Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Why W*F with Marc Maron is Awesome


"Lock the Gates!"

I have never been one for podcasts before. Whenever I have spare time and an iPod around I am all about picking whichever album tickles my mood and fancy at the time. Why would I care to listen to people talk? There is nothing better than listening to music.

But then Lee, informed me that Marc Maron had a new podcast out, insisting that I listen to it because it is amazing. I have been a big Maron fan ever since I saw him do a show here in Sydney about two years ago. He is by far the funniest comedian I have seen live (admittedly I haven’t seen that many live comedians, but still…). We even got to meet him after the show where he talked a little about the hardships of alternative comedy while trying to sell a few CDs. The combination of the show, with his raw display of emotional baggage, and his slightly dejected self talking to us afterwards was very impressionable on me as I was only just truly discovering real comedy at the time. I was definitely a Marc Maron fan from that point on (Although I still didn’t buy any CDs…)

So this began a new era for me. I got into my car to drive to work. I scrolled past Música and selected podcasts – W*F episode 1…

The Rants:

The podcast runs for about an hour, but I could listen to Marc talk all day. His voice carries such emotion and his timing is perfect. At the beginning of each podcast he takes some time to tell a story. Now on the first show of anything you want to make a good impression, right? Well Marc decided to open his podcast – the first segment of his first episode no less - with a story about how boycotting a large, overbearing retail store, Wholefoods, in the States may not be enough of a protest. He actually encouraged that people steal from Wholefoods.

That’s what I love about Marc – not that he tells it like it is, but that he tells it like it is to him. He has strong views from politics to pop culture. He recounts detailed life experiences with loved ones and stalkers alike, family and work issues and of course the timeless question/statement of “What *** Fuck!?” He puts his opinions and emotions out there, almost objectively, whether they be happy, angry, jealous or anything. All this is laced with snippets of his memorable comedic set or improvised side notes.

Guests and Comedic Conscience:

The guests on each show are always interesting. A gathering of comedians talking about comedy. Most of them I am unfamiliar with until Marc’s personal interview style allows them to be free and reveal themselves. And because these are real comedians struggling through the fairly unglamorous lifestyle of alternative comedy, they tell it like it is. And when they feel uncomfortable about going on too much about it, Marc assures them that that is what the fans want. And that is exactly what I want!

As a comedy fan I love hearing Marc describe a meeting with television station E!, or Jeff Ross breaking down the fading art of the roast, Todd Barry describing a comedy festival in the UK, David Cross talking about living in the same house as Marc and Louis C.K. back in the day, and a run in with a backwards audience member while on the road in shitty little towns. They discuss the evolution of comedy from simple observational humour, the influence of Lenny Bruce, and Bill Hicks to the quirky magic that Mr Show managed to do ten years ago, and how this affects the comedians of today.

And then there are the non comedic guests. Writer Sam Lipsyte for example, who Marc showered with praise for his amazing writing talents. Marc questioned why it is so hard to find someone so in touch with his art. I didn’t fully understand why until Sam read a passage from his upcoming book. For maybe 60 seconds it sounded like he was guiding the english language into a new dimension of uncharted territory. I was immediately convinced that I had to go buy one of his books.

And before discovering a writer I would otherwise have never heard of, the podcast offered up other recommendations, including Battlestar Galactica from Patton Oswalt, a discussion of Inglorious Basterds and the TV series Madmen. It is almost like having another friend who shares similar tastes suggesting and discussing quality art/entertainment.

Matthew:

In most of his shows there is a segment called A Few with Matthew. I don’t know who Matthew is, but he and Marc have the most unique of rapports. Sometimes Matthew is the straight man and Marc the funny man, then they switch it up in an instant. At one moment Matthew is preying on Marc’s neediness and then Marc will start belittling Matthew’s superiority complex. I can only say you have to hear it from the start, and understand how the relationship evolves to truly know its awesomeness.

***

I can’t get enough of this podcast and there is so much more to it than I can describe. I have only heard the first 13 episodes at the time of writing this. But probably the greatest thing is to see the evolution of Marc’s outlook on life, from the first time I saw him live (where I left slightly concerned for his well being) to the way he has let the podcast be an outlet for his frustrations and a tool to deal with the W*F moments of his life and make them entertaining and inspirational for the listeners.

- Eden (while listening to Axis: Bold as Love – The Jimi Hendrix Experience)

8 comments:

  1. Why *** Fuck haven't I heard this yet, sounds amazing - iTunes here I come!

    ReplyDelete
  2. i don't know what i'm doing wrong but i can't find this on iTunes. would love to hear it.

    twitter: @verybrave

    leonardgreycloud@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  3. On iTunes it's called WTFPod. I'm reading this fine blog because MarcMaron just Tweeted about it. What goes around...

    ReplyDelete
  4. I've only listened to one podcast before (literally 1), and that too was because of Lee. Since you bothered to write a blog about this one it must be good.

    I'm going to listen!

    ReplyDelete
  5. can't say enough good about this man. He opens himself and others up allowing Me to relate. This is priceless. ...and I get to laugh too

    Big Shout out from your Canadian flock of Fuckers!!!

    ReplyDelete
  6. I totally agree with your blog post. I just have finally gotten caught up with all of Maron's wtf podcasts and I'm totally hooked. I think he's a fantastic broadcaster, and all around interesting guy with fascinating friends. WTF is the most all around entertaining podcast that I've heard yet. If you like WTF, you will also like Greg Fitzsimmons' podcasts as well. I highly recommend those as well.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I've been a fan of MM since the '90s when he was doing "Eating It" at Luna Lounge NYC. I've said it many times -- as long as there are voices like Marc's in the world, we're all still okay. His vulnerability sets him apart from any other comic I've seen, and it makes you want to laugh with him (and cry with him). He's our collective Id.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Thanks for talking up Marc's podcast! I think WTF is a perfect outlet for his creative energies AND i don't have to wait years between albums for new comedy from him...great guests too.

    ReplyDelete