John Mellencamp gets deep into family dynamics on Bill Maher's 'Club Random'

'People wanting their parents' approval, that never even dawned on me'
 John Mellencamp
John Mellencamp Photo credit Larry Busacca/Getty Images
By , Audacy

This week on Club Random with Bill MaherRock and Roll and Songwriters Hall of Famer John Mellencamp joins the program to get themselves all caught up after losing each other's numbers for a stretch of time.

LISTEN NOW: Club Random with Bill Maher | John Mellencamp

Photo credit Club Random with Bill Maher

Kicking off the conversation, Bill Maher and John Mellencamp discuss the impact that late-night television host Johnny Carson had on both of their careers -- albeit on quite different trajectories.

In Maher's case, he ruminates on how kids today don't even recognize the name Johnny Carson anymore, although the man was without a doubt one of his comedic idols growing up. Throughout his 30-year run on television, just about every artist imaginable had been through Johnny's Tonight Show halls, except for Mellencamp. Looking back he realizes the mistake, but at the time, John says, he made the decision simply because he thought it "wasn't cool."

"It was cool for me," Maher interjects. "It was cool for me, I watched it every night," Mellencamp admits, but because music writers and critics "didn't like it," he believes the show's cool factor was completely stifled. "It's not like comedians," whose appearances with Johnny were a right of passage, he explains.

Maher goes on to discuss the early life of Carson, and his constant search for approval from his mother -- a feeling Mellencamp says he was never able to fully grasp. "I've heard this a lot in my life," he says, "but people wanting their parents' approval, that never even dawned on me." He says he would even find out when his father would be getting home, and made sure he was out of the house by that time. "Why?" he asks. "They're just people."

"We are our parents, I got it. Yeah Bill, I got that part," Mellencamp laughs when Maher questions his familial relationships. "He's still alive. He's 93, I talked to him today... He'll tell me stuff about the family that I didn't know... this happened or that happened." Confused, Maher asks, "so you don't dislike him?"

"I never said I didn't like him, I said I didn't give a f*** what they thought as a teenager! Run the tape," says John. "That doesn't mean I disliked him, it just meant I didn't want to have to follow his rules... You could imagine, the whole culture was shifting and I was part of that young culture."

Listen to the full episode of Club Random with Bill Maher featuring John Mellencamp above to hear the reason John’s dad apologized to him, why Prohibition took hold in America (hint: guys are drunks), why John carried a knife early in his career, and more.

Comedian and host Bill Maher rewrites the rules of podcasting the way he did in television in this series of one-on-one, hour-long conversations with a wide variety of unexpected guests in the undisclosed location called Club Random. There’s a whole big world out there that isn’t about politics and Bill and his guests talk about all of it. Listen now on Audacy.

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Featured Image Photo Credit: Larry Busacca/Getty Images