As a talented interview, Mario Lopez is able to have some of the most amazing and interesting conversations with everyone he speaks to - that's why he now has his own podcast! It's called Listen To Mario and there've already been six episodes. So far, the guests have included Mario's Saved By The Bell cast mate Mark-Paul Gosselaar, political activist Candace Owens, A Bronx Tale actor Lillo Broncato, life coach Stefanie Ziev and actor Danny Abesckaser. If you haven't heard the episodes yet, we've got you covered. Check out what you missed in each below, or give 'em a listen here:
Episode 1: Mark-Paul Gosselaar
In the debut episode of Listen To Mario, "Zack Morris" and "A.C. Slater" reunite as Mario chats with his old Saved By The Bell costar, Mark-Paul Gosselaar. During their unfiltered stroll through memory lane, Mario and Mark-Paul catch up on life and talk about marriage, kids, politics, guns, Jiu Jitsu, Mark-Paul’s new show The Passage, and more! Here are just a few of the topics touched upon in the ep:
- Perms, mullets and Sun In… Mario & Mark-Paul give the origin stories of their infamous hairdos while they reminisce on their Saved By The Bell days.
- When Mark-Paul first auditioned for Saved By The Bell, he had just come back from a Marine military academy where he had shaved all of his hair off and had cut out all of the blonde highlights he naturally had. Before his audition, his mom bleached his hair and the producers wanted to keep it! From then on, he and Mario (Mario’s mom permed his mullet for his audition) spent hours in the salon chair.
- There’s no doubt Saved By the Bell was a huge success, but you’d be surprised by how much they got paid. Mario and Mark-Paul explain how each season, they thought they were going to get cancelled to Bugs Bunny.
- When not on set, Mario reveals how he used to try to drag Mark-Paul out with him while he was playing the field, but Mark-Paul didn’t do a ton of dating. Instead, MP met his first wife, Lisa, on the set of Saved By The Bell: The College Years, marrying her at age 22.
- He tells Mario that the marriage didn’t work out because he was living in a bubble and had a lot more growing up to do.
- After the divorce, Mark-Paul wasn’t reluctant to get re-married (to his Scottish wife, Catriona McGinn). The couple met through mutual friends while Mark-Paul was playing on the beach with his kids.
- “My son immediately (he was six at the time) had a huge crush on her – he just latched onto her and that was it”. They were married in a beautiful wedding with bagpipes (but no kilt for MP).
- Later, Mark-Paul and Mario go on to discuss how different their careers would be if they were transitioning from their STB characters to new mature roles in today’s day and age. Back then, there was a huge divide between TV and film actors.
- Up until NYPD Blue, Gosselaar had a hard time shaking off "Zack Morris" when trying to get other roles. There were a lot of haters when it was announced that Mark was joining the show.
- Although he constantly thinks about getting out of the business every year (he wants to try to pass the bar exam and move out of LA), nowadays, you can watch MP on Fox’s new thriller The Passage.
Episode 2: Candace Owens
If there’s one thing you should know about Listen to Mario, it’s that this podcast is a side of Mario you haven’t seen before. Things turn political when he sits down with Candace Owens, the fierce leader behind Blexit and a correspondent for Turning Point.
Before she made her way onto television screens, Candace had no interest in politics. She reveals to Mario that she didn’t even vote in the 2016 elections – but she did cry when Obama won! So what sparked her interest in politics? Donald Trump. Even though she didn’t want Trump to win, Candace saw the then-respected celebrity business mogul being slandered as racist, misogynistic and every other label under the sun within a short time span. From then on, Candace saw the media in a different light.
And being vocal is how she ended up getting a pair of Yeezys from Kanye himself! She tells Mario, that although the Yeezys are cool (she’s wearing them during the podcast), Kanye tweeting about her was the breakthrough her career needed. Soon after, people were researching and tweeting her; this was the platform she was ready to stand on.
Next up, Candace explains her notorious movement – Blexit (not to be confused with Brexit, but definitely inspired by it). According to Candace, “Blexit is the black exit from the democratic party, from independents, and for progressive principles that are yielding regressive results in the black community.”
According to Candace, there’s the regular Super Bowl and then there’s the Super Bowl of Stupid. The Democrats already have a long list of presidential candidates and they don’t seem to be slowing down, which is why Candace can’t wait to go to the Democratic National Convention for the second Super Bowl of 2020. Although she hopes Hilary will run for a third time, she’s got her money on former Texas congressman Beto O’Rourke to be the Democratic candidate.
When Mario asks her where she sees herself in ten years, she immediately shuts down running for any political office. What she wishes for the American people is that we go back to having honor, respect and reverence, and not having voters act from a fear-based personality
If you want to learn more about Candace, check her out on her official site, here.
Episode 3: Lillo Brancato
Ahhh, the sweet sound of a New York accent. Yonkers-native Lillo Broncato sits down with Mario to talk about his fairytale way of getting into the entertainment industry and how he quickly fell victim to the Hollywood lifestyle.
Adopted from Columbia, Lillo was raised by Italian immigrants 20 minutes away from New York City. One day while playing volleyball at Jones Beach, he was scouted for a role in Robert De Niro’s directorial debut, A Bronx Tale. Still in high school, Lillo had never acted a day in his life. After rounds of callbacks, he got the role of "Calogero," Robert De Niro’s son in the movie.
Filming A Bronx Tale turned Lillo’s life around fast. He tells Mario that while filming, he had three fathers. His real one, De Niro, and Chazz Palminteri.
After filming wrapped, the Hollywood lifestyle soon took over. Lillo spent his days partying and snorting heroin. According to Mario, Lillo’s life turned into the plot of A Bronx Tale – a wasted opportunity.
Within a few years, Lillo was arrested for manslaughter and burglary. Lillo ended up spending 8 years behind bars. During this time, he had his highs and lows. From overdosing during his first year to getting his Associate’s degree!
It’s been 10 years since Lillo was released from jail and he is officially off parole. With a somewhat clean legal record, Lillo has been practicing sobriety for the past 12 years. Nowadays, he uses his past mistakes to help others.
To keep up with Lillo follow him on Instagram here, and see him in The Fury when it hits theaters later this year.
Episodes 4 and 5: Life Coach Stefanie Ziev
Entertainment executive turned life coach Stefanie Ziev talks with Mario about her journey in the television business and how her career took an unexpected turn for the better.
Mario and Stefanie first met on the set of Husband for Hire, a romantic-comedy produced by Oxygen. At the time, Stefanie was the executive in charge but felt like something was missing in her life. She loved her Oxygen family but she sensed that their values were changing from hers (she was even banned from attending meetings for Bad Girls Club because her only suggestions was that they were degrading women). Fast forward a couple years later, she went to a career counselor to see what direction she wanted to go in. After a few sessions, and a breakup with her then-boyfriend, Stefanie left LA for the Big Apple to pursue a career in life coaching.
Now, Stefanie is coaching executives in all different fields. Don’t get it twisted though, unlike Billions on Showtime, Stefanie does not work with anyone corrupt and hasn’t been gifted a million dollar car.
Stefanie gives her five steps to achieving your resolutions, a.k.a. The Five Re’s. In order to have a goal, you first must consider the why. According to Stefanie, once you understand the deeper version of the goal, you will then be able to implement it into your lifestyle. Now that the goal is set up you can achieve it! The Five Re’s are: revisit, revise, reconnect, recommit, and respond. These things are your keys to success!
Then, in episode five, Stefanie gives Mario some advice. Throughout their talk, Mario explains how he has a fear of failure and mortality. His Saved by the Bell days might be over, but he still feels 25 at heart.
Right now, Mario thinks he is "burning the candle at both ends," because he is constantly in the "doing" mode. Stefanie explains that he keeps himself busy to hide from his fear of being a failure to himself and his family. Luckily for him, Stefanie has the antidote to fear. She explains, “If you know what you want and you know why you want it then you can start to take action.”
The pair continue on to discuss how to better manage this guilt in order to reach a "sigh of relief" moment that lasts longer than 2 minutes. Stefanie recommends meditation apps such as Headspace, Calm, and Happy Not Perfect.
Episode 6: Danny A
Longtime friend Danny Abesckaser, better known as Danny A, stops by the studio to talk about his life went from Israeli-born New York club promoter to working on set with stars like Robert De Niro.
Moving to Brooklyn at the age of nine without knowing a lick of English can be quite difficult – but Danny A was able to adapt to his surroundings. He adapted so well that less than a decade later, he started working as a well-known club promoter – without even knowing what a club promoter is!
After a few years of being the man in the nightlife scene, Danny A thought it was time to get his big break. Before flying out to Hollywood, Page Six posted a story that he was leaving, and according to Danny, if Page Six says it, then he’s gotta do it! This push is what ignited the fire in him to pursue his dreams.
Through all of the obstacles, he finally made it to the big leagues after an appearance at Sundance with his film Club Life, which you can check out here. With DJs and producers alike knocking on his door, life for Danny has been a whirlwind ever since!
To wrap it all up, Danny A tells Mario all about his most recent project, The Irishman. Although we don’t know much yet, Danny reflects on a time on set when Robert De Niro randomly punched him in the face. Most people would be in pain, but according to Danny A, it was the happiest experience of his life.
Although he has a small role, you can see Danny A when The Irishman hits theaters this fall.
Check out all the episodes of Listen to Mario here, and keep an eye out for new ones!