Welcome to Influencers!
My name is Jon Levy. I’m a Human Behavioral Scientist. I’ve learned that the fundamental element that defines the quality of our lives are the people we surround ourselves with and the conversations we have with them. Every episode of Influencers, we meet two inspiring and influential people who are shaping our culture and changing their industry. Together, we will discover what led to their success and how you can impact yours.
There’s a catch, the second interview is anonymous. If you can figure out who it is before we reveal it in the following podcast, you could win a coveted invitation to the Influencer Salon. The winner will have an opportunity to spend an evening meeting the most important tastemakers and thought leaders in our culture. Now, prepare to be influenced.
Listen To The Podcast Here:
Influencers Podcast – An Introduction
Thank you for joining me for the first ever episode of Influencers. For the past eight years, I’ve made it my career to bring together some of the most extraordinary people in our culture. I started a secret dining experience where twelve people are invited at a time. They are not allowed to talk about what they do or give their last name. They cook dinner together and when they sit down to eat, everybody gets to guess what everybody else does. As a byproduct, I have had the absolute pleasure of sitting and talking to some of the most extraordinary people in our culture, ranging from Nobel Laureates and Olympic medalists to members of royalty and editors-in-chief of the top magazines in the world.
Out of that, one of the things I committed to doing was creating this podcast. I felt that the wisdom of my guests, their experience, knowledge and stories were something that needed to be shared and that hopefully, by understanding what they went through and how their career was created, it could possibly impact the lives of anybody who would listen.
Welcome to the first episode of Influencers, a podcast dedicated to all of us, to better understand what it is that could positively impact our lives and create our success. Occasionally, as I’m a Behavioral Scientist, you’ll see me sprinkle in research that either are done by my colleagues, myself, or some of those brilliant minds of the past hundred years. You’ll discover the way to implement this research so it actually impacts your life. It’s where the rubber meets the road.
Now, what we are going to do is hear an anonymous interview with one of my former guests. If you can figure out who they are between now and the next episode and submit your guesses, you could win an invitation to The Salon.
The Salon is a cultural event from between 60-100 people where we have three famous speakers speak and often a musical act will perform. When guests arrive, they are not allowed to talk about what they do or give their last name. They enjoy conversation and cocktails, then the presentations begin. We could have brilliant minds like Bill Nye the Science Guy, sharing about his book on evolution, or Bjarke Ingels, the famed architect, talking about design, followed by an incredible performance by one of the former Roots, Rahzel, two-time Grammy Award winning artist.
Everybody we’ve reached probably my favorite part of our podcast, which is when we introduce an anonymous guest. Now, you have an opportunity to listen to our guest’s answers. If you can figure out who this guest is between the end of this podcast and the release of the next one, you can win an invitation to The Salon. Without further ado, it is my absolute pleasure to welcome Laraine on to the show.
Anonymous Guest Interview
Laraine, thank you so much for being here.
Thank you for having me, Jon.
As you know, we are going to keep this part anonymous, but let’s dive a little bit into giving the audiences some clues. Where did you grow up? What’s a little bit of your back story?
I grew up in Los Angeles, California, and actual native, and a second generation native. My dad was born in LA in 1916. I love LA.
As you were growing up, was there a teacher and experience that really inspired you to do what you do now?
In high school, I had two teachers that inspired me in different ways. I had an English teacher who’s also a Rabbi. I don’t know how he found the time for that, but he was my literature teacher. We were studying I think crime and punishment. A lot of it was discussion, which was fantastic. I think he encouraged my intellectual curiosity and affirmed me in ways that I hadn’t been in the past. Then, of course, our drama teacher, which just taught a lot of people who went on to become pretty successful in the field. When he retired, he became a pretty successful actor himself.
Can you give me a few examples of your fellow classmates or even what your teacher went on to achieve?
I know that when I was coming in, Richard Dreyfuss was just graduating, as did Rob Reiner and Albert Brooks as well. They all went to the high school. Two grades above me was Joanna Gleason who was in all the musicals. It was clear, that was her trajectory.
Who was your teacher?
His name was John Ingle. He did spots in really edgy comedies and I think he had a running role on a day time soap opera.
You’ve had a pretty wild career. From what I can tell, you’ve had varying sections of it where you have done incredibly different things. Is there a certain part of it that you’re really most proud of?
I really think that the animation work is the most challenging because I started out running my own material and doing characters that I came up with. In animation, you see a drawing and you have to imbue that drawing with a life, a sound, and an attitude. You give them some hints, obviously. When you bring them to life and when it’s on a series over a period of years where you get a chance to develop those characters, that is probably some of the most gratifying work I’ve done.
Are there any characters that were your favorites?
I like doing all the mothers on Metalocalypse, which was a Cartoon Network show about this heavy metal band and how stupid they were and all of their back stage issues and events. It was a very bizarre show but very, very funny. I did in Nickelodeon a series called As Told by Ginger, which one of the few things that addressed clean issues. I played the mother on that. Now, there are a couple of characters I do in a Netflix series called Dawn of the Croods. Again, this is a situation where I was going to do drawing and had to come up with a voice for it. Different people offer different things, so I was very happy to find something that they liked. I keep scoring with that character, which is very gratifying. Because when you get laughs, they write more for you. Also, I am really excited to be doing Guillermo del Toro’s Trollhunters, which is also on Netflix.
If you could have anybody play you in the movie of your life, who would it be and why?
It would probably be my daughter. She looks a lot like me but she’s funnier that I am.
Is there a song or movie that represents your life?
Different stages of my life. I think in my early twenties, the Eagles’ song, Bitter Creek, probably represented me. Movie, I don’t know. The question is so broad. You would have to have different movies represent different stages in one’s life.
Let’s take a look at the crazier, wilder things that you have done. Is there something that you did that really made you feel you pushed your boundaries, a dare, a bet or a stunt, maybe it even caused some of your success?
That lead to my success? Because there are certainly a lot of dares and stunts that I did that were stupid, but for the sake of the challenge. One was actually being in Japan with a bunch of guys who were razzing me about this thing that they were taking out of a fish tank and stunning and putting on some rice. They dared me to eat it, and I had to. In my life, I knew I wasn’t going to college, so I left home. I had auditioned for the theater schools in London, Royal Academy, London Academy and Bristol Old Vic. They all have a preliminary audition where they accept a certain amount of people. The final one is in England. I made this preliminary test for all three schools. I ended up going to England to do the final auditions and did not get in to any of them. I had been studying mime and improv since I was sixteen. I went to Paris and ended up studying mime with Marcel Marceau, which I was scared to shit to do because I really would have rather not be challenged. I am a coward that way.
I don’t believe that for a second because you have done such wild things over your career. You are absolutely not a coward. I’m not willing to accept that. You’ve gotten up in front of countess human beings on a weekly basis and throw yourself out there, regardless of if you were ready or not. Week after week. That’s definitely not a coward’s way out. What hint or riddle would you give people to figure out who you are? I think we’ve given them quite a few this time.
To my audiences, you’ve gotten more clues than you could possibly need to figure out who Laraine is. You have between now and the next episode to figure it out. Put in your guesses and one of you will win a chance to attend The Salon. Good luck.
This is Jon Levy. Thank you for listening to Influencers. If you think you know who our anonymous guest is, head to our website at www.InfluencersPodcast.com. Submit your guess before we reveal their identity for a chance to win an invitation to The Salon. Until next time, always remember, with great influence comes great responsibility.