Jamie Foxx on Workout Routines, Success Habits, and Untold Hollywood Stories (#124)


This episode is easily one of my favorites I’ve ever done.

#124: Jamie Foxx on Workout Routines, Success Habits, and Untold Hollywood Stories

Jamie Foxx (@iamjamiefoxx) is an Academy Award-winning actor, a Grammy Award-winning musician, and a famous standup and improv comedian. He is, without a doubt, the most consummate performer and entertainer I have ever met.  In the 2.5 hours we spent together in his home studio, he blew my mind.

We cover a TON in this wide-ranging episode, including many never-before-heard stories. Here’s just a tiny sample of what you’ll hear:

    • Jamie’s workout routine
    • Jamie’s origin stories — how he used $400 to match a $1,000,000 party thrown by Puff Daddy; building up his network with Kanye, Jay Z, and Pharrell; expanding his fan base; and bombing horribly at the beginning.
    • What he learned during the magic of In Living Color
    • Jamie playing live music throughout our interview
    • Impersonations (and lessons learned from many of the following) — Quincy Jones, Ed Sheeran, Ray Charles, Jimmy Carter, Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, Bill Cosby, Doc Rivers, Kermit the Frog, Sammy Davis, Jr., LeBron James, Bill Clinton, Tamara Rawitt, Shawn Wayans, Jim Carrey, Oprah Winfrey, Norman Lear, Mike Tyson, and others
    • The key skills Jamie learned from his grandmother
    • Jamie’s parenting style
    • Check out the show notes below for much, much more. Enjoy!

You can find the transcript of this episode here. Transcripts of all episodes can be found here.

#124: Jamie Foxx on Workout Routines, Success Habits, and Untold Hollywood Stories

Want to hear another podcast with a mega-successful Hollywood actor and director? — Listen to my conversation with Jon Favreau. In this episode, we discuss the movie Swingers, how to reinvent oneself, and how to create art that can be massively successful. (Stream below or right-click here to download):

#71: The Master Creator - How Jon Favreau Went from Swingers to Elf to Ironman to Chef

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QUESTION(S) OF THE DAY: In your opinion, who are the greatest living performers? What makes them impressive? Please let me know in the comments.

And please be sure to say hello to Jamie on Twitter at @iamjamiefoxx. He’s a good dude and was extremely generous with his time.

Scroll below for links and show notes…



Periscope | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook


  • Why does Jamie keep a grand piano in his home studio? [06:49]
  • What is automated dialogue replacement (ADR)? [08:13]
  • How did Jamie break into music? [09:32]
  • How did a then-unknown Jamie Foxx got into Puff Daddy’s parties? [09:57]
  • Jamie challenges Puff Daddy by throwing down the party gauntlet [10:55]
  • Before social media, Jamie had a unique way of staying connected with people, which involved comedy shows, cue cards, and text messages [11:59]
  • Why nobody leaves Jamie’s house without performing  [16:56]
  • What makes Jamie’s studio magical [19:34]
  • How Jamie learned the nuances of performing on both sides of the tracks (literally and metaphorically) when he was a kid [23:59]
  • How young Jamie dealt with racially insensitive grown-ups at a Christmas party [28:31]
  • What convinced Jamie to leave Texas and head to California [30:42]
  • Life lessons Jamie learned from his grandma [33:38]
  • Why Jamie is always willing to help his family, but he’s no sucker [39:45]
  • Jamie’s parenting style  [41:27]
  • How portraying Ray Charles in Ray gave Jamie the opportunity to bring all of his comedic, acting, and musical talents into play [42:00]
  • What Ray Charles told Jamie was possible if he could play the blues [43:15]
  • Lessons from Ray Charles [47:19]
  • What’s on the other side of fear? [50:42]
  • Jamie’s first impression? [54:07]
  • What Bill Cosby had to say to Jamie on the subject of booty calls [56:44]
  • How Jamie uses his musical background to help him do impressions [57:34]
  • How raising kids in Hollywood differs from Jamie’s own small-town Texas upbringing [59:52]
  • Jamie Foxx’s real name [01:03:06]
  • Could Prince or Michael Jackson find a career break in today’s “Age of Memes?” [01:08:11]
  • What happened when Jamie first bombed on stage [01:09:32]
  • Why do some standup comedians lose the ability to make people laugh? [01:17:15]
  • Where does Jamie get his best standup material? [01:20:34]
  • How did the In Living Color team assemble? [01:28:19]
  • Jamie talks about how social media has taken away the power to control our own narratives [01:34:51]
  • Is Quentin Tarantino a cop hater? [Short answer: No, and don’t believe the media spin]  [01:41:32]
  • Jamie’s advice to new parents raising a child of color in modern America [01:48:00]
  • Jamie’s plans for his next comedy tour [01:52:43]
  • The first person who comes to Jamie’s mind when he hears the word “successful.” [01:54:34]
  • What historical figure does Jamie most identify with? [01:57:13]
  • Jamie’s take on documentaries [02:01:37]
  • What would Jamie’s billboard say? [02:06:08]
  • What would Jamie teach a class of 9th graders? [02:07:22]
  • Jamie’s morning routine (it doesn’t involve coffee) [02:12:07]
  • Advice Jamie would give to his younger self. [02:15:04]
  • The time Jamie told Mike Tyson jokes but didn’t realize Mike was in the audience. [02:23:55]


The Tim Ferriss Show is one of the most popular podcasts in the world with more than 900 million downloads. It has been selected for "Best of Apple Podcasts" three times, it is often the #1 interview podcast across all of Apple Podcasts, and it's been ranked #1 out of 400,000+ podcasts on many occasions. To listen to any of the past episodes for free, check out this page.

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153 Replies to “Jamie Foxx on Workout Routines, Success Habits, and Untold Hollywood Stories (#124)”

  1. I’ve always been a fan of the multi-talented Mr. Foxx. He’s truly a phenomenal entertainer. After listening to this podcast, I’m even more impressed by his talent, character and spirit.

    This was probably one of the most interesting and entertaining podcasts I’ve heard. Thanks for setting this up and allowing Jamie to walk us through his journey from a small town in Texas to being one of the biggest stars in Hollywood. It was fascinating to hear about his creative process and what keeps him inspired. I also appreciate that you there you were able to touch upon issues of social injustice and race in America. This topic is something I haven’t heard much on your podcasts, and glad you were bold enough to walk down that corridor with an entertainer who wasn’t afraid to be candid.

    Thank you!


  2. I loved this podcast! I was listening at work laughing out loud at some points and trying to keep it in. Great stories about Jamie’s grandmother, what an amazing woman. What great lessons about music bringing people together and working hard to get where you want to be. Such great wisdom and talent!

  3. Tim Ferriss, good interview with Jamie Foxx, but I’m surprised it’s listed as a possible “Best of 2015.” I thought the Derek Sivers interview had much more useful info and was entertaining.

    Tim, will you ever be a guest on the Howard Stern Show? I think it would be an awesome interview.

    I’ve been a big admirer of you. Keep up the great work!

    Dr. Nathan Schramm, OD, CNS, FSLS

  4. Hi Tim, my name’s Romeo Erasmus from Cape town South Africa. Just wanna thank you for the Jaime Fox podcast, by far one the Best interviews I’ve heard this year. How you got him to open up like that was amazing. Very good interview dude! Just to add also ,that The Tim Ferris show was the podcast that got me into podcasts in the first place. Baie Dankie Tim, keep up the good work.

  5. Obviously, hard work and dedication pay off. Is there anything else to deconstruct about Mr. Foxx that might be useful to your listeners? I don’t think so.Tim, are you trying to compete with Charlie Rose? Have you “jumped the shark” to obtain a podcast award? Maybe.

  6. thankyou Jamie and Tim. enthuiastic, funny, insightful, you are both such lovely people. I love your honesty, youth, candour, optimisim Jamie. I lwas stimulated to offer the following. Having listened to Jamie means I have heard a couple of people now, comment upon how the day Mr Obama was elected was the most amazing event. For me I learnt about it sometime later – and I thought – “oh so that large place near Mexico had elections and has got a new head of state, okay i guess policies may change or they may stay the same. Okay, now whats the weather for tomorrow?’ I didn’t have any awareness he was black – or that he was not black. My point being, not every automatically notices what skin colour someone is. I think, making a point about someones skin colour means there’s something a bit wrong with your perception!

    I appreciate in your country there is the history of slavery and – it’s not enough for people to say ‘oh but I am oblivious to skin colour’ because being non-white has real implications in terms of class and access and opportunity because of the all pervasive universal racism. So I get that it is significant. But for north america to reach real maturity – the maturity it does not have yet – it will move beyond celebrating novel inclusive attitudes to non-whites ”we let a black guy come on board our space shuttle and he rapped for us” and actually stop talking about skin colour completely. Actually I suddenly recall as I write, Michael Moore commented about this in his book ‘stupid white man’ about 15 years ago. he said if you want to contribute, STOP making references to skin colour in conversation. Also, Jamie, god bless him, referred to his country as being number one. That o was a bit surprising. is it really? Does any non north american think it’s number one? does any other country even feel the need to proclaim itself as number one? Not even russia or china needs to do that! The few proclaimations of overt patriotism seemed at odds with the whole unique special picture of Jamie, his virtues and beauty. I just felt a bit sad – I mean, i get that a lot of people worked really hard for same sex marriages to be acknowledged. But it’s been legal in so many other places for a very very long time. North America should feel shame they still keep saying ‘you’re a gay person. and you’re a straight person. and you, you’re a black person, and you…’ these are not ‘number one country’ type characteristics. God bless you Tim and Jamie (And I’m not religious at all)

    1. Thanks for your comments. Jamies sharing was special because he so naturally included such a wide scope of enquiry, including generational and nationalist and socio political themes. So much was touched upon. I too questioned his ‘we’re number one’ sentiments finding it out of character. If North America wants to be taken seriously, respected and liked, as a nation in the world, it needs to mature beyond the ego stance akin to a 5year old ‘I’m the centre of the universe’

      If you ask a Chinese person where they are from-a person from a country far more populous and expansive than north america- they’ll say ‘China’. You’d have to dig further to get ‘the south west’ – and dig further for more info again. they are not going to automatically assume you know where Hunan province is.

      Sadly North Americans may respond ‘cleveland’ or ‘daytona’ right off – same is true for the written word- a north american writen book or movie will just refer to a town. The new spielburg movie assumed we didnt know where berlin was but was happy to print ‘Brooklyn’ on the screen as a location. I only know where brooklyn is because of the beastie boys! Otherwise, why should I know?

      A lot of north americans believe the whole world not only know and recognise what the 4th of July and Thanksgiving are, but that they all celebrate them, as well.

      I know it’s not all of you. Probably not many reading this blog. But it’s a pervasive , systemic theme recognised/commented upon enough universally that this characteristic really needs a lot of personal development and maturation so your fine country can really grow and shine and join the world as a country of merit people can appreciate and aspire to. If you want to be number one it will take a lot more work.

      Love to you all from country number 73 🙂

  7. this was awesome. so good to hear a guy who is as big as Jamie just come out and talk unscripted about so many different issues, some serious and some fun…

  8. Great interview Tim, thank you!

    Would love to hear you interview the Academy Award–winning producer Brian Grazer, who also wrote the New York Times bestseller “A Curious Mind.”

  9. Thanks Tim! This was absolutely incredible and inspiring. I will definitely listen to it again as it contained so much useful information about such a huge range of topics.

  10. This interview had EVERYTHING in it. I cried, I laughed (out loud in the street) I pondered. It was interesting to note how quiet you were compared to other interviews I have heard Tim. It was so amusing how you had to keep stopping.

    There was something very deeply human about this pod.

    I loved this one. Highlights reel for sure.

    Thanks Tim, you are my hero and super-star!

  11. I remember hearing a pull up routine but I can’t seem to find on the episode, does anyone remember what/where it was?

  12. Please bring Jim Carrey on the podcast..!! Listening to Jamie talk about how he came up the comedy ranks reminded me of some of Jim Carrey’s early gigs and how unique and hilarious they were. Jim seems to also have great insight in terms of mindfulness and self-belief which he attributes a lot of his success to. Don’t know what you think Tim, I think it would be a lot of fun for you and your listeners…

  13. Probably my favorite one so far.

    These podcasts allowed me to 4x my coffee subscription box (not quite 10x like you guys) in less than a year. Aside from the tools and resources, the main thing it gives me is INSPIRATION AND MOTIVATION to continue. you guys make it a “game” and I like that.

  14. I know Jamie can’t comment on all comedians, but it was great to hear his take on it – “I’ve seen all of them” . And the great observation about them wanting to look great! The famous Eddie Murphy leather jump suit!!

    i was half expecting him to touch upon to Dave Schapelle

    Jamie discussed how ugly comedians are funnier. Jonah Hill made a great comment in reference to his weight, along the lines of ‘there’s nothing funny about a guy with perfect abs and a gym body”

    Mitch Hedburg was a stand out comedian and quite unique in fact, in the original edgy vein Jamie touched upon. A lot of comedians modelled themselves upon his style of delivery. And a definite vibe of pathos in that classically stereotypical way about comedians. ultimately tragically 🙁 Tim, everyone, recommend you check him out on the youwebs or the intertubes or whatever they are called.

  15. Fascinating episode – what a remarkable person! Thanks for providing these insightful podcasts, they are very inspiring and help me feel that I’m never too old to learn something new!

  16. Hi Tim,

    Are you aware what your hand symbols mean in the UK when you both do that? (It’s our version of the middle finger)

    Maybe you do and really it’s a dig to all those Limeys like me out there who listen and read and love your stuff!



  17. Absolutely brilliant interview………one of the most inspiring I’ve heard……ever. Thank you both………

  18. Jamie Foxx is some laugh – he just made my day and put a smile on my face. The man is a genius! Great interview Tim.

  19. Man! I already liked the dude. Why wouldn’t you? But this interview kinda makes you love him, doesn’t it? Seems like one of the big takeaways here is, “Get Yourself a Badass Grandma” and or ” The Value of Mentorship”.

  20. Wow, amazing podcast. One of the best and worst in some senses.

    It felt at times as you were unprepared or out of touch with the Jamie Fox. Its as if the flotsam was pick dup by Jamie and placed on the T-ball for you to hit. This is honestly the only episode in which I felt this way. I can’t quite speciate the origin of this nor provide more specifics. Thanks again for everything you do.


  21. Thank you so much Tim Ferriss! Love this piece with Jamie Fox. Always enjoyed listening to Fox perform but got to say really validated my perspective that Jamie Fox is my valued voice; truly grateful for his insightful contribution to the meaning of being a productive member of our species. Tim Ferriss, so glad I stumbled onto your podcast when my niece directed me to Choose FI about my search for securing financial independence as a 3rd Grade educator for Special Education. Thank you for this lift! Be well. Darlene (Republic of Belau in Micronesia)