"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 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.
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)