After 20 years of being a standup comedian, Marc Maron had become angry and bitter, having watched many of his peers achieve enormous success and fame. About 5 years ago, after the painful dissolution of his second marriage, he was “broke, on many levels,” and hit bottom. “Defeated and careerless,” he started doing a podcast in his garage, in which he had one-on-one conversations with his famous friends—other comedians. The podcast interviews were his way of getting help; they enabled him to talk out his feelings and connect with others, and along the way, he rediscovered his love of comedy.

The series, “WTF? with Marc Maron,” features over 400 intimate, engaging interviews, has garnered critical acclaim, and got him a new show on IFC channel called “Maron.” He has a great memoir out, too, Attempting Normal, in which he talks about his issues, marriages and addictions (which practically have their own plotline: he quit using coke and alcohol with the help of his second wife, used Viagra to get through his post-divorce depression then had to quit it (“to get back to the land of emotion”), fights an ongoing battle with food and porn, and now has what sounds like an over-dependence on the natural sweetener, Stevia—he seeks out “the good stuff. The 100% pure stuff,” not “the one that is cut with filler to bulk it up, like shitty cocaine”).

What I like about Maron is that he is flawed and talks about it. Also, he cares, and keeps trying to conquer his natural negative tendencies. In fact, his book is dedicated to “Everyone who is successfully defying their wiring.” I love that he had finally become resigned that success wasn’t going to happen for him, and then it did. I love that it came from him just following his instinct, and that it has helped heal him. “Me sitting at that table across from people talking to them on those microphones has changed the trajectory of my life completely.”

From his book:

“In our interview, Conan O’Brien said something about the secret of his success: ‘Get yourself in a situation where you have no choice.'”

“It’s amazing how much you can rationalize when you’re on drugs. I could actually say to myself, ‘Look, I’m only doing blow Wednesday through Saturday.””

“People don’t talk to each other about real things because they’re afraid of how they’ll be judged. Or they think other people don’t have the capacity to carry the burden of what they have to say. But all of that stuff is what makes us human; more than that, it’s what makes being human interesting and funny. How we got away from that, I don’t know. But fuck that: We’re built to deal with shit. We’re built to deal with death, disease, failure, struggle, heartbreak, problems. The way we each handle being human is where all the good stories, jokes, art, wisdom, revelations and bullshit come from.”

“I watched her do a nude improvised mambo to Tito Puente music coming out of the radio on top of the fridge. It was one of those moments I realized that I could be anywhere—a castle, a yacht, a private jet—but it wouldn’t get any better than that moment. It would not be any better than what was going on in my dirty beat-up Astoria kitchen. That is the power beautiful women have: They are portals into the timeless, into other worlds.”

“I had made a habit of compulsively checking the email that comes through my website. Trolling for validation, contempt, hate: the speedball of social networking in the age of accessibility.”


You can find Maron’s podcast interviews here (the ones with Louis CK and Judd Apatow are particularly good):


2 Replies to “”

    1. I listened to the one with Noah Baumbach and it was good. Thought-provoking. Also, NB proves that everyone has their challenges and struggles, even when it looks like they don’t.

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