This is the fifth post in my Idolizing series. The first four recipients were people/things that inspire me. I dedicated posts to Aziz Ansari, Chuck Klosterman, Chuck Klosterman (again) and yes, even the McRib. In hindsight, I kind of think having a sandwich in this group is weird. I should send them a McDonald’s coupon for a McRib as a ‘thank you’ for inspiring me. The coupon would only be good for a few months every other year…depending on the region. I’m getting a bit off-topic, but you have an idea what I’m trying to do in my Idolizing blog series.
Marc Maron is a stand-up comedian and hosts WTF podcast with Marc Maron. He tours the country and self-releases podcasts twice per week. He hosts them in his garage, aka ‘Cat Ranch’ and has garnered praise for his candid interviews of his contemporaries in the comedy and entertainment world..
I explain how Maron inspires me and a few of my early exposures to stand-up comedy.
Stand-up comedians have always inspired me. One of the first comedy routines I can remember watching was by Richard Pryor. I don’t remember which comedy special it was or even any of the jokes. I was way too young to understand what he was talking about. I just liked him because he was in one of my favorite movies as a child, The Toy. I have watched most of his live comedy videos as an adult and I am surprised my parents let me watch it at such a young age…but I am glad they did.
I first saw Marc Maron when he was a guest on Late Night with Conan O’Brien. I must have been 14 years old, but I got his comedy. It was honest, introspective, and rather raw. I would hate to peg him as an ‘angry comic’, but it made me realize that it was okay to be mad about the little things that annoy me. I would see him on Conan’s show a lot (he’s been on Conan’s various shows a record 47 times). I started to have other comedy influences and became the comedy nerd that I am today.
In the process of finding new stand-up comedians to study, I lost track of Maron. I would still see him on Late Night, but he seemed to be going through a personal struggle. I later found out that he had a drug problem. He has since quit and has been sober for many years.
I listen to a lot of podcasts and I took to my Facebook and Twitter to ask my friends if there are any new ones I should check out. A friend recommended Maron’s WTF podcast…that is when I rediscovered him.
I didn’t really know what to expect before I listened to my first WTF podcast. I was hooked after I heard him describing his own personal struggles with nicotine addiction and body issues. I have never heard a person be so open and honest about what was bothering him at that very second.
In a few episodes, he explained his life on drugs. He was an angry person and rubbed many fellow comedians the wrong way. He now has them on his podcast and has them describe how big of an asshole he was back then. A lot of his episodes sound like a therapy session, but the issues he deals with are universal.
Maron’s podcasts aren’t all about himself. The comedians he has on his podcast explain how they broke into the business. Many have sacrificed a lot and point their success to one or two serendipitous moments in their lives. The overall theme is that the comedians who make it big in their business work hard and treat it as an art form.
WTF podcast won ‘Best Comedy Podcast” award at the 2012 Comedy Central comedy awards. Maron has recorded nearly 300 episodes and they have even started to air on public radio. My favorite episodes features guests: Louis C.K., Judd Apatow, Carlos Mencia, Dane Cook, Conan O’Brien, Patton Oswalt, and so many more to list. Here are descriptions of a few of his landmark episodes.
- Gallagher walked out during an episode after Maron pointed out that a lot of his new material resembles a rant of a bigot/racist.
- Comedian Todd Glass announced that he was gay on the show. He wanted a public forum and to talk about some of the issues he has had by hiding it.
- Maron tries to mend a broken relationship with Louis C.K. They were once very close. They talked it out and by the time the two-part episode is finished, they were in a much better place.
- Maron spoke to Carlos Mencia about the allegations that he stole jokes from other lesser-known comedians. Mencia denied stealing jokes and said a lot things that didn’t sit well with Maron. He felt disgusted after the podcast was over and invited some of Mencia’s fellow comedians on to debunk some of Mencia’s remarks. Willie Barcena and Steve Trevino come on the next episode and refuted most of what Mencia said on the previous podcast. To be fair to Mencia, Maron had him on at the end of the podcast and brought up what Barcena and Trevino said. Mencia didn’t come out looking very positive, but it felt very honest. It is one of the most talked about episodes of WTF podcast.
Maron has many other projects other than the podcast. His stand-up album, This Has To Be Funny, was named the #1 comedy album of 2011 by Laughspin.com. He is currently writing his memoirs for a book to be released in the coming year. He is still travels the U.S. doing stand-up. Check out wtfpod.com for his tour dates and you will also find his podcasts on site. You can buy his phone app and have access to all of his old podcasts or download some his current episodes on iTunes. You can follow Maron on Twitter at @marcmaron or @WTFpod.
All of the reasons above describe how Marc Maron inspires me. He isn’t afraid to be himself. He tackles issues that he has avoided for years. His podcasts are funny, informative, and therapeutic. He is doing what he loves, who can say that about their job?