. He’s giving you a sophisticated, slightly jaunty James Cromwell.


Kendra James Yes.


Louis Virtel Who just rescued a pig he named Babe recently. So James Cromwell was still on the Babe tab. Okay. 1995 is going swimmingly. Let’s pick our favorites of the night. First of all, I’m going to start with somebody who refuses to leave her tower of her era, Anne Hathaway.


Kendra James Yes. I’ve been loving this Versace campaign that I’m seeing everywhere.


Louis Virtel Yes. Also, just every time I see Anne Hathaway nowadays, not that anybody here at KEEP, it was ever in denial about the greatness of Anne Hathaway. If we’re talking about the 2008 Academy Awards, that would have been my best actress pick and Rachel getting married. R.I.P. Jonathan Demme, who we talk about in our interview with Mary Steenburgen today. But Anne Hathaway right now is giving you a lot of, I would say, maybe Brigitte Bardot hair. And also or I would also compare it to Bobbie Gentry, if you know the song Ode to Billie Jean, that’s her up.


Kendra James Oh, my God. So this woman’s about to jump someone off a bridge.


Louis Virtel The Tallahatchie Bridge, to be exact. It’s sort of like we were so unjust to and for a long time. And now she is on this hyperbolic climb into the stratosphere. And a second Oscar there is.


Kendra James It was the theater kid energy.


Louis Virtel Yeah.


Kendra James That’s and I think.


Louis Virtel Which is controversial I think people don’t encounter that in their everyday lives.


Kendra James No. And unless you are someone like myself who, like, grew up as a stage crew kid like that, I’m just used to it. But even with her, it was like it was just a little much. It was a little cloying. Also, she grew up in the town next to me and had instant success from high school, so maybe I was a little jealous. Who knows? But yeah, no, I feel like it is with a lot of theater kids. You fight that edge. It does smooth out. And as you get older or you just learn how to control it more and bring it out in a situation that is more appropriate. Something that say, Oh,Lea Michelle has not learned.


Louis Virtel Interesting. Yes. You know what I think? And this sounds to evoke an old term. Okay. Boomer ish. I mean, you know what is a really fabulous accessory at something like the Met gala talent? Like, I think something that factors in to me, loving an outfit is thinking, oh, this person is I don’t know about a genius. A genius in some of these cases, like a Nicole Kidman and whatever, and they somehow make that quality sing on a red carpet. They elevate it. They become these sort of like godlike figures when adorned with all this stuff. And it just becomes a little bit more meaningful to see somebody that impressive and that sort of insightful as an artist look amazing as opposed to look. I’m just saying like, does anyone get like a surge out of Bella Hadid looking amazing?


Kendra James Well, I think what you’re describing is a movie star.


Louis Virtel Yes.


Kendra James And we don’t have a lot of those now.


Louis Virtel Yes. Oh, I’m sorry. I’m in tears now. Yes.


Kendra James So, like, what you’re describing is someone who walks on a red carpet and understands this is part of my job. This is a performance. This is not just about me standing here. Like when you’re a model, when you are a bella Hadid, when you are a Kendall Jenner, like, what you do when you’re wearing clothes is you are a hanger, you are a rack. You’re walking down the runway. You’re not some the best of our models are Naomi Campbell’s. They can put on that performance. We’re not really asking. I feel like that from our current models. So when you see an Anne Hathaway and Nicole Kidman on a red carpet like giving everything, it really does stand out in any way.


Louis Virtel You’re right. There’s something about models. Well, name like like the Naomi Campbell era I’m talking about like Linda Evangelista. Who else is Stephanie Seymour? Cindy Crawford, All those but Veronica Webb. There’s something about those people that really was working the clothes. Yes. You know, like you were really studying the panache of the person wearing the outfit. And the outfit was not wearing them. And I’m not saying that doesn’t exist now. Like I’m the models do the job well enough. We want to see them. They’re more famous than ever, I guess.


Kendra James George Michael is no longer with us. Prince is no longer with us.


Louis Virtel Yes, right.


Kendra James No one is making them work outside of the runway.


Louis Virtel What is Terry Mugler getting into a screaming fight about? That’s what I want to know, right? You know what I’m saying? Who Who’s inspiring this sort of rage? Who else did you love at the Met gala?


Kendra James Okay. I also my one of my favorites, and I feel like this is a little bizarre because she was not playing outside of her wheelhouse. I loved Jenna Ortega in the custom Tom Brown.


Louis Virtel Yes. Now let me tell you. So Jenna Ortega sort of evoking the Wednesday Addams Spiral look and.


Kendra James Scream VI probably, too. I’m sure that’s playing into it. She’s just she’s a girl who likes to blood on her face.


Louis Virtel Yes. Yes. I did sort of flinch realizing that at this point she is basically doing Helena Bonham Carter cosplay for a living. Like, has she has she leapt to that level? That said, it does look good on her.


Kendra James Looks very good.


Louis Virtel Goth child has a particular set of clothes it belongs in.


Kendra James Yeah.


Louis Virtel And she is finding that.


Kendra James And the key here again is I think like again, going back to that sort of theater kid thing, the key is what’s going to happen when she has aged out of this and is she going to be able to translate it into something older? Yeah, like Christina Ricci has, I think. Very well.


Louis Virtel Right, right, right. And I’m loving Christina Ricci on Wednesday, by the way. Thrilled. And and, of course, and Yellowjackets. I think one of my favorite looks of the night is, of course, Mikayla Cole.


Kendra James Yes.


Louis Virtel Now, she did something subversive with not which not too many people did. She dressed in this brownish sort of Nefertiti looking gold, bedazzled look. Bodysuit and it’s Schiaparelli. And Schiaparelli was basically an enemy of Coco Chanel’s by the end of her life and of her life. And so it sort of stands in opposition to the legacy of Karl Lagerfeld. It’s just a stunning. But she’s just when you were watching Black Panther Wakanda Forever, she appears on the screen and you have to like, grab your drink.


Kendra James Yes. Yeah. I love this was the best Schiaparelli of the night for me. The other the Schiaparelli that made me a little sad because it was so close, and then it just didn’t get there. The Kim Kardashian, which was the sort of I would say she’s wearing kind of a nude skin with no texture. And then she is draped in pearls and beading on top and then also on the bottom and the bodies, her bodice, it was very beige. It needed texture. It needed to be quilted. It needed to be studded. It needed something there. But it was it felt really close to me. And there’s something about Kim right now. I’ve never seen a frame of that show, but there’s something about her right now as the family, I think is falling a little bit from relevancy in pop culture. Now I’m rooting for her. Now I want her to now I want her to do well.


Louis Virtel Yeah. You want her to have her socialite Like it matter? Like. Like get the business sense together and find the way to have another way of. Of relevance.


Kendra James Exactly. And I’m like, also last night was it was Paris Hilton’s first ever Met gala and I kind of wanted her I’m like, okay, Paris is coming. I want you to, like, show out to your old boss. Like, I want you to have that moment. I’m sure she’s had it many, many, many times. But like, you know, you’re watching this thing for, like, those sort of storylines in those arcs right now. That’s just one that I created in my head.


Louis Virtel You’re hoping for a Working Girl reboot with Melanie Griffith with Kim Kardashian is the Melanie Griffith part and Paris Hilton as the Sigourney Weaver.


Kendra James Right.


Louis Virtel Okay. We’ll put that into the ozone layer and hope it comes back to us. One look, I was super relieved to see in a kind of jaunty menswear looking look is Kristen Stewart. Now, I have to say, aside from Lil Nas X, who we’ll get to in a second, I did not find it to be a pardon. My French counterpart, a very fagotty  Met Gala. You know, I just feel like queer energy makes this sing in a way. Like, really, like cements the relevance of something like this and makes it not just seem like a Getty Images reel we’re watching from 2008.


Kendra James Yeah, no, I agree. I looking at the men’s looks like even like people are going on Twitter like people were going nuts over Pedro Pascal is like Redbook and being like, Oh, daddy, oh, love this. I’m like this. This is quite boring to me.


Louis Virtel It’s like a cool red coat and like, I guess shorts are interesting for some people, but.


Kendra James No.


Louis Virtel No, I’m a gay man who’s 36. I’m going to continue wearing shorts. It’s just not that it’s not breaking new ground. You will find that inspiring when I do it or when most people do.


Kendra James Yes. And it’s like, yeah, I can pull up my socks, too. It’s like we we got this shaped like half wonderful for you. I watch Bridgerton. I’ve seen enough.


Louis Virtel Also, I just want to point out the overlap sartorially between Kristen Stewart and Timothee Chalamet. I feel like there’s something competitive going on there, and I would say I actually do probably like more Timothee Chalamet movies at this point than Kristen Stewart movies like I don’t stan Personal Shopper. That wasn’t my bag. Anyway, but in terms of fashion right now, I love how Kristen Stewart is hitting.


Kendra James So I she’s been a Chanel spokesperson for a minute now and I have not loved shout out to Tom and Lorenzo who like if you go to their website they file everything away for every person and so you can go through and look at all of Kristen Stewart’s Chanel looks and for me Chanel does not do punk super well and she is very much like husband, sort of putting that energy out for a few years now. And so her Chanel looks for me have been a hit or miss. This one is the first one that I’ve really like I’ve loved. Yeah, she doesn’t often act like whenever she’s like, can’t she’s in like some sort of schlock. And those are for me. I don’t know if it’s like the summer sun of France. That’s just not that’s just not a place for that. But it really worked last night.


Louis Virtel Also, there’s just something about her where whenever she dies years and years from now, she should be buried with her hands in her pockets.


Kendra James Yes.


Louis Virtel You know, it’s that kind of shuffling around, a pantaloon, you know, just like a bloomers, You know, like she’s the only person who kind of can do some Kate Hepburn stuff nowadays.


Kendra James Yeah, I could see her and Janelle Monet and a pair of bloomers. That’s a movie.


Louis Virtel I think of. Janelle Monae still is very much favoring a slim fit, though not that Katharine Hepburn was, like, utterly voluminous, but there’s some difference.


Kendra James I’m thinking of. Like, now I’m just now I’m just dreaming up, you know, like a slim fit top and a bloomer. Yeah. Janelle Monae. I could see that there were two pregnancy reveals last night,.


Louis Virtel Correct.


Kendra James One, Karlie Kloss bringing another spawn of Kushner into the world. And then also.


Louis Virtel The good Kushner.


Kendra James The goood Kushner. Yeah, if there is one.


Louis Virtel And I rank them all. So just be aware.


Kendra James And then Serena Williams and Alexis Ohanian debuted Serena’s pregnancy. So Olympia is going to have a baby sibling that didn’t help the look.


Louis Virtel Oh, wow. I’m surprised to hear this turn. What do you think went wrong?


Kendra James I just I didn’t love it. I mean, I my standard for that best dressed pregnant woman ever is Catherine Zeta Jones. Oh.


Louis Virtel Oh, sure.


Kendra James For me, that is like. That is my gold standard. I tried everything by that. And this, I. I actually really like it from the, like, head on. I kind of get where it was going, but it just and I think this is just a pregnancy thing I didn’t like. Whenever I was seeing it from profile, it didn’t seem like quite well fitted in the back. Like there was that gap that you sort of got the gap that I’m getting and the dress that I’m currently wearing right now. Right. It just I didn’t love this. And again, it was that black youth. She took three of the four options. She got black, she had white, she had pearls. And I don’t know, it just wasn’t that interesting to me.


Louis Virtel Meanwhile, Rihanna also, of course, had a pregnancy look and evolved from one thing to another. But I think the most memorable version of it was this one with giant white flowers all over it and the framing of the white flowers over her head, which sort of forms this hood that is not as puffy as the rest of the look, kind of creates an odd hall of mirrors. The fact, like, is that part supposed to be as big as that? Is that part supposed to be look that small? But I was happy because it was playful and absurd. And I think absurdity is the number one thing missing from this red carpet.


Kendra James Yes. I liked I thought their whole as a couple, her and ASAP, their whole performance in presentation. I think every year is great this year. I love the fact that he jumped over the barricade. I liked the fact that he was in jeans. I liked her outfit and its transformations. It was just all a very good time.


Louis Virtel Yes, right. Eddie Redmayne was there, I’m discovering. Oh, let’s see. Jeremy Strong wore a brown kind of constable trench coat and over a minty green shirt.


Kendra James Yup.Said last night in the office like this looked like a Carnival Row didn’t get season three, and the costumes were on wholesale.


Louis Virtel It must be said that Cardi B is one of the best looks of the night. Well, three. Yes. Oh, that’s right. And it turned from one thing into another. She was full Transformers, Optimus Prime.


Kendra James She I, I can take her. Leave the music. I need her in my life all the time doing anything.


Louis Virtel I would compare her a little bit to Keke Palmer, and then it’s like, whatever she does, she comes into a room immediately. It’s hilarious. Yes. It’s like a not trying thing. Like the sensibility is so baked in. So like when I’m watching, the look I’m looking at is has a tie on it. It goes into this large kind of wedding cake looking look with giant black flowers on it already. It’s not just fashion. It’s whimsical in a way, because she has whimsy about her.


Kendra James And this one, this was the second look, the one that she wore up walking up the carpet. And I thought the first one, I was like, I was fine with It was fine. This one I thought was going to be my favorite. And then she dresses in this sort of pink and black. It combines elements from the first look that she walked out of the hotel with and the one that she walked the red carpet with. So it’s a pink and black tweed Chanel style suit. That one was my absolute. I loved that. Yeah, it was gorgeous.


Louis Virtel J.Lo came as she’s giving widow chic and this look and this Ralph Lauren look, which is. First of all, there’s some color and it’s baby pink, but it is nonetheless still a color. Yes. In the Chanel brand. I mean, it’s been said a million times, the woman looks the same as she did. This picture could be from 25 years ago. And I say I say it. I say that in a simply awed way. But my face is sinking.


Kendra James Yes. I mean, she I did I was like, where is Ben? And then I didn’t care.


Louis Virtel Right.


Kendra James I’m sure he was happy to not be there. She looked I mean, just even like the amount of side boob that’s coming out, I can’t. There’s no place to complain. It’s fitted beautifully. It doesn’t look like Ralph Lauren, too, which I love.


Louis Virtel No. It’s very surprising. Yeah. You would never guess.


Kendra James Yeah, I did want to shout out Teyana Taylor, also in Thom Browne, which I think is he’s just my favorite American designer right now, I think. And looking at the designs that he made for this carpet, I think there was a point in time where he was up for a Chanel job looking at these. Make me wish he had gotten it.


Louis Virtel Mm hmm. Let me just say about Teyana Taylor, I feel like not enough people are discussing the movie 1001. Have you seen yet?


Kendra James I haven’t seen it yet. It is on my list. All I’ve heard are good things.


Louis Virtel I hadn’t heard anything about it when I originally saw it, other than she was the starring role in it. This person is about to, like, pop up. Yeah. I was unprepared for how. A gritty is the wrong word for this movie. It is an emotional movie that really becomes believable. Every performance in it, including all of the children in this movie, she plays a single mother in it. It’s so. Something is so unforgettable about it. And nothing about the narrative is trying too hard. There is a twist at the end, but I would even find that I find that organic to the story it was telling. I think this movie is really surprising and I hope it has legs and sticks with us through awards season.


Kendra James And to bring it down to the less highbrow level. When her husband, Iman Shrumpert, was on Dancing with the Stars, she would occasionally make a few like appearances. And it was at that moment I knew about her dancing. I knew about my Super Sweet 16. Had seen her around. It was when I saw her on Dancing with the Stars every so often I was like, Oh, she’s working that man at home. She’s still like. Like there was just something in her demeanor where I was like, She’s coming for us in the same way that Keke Palmer at the time was coming for us.


Louis Virtel You know what one of my favorite things in that regard is? Throughout the seventies, Angelica Houston would just be at the Oscars with Jack Nicholson. She wasn’t yet a movie star.


Kendra James Right.


Louis Virtel You know, she was like, you know, the model, Richard Avedon news, etc.. But there she is poised with, you know, like a lampshade shaped haircut. And you’re like, well, who’s that? Who’s that? And then finally she became an actress and then suddenly was an Oscar winner.


Kendra James Taking the vibes. Yeah. Take in the vibes before you can get there.


Louis Virtel Yeah, we were. We were. Yes, we were drunk on her visually already before she became a formal movie star. Teyanna, please be the next one of those. Barry Keoghan looked fabulous in a blue striped Met gala. He is one of the few actors to me in a way that we, I think used to ascribe this quality to Adam Driver has mystique to me. What is going on with you?


Kendra James Weird noses?


Louis Virtel Yeah, that’s what’s going on first of all. Yeah, something askew, if you will. But then there also seems to be something intellectually askew about them too. Like, I don’t know about irritable, but like, strange and gifted, you know?


Kendra James So that’s what separates him from Owen Wilson.


Louis Virtel Well, yeah. Sorry. No can do love Owen Wilson on occasion.


Kendra James One of my long time crushes.


Louis Virtel Another great nose of all time, Mr. Clive Owen. I want to give a shout out to Amanda Seyfried, and I know I’m saying it right because her name rhymes with rye bread. She gave us a kind of Pawnee Carol Kane Look, you know which pale people can often do when they have the curly blond hair. She also stuck her neck out for the writers in a memorable clip that went viral. I think she was talking to Variety at the time, but Lil Nas X came spray painted silver. And what would you call that? Just like a booty short.


Kendra James I think it was just a thong or a booty short.


Louis Virtel Yes.


Kendra James And yeah, he was spray painted silver and bedazzled.


Louis Virtel Yeah.


Kendra James With crystals. And now I did not see a close up of his face until much later in the night. So I thought he was just kind of giving like a, I don’t know, like a Game of Thrones, like Winter King situation. And I was like, okay, it’s creative. I can get with that. And then I saw the face and then I saw the meow. Yeah.


Louis Virtel Yes, yes.


Kendra James So he had come dressed as Karl Lagerfeld cat shoe pat, and he was not the only one Who was.


Louis Virtel That also, Yes, you could probably solve this yourself, but Doja cat also did with a full cat face in a way that evoked like a B-movie from the fifties or sixties or a.


Kendra James Movie called Cats that came out in 2019.


Louis Virtel My favorite B-movie from the fifties or sixties Cats. 2019’s Cats. Yeah, I actually can’t pick a favorite between either of those because that is the level of absurdity you’re supposed to bring to this sort of thing. But there’s a little bit of, I don’t know about debase yourself a little bit, but take a risk that you might be horrifying. You know.


Kendra James I think for me, Naz’s edges out Doja’s just slightly, if only because I got the feeling that he could not sit down comfortably.


Louis Virtel No way.


Kendra James He could not do anything, whereas she was going to have an easier time. He sacrificed more.


Louis Virtel And also, I wonder if there was some King Midas guilt. Like did he worry he was going to rub like like silvery debris on everyone all the time.


Kendra James Like a real housewife just leaving self-tanner where they go.


Louis Virtel Okay, you know what? It was a dignified met gala. Probably not. I think.


Kendra James The five.


Louis Virtel Yes, I can think of other years that like, gave me a little bit more life. But you know what? There was some glamor served. The Nicole’s. The Annes showed up. The Violas showed up.


Kendra James Yes. Mary J. Blige has debuted a new boot.


Louis Virtel It’s got a debut somewhere.


Kendra James Yeah.


Louis Virtel We’ll be back after the break with our interview with Mary Steenburgen. And Ira Madison will be here for it.


Speaker 3 <AD>


Louis Virtel So our guest today debuted in the 1978 movie Going South with Jack Nicholson and basically from then on, became a movie institution. She was in Melvin and Howard. She’s in Ragtime. She’s Parenthood, Philadelphia Step Brothers. She also has an Academy Award, which, in my opinion, she should point out every time Ted Danson gets out of line. Now, she is in the sequel to her hit movie, Book Club. Book Club, The Next Chapter. Please welcome Mary Steenburgen.


Mary Steenburgen Hi. Hi. I’ll I’ll make sure I point that out to Ted.


Louis Virtel Thank you. Good. I have lots of good ideas for the both of you. So we’re starting this with that.


Mary Steenburgen Good. Good. Because he has really an exceptionally secure ego. So I’ve tried for 30 years to make a dent in it, and I have no headway whatsoever. So maybe you can help me out.


Louis Virtel Oh, no problem at all. I just want to say about Book Club, the next chapter. This is these are obviously movies about longtime friendships you have with these women who are Jane Fonda, Candice Bergen and Diane Keaton play these characters. And now I’m realizing the last Book Club was actually five years ago. So now you actually do have something of a years long friendship with these people. Are these working relationship? What’s it like making this movie with them now that you’ve known all three of them a long time?


Mary Steenburgen You know what? Before we made the first one, I had so many people who heard who I was working with. And by the way, none of us had ever worked together before. No combination of us. Which is pretty weird considering how long we’ve been around. But people would say to me, Oh, wow, you know, I wonder who’s going to be the diva, who’s going to, you know, what is that going to be like? That’s going to be so intense. And I work with these women that every single day they’re on time. They they know their lines. They’re ready to play there. And then, of course, the stories were just I mean, I really do wish that we had had a camera there just to hear the stories. When we’re sitting around in some garage that’s our holding room or something talking because it was just the stories were insane. And and they had sort of overlapped with a few men in their lives. And then, of course, Ted’s played every one of their husbands at some point, I think. And it was just so the opposite of the kind of. Assumptions people make about women and who are successful, who work together. I really honestly fell in love with all three of them. They’re so different and I love each of them. And at the end of this new Book Club is a song I write music that I that’s another part of my life. And so I wrote a love song for all three of them, but we all for sing it and to each other. And that’s over the end credits and and that’s how I feel about them. I’m I’m so moved by them. I think they’re hilarious and I feel so, so lucky to know them and be close and close with all three of them. And it’s it’s one of the great gifts of this part of my life.


Ira Madison III And you started at the original Book Club, you know, like that came out in 2018 and you’re reading 50 Shades of Gray and that one. And that was sort of the fun and comedy of that book. And now in the next chapter, you’re on an Italian vacation. And it also starts out I had forgotten like like Louis mentioned that, you know, it was like five years ago, like it starts out with you all zooming because, you know, COVID has happened and then you’re able to finally reunite. And I guess that also mirrors what would have happened with the four of you. So how was the Book Club to conceived? How did you all decide that you wanted to go back and do another one? And were you talking about it during COVID? Were you zooming with one another during combat like your characters were in the movie.


Mary Steenburgen While on a plane on the way to Vegas to promote the first one, Candace and I decided that it was going to be successful and we were going to do a second one and that it had to be in Italy. And we thought, you know, we’re going to do another one. It can’t just be in our neighborhood in L.A.. I mean, the the place it was supposed to be, my house in the first one was two doors down from a place that I had actually lived for 15 years.


Louis Virtel Wow.


Mary Steenburgen My trailer was parked right outside my old driveway. And the tree, my tree, every time I shut the door to my trailer, it’s kind of almost like try to come in to my trailer and I feel like this is so strange, you know? But then we decided for this second one, we’ve got to go somewhere fun, you know, So we force picked Italy and, and then COVID and and I zoomed a lot with the specially Jane because we would, you know, be involved in different political things together. So we zoomed quite a bit. And the first time with Candace, I don’t know if I should tell this, but it was just us two to hang to catch up and see each other. And Candace had never zoomed before. This is right at the beginning of the pandemic, and she was kind of I guess she was in her bed or something. And she had her computer where it was just totally a shot up her nose. And we don’t get to see her. Can’t fix it. You got to begin because, you know, because the way is kind of, wow, that’s not the best angle. So anyway, she’s now quite, quite good at it. But it was what a strange time, man. It was. I remember Ted and I losing our minds over the first kind of big zoom that we did. It was just something with Tina Fey and. And, you know, we’ve had the luxury of working around lighting crews for all these years. What we’ve learned absolutely nothing. And this is like big light and we’re trying to figure out how to use that and how to do the zoom. And we’re actually getting in a kind of a fight because we were both so anxious about it. And then when we finally got the light on and I have my glasses on, there’s look to, you know, to inspire reflection in my classes. So we’ve definitely come to appreciate the crews that we’ve worked with all these years because we we are so lame at it. Just complimenting us, Ted and our IT-ness, IT-ness. Yeah. I mean.


Louis Virtel I watched one of the Zoom interviews you did with Jason over a fire drill Fridays. And first of all, just, of course, fabulous in general. But I hosted a Q&A with Jane a couple of months ago, and she mentioned that she literally knew Ted’s first and second Wordle, Wordle words that he uses every time he plays Wordle. So it sounds like you guys got very acquainted.


Mary Steenburgen We don’t know when you know, there’s word choices. Well, we taught her how to do it. And I was thinking about it this morning because today I’ve already forgotten what it was. But it was a little bit tricky, whatever it was. And I thought, I wonder, you know, I wonder if I got a call from Jane because for a while she can’t. You give me a hint, which of course, we’re all kind of does do. But she hadn’t figured that out yet. And, and and I loved it when she would call just an excuse to be on the phone whether but yeah, she she’s a big grown up girl now does that call it that.


Ira Madison III Speaking of you, you just brought up Ted again and I recently was catching up on Curb Your Enthusiasm, and I love watching like you to acting together. And that led me to revisit INQ, the first show that you worked on together. It’s on YouTube. I remember it from when it aired back in the nineties. I got to see it a couple episodes and now I watched a bunch and it was so much fun to see your chemistry, you know, in the nineties versus your chemistry, you know, like on Curb or like when you guested on Mr. Mayor. What was it like working together after you’d first met and now do you have sort of more of a comfort working with each other now? Are you still able to surprise one another on set when you’re in scenes together?


Mary Steenburgen Oh, well, first, how amazing that you do that deep dive. I haven’t looked at things since. It’s really fun. I don’t we. To be honest, at that time, people were kind of weird about seeing a married couple. Even though in the show we play a divorced couple. But I didn’t get the feeling that people were rooting for us to do it. It was kind of like they they know that you’re married, so then they’re watching you play divorced and there’s already a disconnect or something. I don’t know. I don’t know what it was. It it as far as us working together, we absolutely loved it. And we’re you know, I’m very kind of snobby about acting. And my husband is such a good actor. And that’s part of what I love about him. And, you know, anyone. You know, I remember watching Robert De Niro, who’s an amazing actor. I was lucky enough to work with once. And and I remember watching him discover his own comedy chops and you could see that it invigorated and thrilled him. And the reason why is it’s so much harder than drama. It’s so much more difficult because it can’t be taught. Like, you can’t you can’t really teach someone that timing and how to be funny is just sort of ephemeral. And. And Ted is so. He just he just gets how to find that perfect little razor thin place that keeps it real, but also makes you laugh. And it’s so I love working with him because. He’s so reliably great when you and other people feel the same way. You know that I have worked with him. I mean, it’s our life is blessed with all these people that each of us have worked with. But there’s such a passion among the people that have worked with Chad. And it’s just, you know, he doesn’t disappoint. And so, yeah, I would work with him any time. But I do think it’s the thing that was great about Curb was that we sort of were playing ourselves and then some the most because we, you know, we didn’t we didn’t have a young, you know, pubescent kid at that time or, you know, we didn’t live in the house we supposedly lived in. And there were there were things that were like us and things that weren’t like us, but it was mainly in that show. You’re you’re setting up some kind of cringe worthy moment for Larry. So, yeah, it was really fun and wonderful to work together.


Louis Virtel I’m actually really heartened to hear you say you are snobbish about acting, because I was thinking is like, what is the effervescent quality I love? Like when watching Mary Steenburgen in movies and I feel there’s there’s just a sense of like, I think this ties into you being a musician, too. Like you just like love to create and and be good. Like, I feel like that energy comes off of you. And so my question is, what do you actually find frustrating while you’re trying to either act or create anything, music, etc.? What are the most frustrating parts of the actual work?


Mary Steenburgen I think. You know, I’m just so grateful that I’ve gotten to do this and that I’ve made. I’ve made my life doing this, raising children, doing this for kids, and now three grandkids that are just at the very center of my life. So no complaints. But it is it is at times. And every actor I know feels this minus maybe ten people at the very top of the food chain of actors. But if you do something, well, then then there’s this kind of texture that that’s all you do. So for a long time, I remember wanting to do comedy and people wouldn’t let me do comedy. And then now I think I I’m sort of I guess I don’t know what people think, but I kind of buy the scripts I get. They’re usually funny or quirky or it’s a weird character. I think the thing that’s important that I’ve learned, I mean, it’s it’s really important. There’s a great director, especially in film, but man, it’s writing. I recently. A friend has this amazing screening room and he and his wife do movie nights and they show Melvin Howard and I actually seen that movie on a big screen since since we made it. And it was very surreal to watch my I think it was 26 year old self and. And it was it was kind of it shook you to your core. Not because, I mean, the obvious thing would be, Oh, wow. I’m so much older. Do I wish I were that age again? And I didn’t feel that I. I felt like. What really struck me about Goldman had written such a beautiful script and that that it was such a privilege to say every line. And I remember the delight I took. And in his speech that he and he also won an Oscar the same year I did for that film. Also, Jonathan Mee, who is just this extraordinary director, had had done it, and my friend Jason Robards, who I worked with three times, and now it was our first film together. And there are just so many things that it’s like it was like looking, you know, a photo album you’d never seen before of things and people you love. It was just kind of shoot my cooler. And I think part of it is just we get used to seeing things on television or, you know, even smaller devices. And here was this like enormous screen. And I was looking into my own past and it was just a it was a big experience. I’m still kind of digesting it. It doesn’t make me want to sit around looking at my myself. You know, I don’t really watch my movies. Like once I’ve made them, I tend to leave them alone and they’re just in my memory. So that was a rare experience for me.


Ira Madison III Louis and I were literally just discussing Melvin and Howard, which by the way, is like impossible to find. But I watched yeah, I watched it in grad school. And Demi is one of my favorite directors. And I wanted to ask a bit, you know, what was it like working with him on what was maybe, I think his like fifth film where he’s still, you know, figuring out, you know, the whole Jonathan Demi thing that everyone loves to then come back and work with him again on Philadelphia and sort of see the progression of him as a director. And I’m sure Louis after that will want to know about the 1980 Oscars, everybody. So because I’m looking at what you’re up against, too. Yeah, Brett is quite a category. Yes. Yeah.


Mary Steenburgen Yeah. Well, Jonathan was remarkable. He you know that that script originally, when I first read that script, Jack Nicholson gave it to me to read. Jack was my mentor in film, and Jack Jack was sent that script to play Melvin and I. I believe it was one on a certain at that time. It was sent to him by Mike Nichols. And so Jack gave me the script as part of my tutelage. You know, he gave it to me to read as an example of a great screenplay. Well, of course I read it and went, Screw that. I can’t play that part, but I am going to do more. And and so I tracked that script and and at one point it was going to go to someone else. And and I asked if I could audition for the then director of it, which was Jonathan Demme, who I’d sort of met briefly a couple of times. And, and so I did. And I, I remember doing this audition and at the end of the scene and it was with Parliament, and I just remember the end of the scene. I just. And it was part of the scene. I just didn’t do this arbitrarily. But I reached up and gave him like the biggest, most intense kiss. And then I left. And by the time I got home, my phone was ringing. And Jonathan said, You, you have to play this. And and I did. It was it was it’s just one of those times that, you know, this really belongs to me, you know? And I cherished it and cherished working with Jonathan. I mean, he was so. Unique. He would sometimes direct in the most unique ways. Like we we had a scene where. Where my character is getting married to Melbourne and. And there have been some things, you know, that. The Zuma Corporation. And I don’t know if we were immensely welcomed into Vegas because we were telling the story of the will to Howard Hughes and there was a lot of debate about it. And that was that was not everybody’s favorite idea that we should advocate for this crazy will that was found, which by the way, we saw it. And and it was it didn’t just say I give a 16th of my money to Melvin Dummar. It listed all the people that pre the age of computers. You couldn’t possibly have researched who who was going to get this money. It was written in a pen that Howard Hughes specifically liked to use. It couldn’t be disproved by handwriting expert. There were all these things that were so sophisticated that would make you believe it was real. But there was a lot of money at stake. And there was a lot of. You know, we weren’t always welcome. And so there was a little bit of a kind of, wow, this is middleman. And I go to work and Jonathan comes in the makeup trailer in like a three piece suit with a red carnation in lapel. And I said, What? What are you doing today? And he goes, I’m going to your wedding. And and that was his direction. To me, that day was the way he was dressed, the celebratory kind of magic that he would bring to a day that might have been a little bit difficult, but not with not with him. I just adore him.


Louis Virtel We mentioned that you won an Oscar for this movie. And by the way, that awards season, I mean, nobody has stomped to victory like you did by collecting every award along the way. It’s always interesting to me when somebody wins an award like that so early in their career, because I imagine a part of you thinks, well, I guess I did it already. Like, what next? I mean, what are you supposed to do after you? You know, you clear a ceremony like that. Was the run up to the Oscar and winning it fun or stressful? How did you take it?


Mary Steenburgen Well, to be honest with you, I’d had my first child three months before that ceremony, and she was all I could think about. Yeah, I was obsessed with her. I still am. And. And she. She eclipsed him for me as much as I, of course, wanted to win. And if I were, I, I, I don’t think I would have won without the critics because the studio didn’t really believe in that movie. It was the movie. It was hard for them to figure out how to sell a movie about a so-called loser. That’s how they saw it and the character of Melvin. And they did not release that film in Europe. So for years, even still, I have people when I do interviews and stuff in Europe going, Why was that film never released over here? And my friend Phil Rosenthal that did the movie night I was describing told me it was really hard to get a hold of this, like use that as well, you know, So perhaps it’ll be somehow, you know, I just I hope it doesn’t disappear because it was it was just such independently of all of our work as actors is just such a beautiful script.


Ira Madison III We need a Demi criterion selection or something and then put it in there.


Mary Steenburgen Yes. And and it’s really kind of an amazing story about the American dream, you know, the the dream of it and and some of the realities of it. And yeah, I love doing it.


Louis Virtel Very evocative movie, by the way. I can’t really compare it to anything. It’s like a very simple story. And he’s this kind of aggressive, as you said, like loser character, but you kind of feel for him and you’re a strange character. It’s just a lot of interesting pieces in this movie.


Mary Steenburgen Yeah. Agreed.


Ira Madison III Yeah. You brought up your music earlier and I would love to hear a bit about, you know, I mean, I feel like we all sort of know the story about, you know, now you, you had a surgery and, you know, you sort of have music, you know, was in your head. What was that sort of like to first experience that? And were you first sort of like, is this new like music I can write that I’m playing in my head, or am I just hearing, I don’t know, some like Old Beach Boys album that I heard, you know, so many years ago, that won’t stop. You know.


Mary Steenburgen Look, I had this rather innocuous surgery on my right arm, and it was to remove these little. I think they’re called Pomme as they were. They’re little fatty deposits that don’t they don’t they’re not dangerous. But I’d have to either cover that or people would be very. What’s wrong with your eyes? Do you know there something on your arm, you know? And so I’m just like, damn, get rid of these things. So it wasn’t even anything I was concerned about. And but when I came out from under the, the surgery, I felt really weird, which, which I just figured that I just reacted to the anesthetic and it’ll go away. And then several days later, it had not gone away. And the the details of it were so weird and not connected to any other kind of of the few surgical experiences I’d ever had. It was it was that and it’s hard to describe this, but if you’ve never thought about the sound of your brain, like it’s just something you don’t think about. But the sound of my brain changed and it went from this kind of ultra, you know, to an over scored movie from an underscored movie. And and anything I saw, like I saw a street sign that became I remember Ted and I drove past the street called Last Like Lane and suddenly I’m writing a song called Lost like Lane, which I love, actually, it’s one of my favorites, but, but, um, so in the beginning it was disturbing. I didn’t like it. And I honestly think of it if life had timed out where I was trying to start working right then, which I wasn’t, I don’t know if I could have learned lines. I was so distracted by the weirdness and the change in in my mind. And so when I realized it wasn’t going to go away, I just started studying songwriting. I didn’t study music. I studied first just the construction of songs. And I mean, I really didn’t know much that much of a difference between a bridge and a verse. And I didn’t I hadn’t paid any attention to it. I had never been a dream of mine or anything like that. I it’s not that I suddenly got a talent. It’s that I got an obsession and a focus, and I could either try to walk away from it, although I’m not really sure how, or I could just finally say yes to it, because I said to myself, You, you know, you have four kids. You’re you have people that count on you. You have a husband that counts and you can’t you can’t go nuts. So the only other option is you got to take what you hear and make music out of it. You got to figure out how to do that. So this last like 17 years since it happened has been a process of it. And I, I write for Universal, I, I write I just came back from Nashville, Tennessee, where I write a lot. We write some country, but we write all kinds of things. For movies and TV and stuff like that. I’m working on doing the music for an animated film and I’ve learned to play badly, play the accordion and the piano. But I know that I can communicate what I hear in my head, usually on piano or just sing it. And I’m I’m writing with just these extraordinary, gifted people. And it’s a hugely important part of my life. And I have friends I never would have had without it. It’s just a and it’s cool. I’m I’m they don’t seem to care. That I’m way older than most of them. Day before yesterday, I wrote a song with my kids, a little half brother back at McDowell, Malcolm’s son. He’s 19 and we’re just at this time writing music. So it’s just. It’s just this weird thing that happened, and. And I’m grateful.


Louis Virtel God, what a strange, awesome story. I mean, it’s like I can’t think of anything else like that.


Mary Steenburgen Well, there’s a book that Dr. Oliver Sacks wrote called Music of Gillia. He sort of gave a name to people who ended up with some sort of musical obsession. And. He he wrote so many interesting books about the the Human mind. And I mean, I had a grandmother who’s extremely musical, so I feel like whatever it was, it was in there. I just didn’t have access to it. And now I do.


Louis Virtel I am curious for you how the movie Stepbrothers fits into your filmography, because I definitely have never seen you sillier than in that film.


Ira Madison III I love that movie.


Mary Steenburgen Oh, my God. I love that movie.


Ira Madison III It’s such a legacy.


Mary Steenburgen I love that movie so much. It’s so endlessly funny. That is a movie I have seen of mine. If I if I’m going through the channels and it’s there, I 100% of the time will start to watch a few minutes of it. And I gave an award recently to Adam McKay, and he reminded me, he said, Mary, when we made Step Brothers, you said to me, This is going to be the best movie you’ll ever make. And he goes, You know what, Mary? I think you might be right. And, you know, he’s made all these, like, thoughtful, thought provoking, political cool movies. But I’m telling you, when you live this many years with people coming up to you and it’s just as many women as men, young to old, you know, people just start laughing, trying to tell you how much they love this movie. You know, and Richard Jenkins and I.


Louis Virtel Who is amazing in this movie about being so funny.


Mary Steenburgen So funny. And what a what an amazing talent he is. Oh, my goodness. I have so much respect for him. But on the first day, just watching these two genius slash idiots do what they’re doing, you know? And Richard and I looked at each other because both of us are comfortable with them, but not we don’t we don’t have that thing that they have just it’s so fast. It’s so comedically gold, you know, And and we were we were so dazzled, but we were also like, what are we doing here? We both I was so comforted that everything I was feeling inside the brilliant Richard Jenkins was feeling the same. And then and then I said, you know, I think we just have to hold down the belief that two grown men are their parents and becoming best friends and whatever. We’re the ones that have to try to make that real, you know, or they don’t work, actually, if if we can’t do that. So once we kind of took the pressure off ourselves to be in any way, you know, remotely as magnificent as those two hilarious men, then we were super comfortable. And I did I did a scene, that movie with Will Ferrell. It’s when I’m driving him somewhere and he’s in the backseat, and we spent a day on this scene and we never completed it because one of us would go with one of us would try to pull it together and get us through it, and then the other one would make it right. And I think there’s a few outtakes of it somewhere. But but honestly, it was all day, and we kept begging Adam McKay to let us just go home and take his stuff. And he was just enjoying it way too much and enjoying the torture. So we were at it for hours, and I don’t think we ever did a complete check of that scene. I shouldn’t be proud of describing one out of control actor.


Louis Virtel No, I think that spontaneity, shall we say, shows up in the movie and thank God it does.


Mary Steenburgen I know there are a few spots where if you look carefully, you can see that I’m on the verge of losing it. Depp was definitely around the sleepwalking scene in the bedroom when they get us out of bed and you can see that I’m struggling.


Ira Madison III Well, I mean, thank you so much for being with us.


Mary Steenburgen Oh, my God, you guys, you’re so great. I’ve enjoyed listening to you, and it’s fun talking to you.


Ira Madison III Oh, thank you.


Louis Virtel Nothing could be more flattering than that. I went up on that for a while. All right, That’s very exciting. Thank you so much.


Mary Steenburgen You never know who’s out there listening to you. Yeah, my my husband. My husband is going to start competing with you guys because he and Woody Harrelson are going to start doing a podcast.


Louis Virtel Oh, my gosh.


Ira Madison III Wow. Okay. Well, what’s that? I mean, they can join us to help take down Smartless. Okay. Yeah.


Louis Virtel Oh, you’re gonna like team up. Okay.


Mary Steenburgen Okay. Well, it was great talking to you guys.


Louis Virtel Yes, Lovely. Mary, Thank you so much. Appreciate it so much.


Mary Steenburgen All right, Take care. Bye.




Louis Virtel Former Cincinnati mayor and I guess television host Jerry Springer died at the age of 79. I think of myself as Yale level when it comes to knowing celebrities ages. And I’m pretty shocke he was 79.


Kendra James I may have thought he was older.


Louis Virtel Really?


Ira Madison III Yeah, I actually may have thought that because he he has been ubiquitous in our lives. He’s never not been around.


Louis Virtel Right. I just feel like he’s one of those people who’s always been 53. And so, you know, time just stops for certain people and they keep going. Like Bernadette Peters, now her age is Bernadette Peters. That’s it.


Kendra James Correct.


Louis Virtel You know, some people just don’t move on on the spectrum. But anyway, he has passed away, I will say, about that show among nineties talk shows. And recently we were just dredging up Ricki Lake Show and Keep It rather meaningfully. I fucking love that show. And so did by the way, every babysitter I ever had. I think about how they’ve molded me into the person I am. A couple of things prevented me from being a stand of the Jerry Springer Show. Number one, among those talk shows, it is definitely the most male oriented. You know, like, I feel like you are the ladies stans of Jerry Springer Show. And I mean, I say this like they would have like kind of put any women on the show and, you know, women who like ripping their tops off and stuff. But like, did women really love this show?


Kendra James I can’t think of it. Now that you’re saying that. I can’t think of any I it was more common for me because I the only place I interacted with Jerry Springer or any kind of daytime talk show really was at the hair salon. And so it was more common for the women at my hair salon to turn on, say, like a Steve Wilkos.


Louis Virtel Yeah.


Kendra James Than it was if we had a if we had a choice between Maury, Jerry Springer and Wilkos, it was going to go Maury Will Coach Springer.


Louis Virtel Yeah. First of all, the sartorial choices of Maury Povich were much more comforting to me, the way he would always.


Kendra James Say more.


Louis Virtel You know, like a kind of mock black turtleneck with black jeans. Very Cary Grant at home that I can roll with.


Kendra James That’s a very similar to like Montel, who is.


Louis Virtel Very Montel.


Kendra James Yes. Oh, he’s always has a nice sweater.


Louis Virtel Yes. Right. Yeah. Quiet dignity of that. The thing about Jerry Springer was so as crazy as an episode of his show would get the craziness, never had anything to do with Jerry. He might pop in with a droll aside the way Pat Sajak does on Wheel of Fortune. And, by the way, God among Republicans, guys, he really is fucking hilarious. I didn’t think it was possible. I didn’t think it was possible. But the weird thing about Jerry Springer Show is as things would intensify and, you know, whatever Klan members are throwing chairs at, you know, actual Jewish people or whatever is happening on this show in an ugly, extreme way, people would then scream Jerry’s name, you know, and he literally is kind of just standing idly by. It’s so weird to me what people were rooting for. And Jerry, while watching the show, because they loved his one sort of ironic detachment from what was occurring, his unshakable nature. But then additionally, it was like, I almost can’t explain it. He didn’t do a lot on that show and people stanned that.


Kendra James So it’s so interesting that you’re saying this because again, I didn’t have much interaction with the show. And for me, that chant of Jerry, Jerry that is distinctly associated with like fights, I assume that they’re chanting that as a fight is happening and they’re chanting for him to break up a fight.


Louis Virtel Oh, I think, wow, you really your faith in the human race is astounding. You’re giving Malala right now.


Kendra James Oh, thank you. Thank you. Because, like, yeah, that is kind of what I thought that that chant meant. But so they’re just chanting it because they’re excited to be there.


Louis Virtel Right. They’ve got to scream something. And Jerry is like the warlord of it. What’s interesting is I’ve heard several stories about how he’s like a kind of a brilliant, knowledgeable person, even casually. And it’s not that I don’t believe that, but when he gave quotes about this show, he would routinely like kind of jokingly apologize for it, say things like, I hope hell isn’t too hot, like I burn easily. And I find that a little sheepish and not quite respectable, Like he just truly never owned the show.


Kendra James Oh, you want him diving into the fray?


Louis Virtel Yeah. I would love him being like, No, we need this show for this reason. I mean, that would be an astounding thing to say. But it’s one of those things where when that show started, it began as a mostly political show. Right. And then, as you know, the ratings dips. Can you believe it? They thought, well, what if people were injured on air? What if it became you know, what if we had to blur out every other frame? There’s something in fact, Jerry Springer is the definitive show where when you were flipping channels in front of your parents, oh, you had in the nineties.


Kendra James You had to run.


Louis Virtel You better hope you don’t get even a millisecond on that screen. No.


Kendra James Oh, I would have heard about it for days. And then like even watching like if I had been caught watching Jerry Springer, I think then like four days afterwards I would have been regulated to PBS only and we didn’t have cable. So like it would have been like I wasn’t even wouldn’t have even been allowed to watch like Fox Kids after school.


Louis Virtel Wow. And what if.


Kendra James I had stopped.


Louis Virtel There? You’d be watching Zoom and Zoom alone.


Kendra James Yes, I was. I wasn’t even allowed to watch like Batman the Animated Series.


Louis Virtel Oh, it is a pretty dark show.


Kendra James Yeah, That was outlawed for me in my house.


Louis Virtel What? When you were sick at home, which is, I guess, how a lot of people became Jerry Springer fans, though I also remember seeing it late at night. You probably syndicated.


Kendra James It would come on WB at like 1 a.m. too This was like towards more like middle school or high school.


Louis Virtel For me. Yeah I’m thinking of things like Wild on E or the Howard Stern Show and there was just that whole I’ll call it dicey block of television that began around then.


Kendra James Yeah, that’s when I turn to I turn to lock up on MSNBC at that point. That was my late night viewing.


Louis Virtel That was that sort of predates the like Murdery podcast world. Does it not?


Kendra James Yeah, that is where I learned about Joe Arpaio like years before anyone was talking about him. Wow. Yeah, I was I was in I knew.


Louis Virtel So during the day you’re sick yeah, what’s on TV?


Kendra James If I’m sick at home during the day? My mom was a soap opera person. She would record them on VHS and then Mike would watch them throughout the week. So if, if I was watching live television, it was usually one of those. And then I guess like, yeah, I would go around. I remember Oprah came on at four, I believe on ABC. Three was maybe like I would watch, um, oh, there was another talk show that came on before her that I would like sort of dip in and out of, but I can’t remember what it is now. But yeah, that was the kind of stuff I was watching. I was watching like an Oprah. I was watching a Tiny Toon Adventure.


Louis Virtel Oh, of course. Yes. Yeah.


Kendra James I was watching a Bobby’s World, which my mom also didn’t like because she didn’t like Howie Mandel.


Louis Virtel Oh, wow. And she sussed that out through the vocals.


Kendra James Just like truly, now that I’m thinking about it, the things that I was and was not allowed to watch were arbitrary at best.


Louis Virtel Oh no. I grew up in a very Catholic household that is now a much looser Catholic household, shall we say, and I wasn’t allowed to watch The Simpsons. It remains a blind spot for me.


Kendra James I so I, I was not allowed to watch The Simpsons and Vacation Bible School one year I got a Simpsons CD. It had a Homer sings the blues on it. It was like a jazz parody C.D. And I got that. And that was the only piece of that was the only Simpsons reference I had. And I knew all those songs and no one else knew what the fuck I was talking about.


Louis Virtel Right.


Kendra James At all.


Louis Virtel There’s something about The Simpsons where obviously it’s still on the air. It’s like, if Animaniacs never left the air, like there’s like what it’s supposed to appeal to in terms of like reference based comedy or just like the levels, like it’s, it, it remains smart in a certain way, which I just, as I, I associate with throwback culture. Like, I just don’t feel like we really have that anymore. I’m going to answer this question with something rather obvious, but I the Price is Right as a television so is so important to me. And I think like the Jerry Springer Show, like all these talk shows that actually survived, the key thing about them is they never changed. Right? It’s like no matter where you are, let’s say you don’t get sick for a couple of years and you don’t see these shows. You still know when you turn it on again, that contestant’s row is going to be red, blue, orange and green, that the Plinko board is going to be that high with that font, which, by the way, both of those things were ripped off of the show, The Wall. And nobody will explain it to me when you turn on The Wall. It’s a giant plinko board.


Kendra James Oh, The Wall. That’s okay. That’s the one that comes out before SNL. Yeah. So I always see the last 3 minutes of it when I’m watching us in Alive. And it’s horrifying. It is just that terrible man start sort of like talking to middle class people about like, how terrible they’re live. He has to give like a long speech before they’re allowed to find out whether they’ve won the money or not. Right. And it’s very bleak. I find it to be a very bleak and dark show as he just lectures them about how hard their lives have been and. Whether or not they’re going to get this money.


Louis Virtel Game shows adopted that American Idol thing. If you’re going to audition in front of us, you have to tell us how hard your life has been and you have to repeat it several times so we don’t forget.


Kendra James Yes.


Louis Virtel Deal or No Deal was a big part of of pushing this. Yes.


Kendra James Going back to sort of those those game shows, I forgot, because once we did get cable, I was a big TV Land girly. And so during the day, if I was home, I was watching. It was TV Land and Game Show Network. Game Show Network as it originally was.


Louis Virtel We could do a whole episode about how Game Show Network has changed and gone up and down, and there are a couple of shows I like on it now. I like America Says I like they have a new version of an old game show called Split Second that I’m actually loving right now, not just because I have friends who are producers on it, but the trivia is good. But like Once upon a time it was really a good tutorial about television of the sixties and seventies. Like you would see everything from Hollywood Squares to match game.


Kendra James I loved Card Shark.


Louis Virtel Card Sharks is great.


Kendra James I love the one where the the slappy man which I still like.


Louis Virtel Press Your Luck.


Kendra James Yeah Press Your Luck. I switch that on Saturday morning sometimes now.


Louis Virtel And obviously there’s the Elizabeth Banks version now but there’s something about press your luck that is so coke eighties Yeah you know just like like like I. I marvel at that show if people remember it because one animated wammies would just take your money and you would have to sit there as they like, you know, dance to Billie Jean while taking her money. It’s like a crazy show. But then also the contestants were so excitable and so irrepressible, so thrilled to be there. I want to know what the producers did. I truly don’t get it. Coke. Yeah. I mean, you know, it’s just like it. It’s like we’ve both been on Jeopardy. It’s like people can win a ton of money on that show and you almost never see them react. Right? You know, because they’re on TV, they’re self-conscious. Yeah. You know, and on this show, the opposite was true. I just don’t. I don’t get it. Yeah.


Kendra James No, I’m thinking about, like, now, like, my ultimate favorite. The one that makes my husband nod every time I sit around and watch it is Match Game. And those people, like, they’re so calm as they’re telling their life stories to that host and they’re just so relaxed. And it’s so weird because, like, they’re interacting with all of these celebrities and they’re really not showing how excited they are. And I got to assume it’s a big deal for them, right?


Louis Virtel I want to say I match game. If you’re a contestant, there’s something relaxing about the fact that, you know, the celebrities are doing the heavy lifting like the host is going to go to them not just for funny answers, but for like bad analogy about their lives. And if we’re talking about like the seventies one with Charles Nelson Reilly, one of the great gay TV personalities ever, Brett Somers, Betty White was, of course, featured on Match Game. Those people could talk and talk and talk. They were basically hosting a podcast in the middle of the show. A very.


Kendra James Good comparison, actually.


Louis Virtel You know.


Kendra James Oh God, I love Match Game. I just like, Want to go home? Uncle Arthur from Bewitched.


Louis Virtel Paul Lynn.


Kendra James Paul Lynn is like, just I was a six year old who loved Paul.


Louis Virtel Oh, yes. Paul Lynde became the center square on Hollywood Squares, by the way. That’s a show that should be brought back.


Kendra James Agreed. We did well, so I watched.


Louis Virtel Hip Hop Squares?  Oh that was the 90s one


Kendra James I really, really liked that one. And I don’t know why we haven’t. Is it too expensive?


Louis Virtel I would I would love to know. But the name Bruce Vilanch lives on because people saw him on Hollywood Squares and he was hilarious on that show. Caroline Ray, a great panelist on Yeah, it’s just a good place to put nine people who are legitimately funny. I guess The new At Midnight reboot, we’re getting old contains a little bit of that. And in that the funny people get to be funny. But also I believe there’s a staff of writers who are giving them funny answers in case they don’t want to bring them.


Kendra James And also it will be the same ten people that you can hear on every podcast that records in L.A..


Louis Virtel That’s correct, right? Natasha Leggero we look forward to seeing both of you, tweet both of us about Kendra. Me if you have daytime things we’re totally forgetting about. But really the game shows and the old television were really it for me.


Kendra James Yeah, that, that and then the smattering of cartoons. Animaniacs hysteria, Pinky and the Brain.


Louis Virtel Precisely. Yes. Nicely. We’ll be right back with Keep It. Now, Kendra is one of the most dignified people I know, but welcome to Keep It the segment of Keep It where we’re mean and resentful about things and tell somebody or someone to Keep It.


Kendra James It’s not unusual for me to be mean and resentful, but I’ll see how I do compared to you guys, professionals.


Louis Virtel Okay, good. Well, you’re invited. Thank you. I’ll start. My Keep It is twofold. My first Keep It is to my least favorite kind of reboot thing in the world. And that says a lot because we reboot, you know, every superhero in existence. That’s annoying to me. Christopher Robin, R-rated hybrid comedy series in the works. Let me tell you what this is. The world is developing Christopher Robin, an R-rated comedic reimagining of A. A. Milne’s beloved characters Christopher Robin and Winnie the Pooh as a television series. First of all, we just got that Winnie the Pooh horror movie this year, this low budget, like hundred thousand dollar movie, which apparently some people enjoy. The public domain should. I’m sorry. I now believe in things like dictatorial control. Some people shouldn’t be entitled to it. I don’t want like in the same way that we get like a Peter Pan reboot every year. And you know, the movie Pan, for example, not that inspired. It’s just the least imaginative version of a spin on this thing possible. Like you thought it was positive and upbeat. No, it’s not. You know, it has the feeling of when somebody writes a comedy pilot to get hired as a writer and they’re like, in this version of the middle. Patricia Heaton goes to hell. You know, it’s like something zany you write so that somebody who who thinks you’re an off the wall writer gets you hired on some sitcom. It’s just a contrived, very mid 2000s idea of novel. I cannot stand it.


Kendra James Yeah. I also don’t I don’t understand why we would need that big Disney movie that they made the Christopher Robin one with Ewan McGregor. That made me SOB.


Louis Virtel Right.


Kendra James And I don’t need anything past that.


Louis Virtel That was a sad tale. Yes. And Ewan McGregor, very good at onscreen melancholy. You know, it was such a good movie that nobody ever talks about. I Love You, Philip Morris. Have you ever seen that movie?


Kendra James Not in forever.


Louis Virtel With Jim Carrey.


Kendra James Yes.


Louis Virtel Very good. I was very surprised by that movie. And then also, I’m going to give a Keep It, unfortunately, to John Molina’s new special. Oh, no. Yes. His new special, Baby J. Obviously Towns comedian. Somebody I want to see. There’s like a reliable intelligence to him. That’s a lot of fun. I felt he was just skimming the surface of his addiction years and the problems he’s had that are obviously well documented in the media by this point. But it just felt a bit cursory. I didn’t feel like we were getting an intimate look at a problem, and I felt like he told us four stories that are all. I’m glad he had the kind of courage to talk about them, but they’re sort of traditional things that would happen if you’re an addict. Like he tells us this story that’s that hinges on the shock value of it occurring, of how he pawned a watch he had just bought in order to buy, to get money to buy drugs. And I felt like we were supposed to be too scandalized by that story when like, no, we’re like all adults, too. We know what desperation is. We know that, like, you know, people are going to resort to, you know, crazy things in order to, you know, feed an addiction. And I wish there was a little bit more trust in the audience that we, too, could relate to that, even though not everybody watching is an addict.


Kendra James Yeah, I kind of expected him to come back with a little more depth. I haven’t watched it yet, and that’s why I was excited because, you know, it’s like the it was the special that you put out after you’ve had such public drama. Such a public falling out is something to be excited for. It’s why we were or some of us were very excited, I think, for the Chris Rock special as well, because we really felt like we were going to get some depth there that ultimately did not exist.


Louis Virtel Right.


Kendra James So that’s pretty disappointing to hear.


Louis Virtel I have to say, I never thought this would be me. I just crave watching standup less. When I was growing up, that used to be like the definitive art form for me, you know, kind of like the blues of comedy. Here comes somebody like, you know, giving everything of themselves. Like you learn something personal about the depth of people, and maybe it’s just like being inundated with more points of view now and realizing that, you know, kind of anybody can be funny and kind of anybody can like divulge intimate details and really engross you that I just I crave it less. It feels like that button button is routinely hit for me. I’m waiting for a standup special I really love again.


Kendra James We might be waiting for a while.


Louis Virtel Kendra, what is your Keep It this week?


Kendra James My Keep It is so stupid. So as we all know, writers are now on strike. We’re going to be watching a lot more reality television. I feel like.


Louis Virtel Oh, yes, the 2007 memories are flooding back.


Kendra James Oh, boy. Yes. So there’s a show that I watch right now. Anyway, it’s called Love after Lock Up. It has several spinoffs as well. There’s one called Life after Lock Up, and there’s one called Love During Lock Up. So it airs on We TV. It has three different shows that are all airing at basically one right after another they start. This show has been airing for years and years and years, and they cannot figure out how to properly label the seasons of the shows. It is so frustrating. So right now we’re on like the ninth, the 30th episode of season four, but Season four has been going on for like two years now.


Louis Virtel Oh, my God, You live in this show?


Kendra James Yeah, so I live in it. But we technically should be on like a season six because we’ve moved, we’ve introduced new characters, we’ve moved past storylines, certain things are done. So I just need them to straighten this out as they’re going to, I’m sure, be pumping out more and more. This is up. It’s an unending resource. There are always going to be idiots sending tens of thousands of dollars to women in jail. That’s just where America we have. It’s not a finite resource here. So I need them to figure that out, especially as more and more people, I suspect you’re going to be jumping on these bandwagons. Make it easy for the for your new customers. You’re going to be getting a lot of them in. Figure out how to label your seasons.


Louis Virtel Just to be clear. Yeah. So there’s Life After Lockup?


Kendra James Yes.


Louis Virtel Before.


Kendra James So there’s Love During Lockup? Yes, Love After Lockup. Life After Lockup.


Louis Virtel We are really There’s no other time options left.


Kendra James No, that. They’ve covered it all. They’ve covered. You’re meeting them while they’re in jail and you’re sending the money. You are meeting them in Love After Lockup. You’re meeting them as they get out of the jail. You’re going to go pick them up and you’re starting your life together. And then in Life After Lock Up, you’ve already sort of been established for a while and you’re just living life and dealing with addiction and getting abortions on television and doing like all it’s actually yeah, I like it because I feel like it shows a side of life that you don’t often see if you’re not someone that you’re having to interact with the system of incarceration in America. But also it’s really stupid and fun and I love it. And there’s a woman named India who got spiritually married.


Louis Virtel There was somebody named Indiana. So I was just going to bring up Big Brother where it reminds me of, if you want to, you can just give your entire life to this one series of shows, you know? I mean, like like that’s its own pop culture unto itself. And if you look for it on Twitter, it’s for some people all they talk about, right? So you can really lose yourself. It’s like a cult.


Kendra James And well, what’s crazy is Matt Sharp, who produces this series of show. So guess what else he does? All of the 90 day fiance is like, oh, his this man is rake. I have given this man so much money he David Zaslav it should be Matt Sharp at the top.


Louis Virtel Yeah wow.


Kendra James Of Max.


Louis Virtel I’m getting like David Geffen, Aaron Spelling vibes. This person just like mastermind of an entire hemisphere of our brain. Basically at this.


Kendra James Point we only talk about Andy. We don’t talk about Matt, we don’t talk about Mona Scott Young. There are others out there.


Louis Virtel Oh, my God. Okay, well, I’m afraid to start. I feel like I won’t stop. This is why. This is what prevents me from really beginning Housewives. I’m like, Well, I guess it’ll just be the end of my life.


Kendra James Well, I ran into you at High Tops the other day, which tells me that you could get it into Beverly Hills.


Louis Virtel You think so?


Kendra James Yeah. Sutton’s there all the time. You’re going to run into her in the wild.


Louis Virtel Right. Yeah.


Kendra James You might as well be watching the show.


Louis Virtel Okay. Okay. Oh, God. Embracing myself now. Kendra, thank you so much for joining us.


Kendra James Of course. Thank you for having me. I’m sorry I didn’t do the homework.


Louis Virtel Say what, please? Your Met gala knowledge was it was Jeopardy level, as it should be, because I believe they will call you back soon.


Louis Virtel I lost twice. I’m happy to go back and lose a third time.


Louis Virtel That’s Keep It. But thank you to the amazing Mary Steenburgen for such a fabulous interview. I hope you guys loved it as much as we love talking to her. Send us your Met gala opinions because I don’t think I’m done thinking about it either.


Kendra James No. No.


Louis Virtel And we’ll see you next week.


Ira Madison III Don’t forget to follow us at Crooked Media on Instagram and Twitter and subscribe to Keep It on YouTube for access to full episodes and other exclusive content. Plus, if you’re as opinionated as we are, consider dropping us a five star review on your podcast platform of choice. Keep It is a Crooked Media production. Our senior producer is Kendra James. Our producer is Chris Lord, and our associate producer is Malcolm Whitfield. Our executive producers are Ira Madison, the third. That’s me. And Louis Virtel. This episode was recorded and mixed by Evan Sutton. Thank you to our digital team, Matt DeGroot, Nar Melkonian and Delon Villanueva for production support every week. And as always, Keep It is filmed in front of a live studio audience.