Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Goat Suggests 004: WTF With Marc Maron

Do you like stand-up comedians?

Please note: I didn't ask if you like stand-up comedy. I asked if you like stand up comedians. Perhaps you believe that I'm engaging in hair-splitting, and you wouldn't be the first, but if you like stand-up comedy, you could like any number of things, both brilliant and hackneyed. Perhaps you're remembering a particular HBO special. Perhaps you're conjuring Eddie Murphy in a red leather suit. Howie Mandell with a rubber glove on his head. Steve Martin's banjo and fake arrow. I don't know. These are good enough things. You may also be thinking of some random person in front of some random brick wall, letting you know that LA and New York are different, or that this is how white folks be driving, or maybe Gallagher smashing fruit with a big mallet.

But if you are the kind of person who likes stand-up comedians? You're probably the sort who is looking for the distinctive voice. The new perspective. The paradigm shift. The almost relentless navel gaze.

Stand up comedians. They're an odd breed.

Marc Maron is one who has been around the block. He ran with Kinison in his youth, hung with David Cross and Patton Oswalt, and cut his teeth with the legendary Louis CK. Now he stands between that age and this, bridging the madmen of the mid 80s with the new breed. He's a fascinating creature, both in how disfunctional he is (he's oppressively jealous of his more successful show-business friends, who are legion) and in how open and jarringly honest he is about that disfunction.

His podcast is called WTF. In it, Maron interviews comedians for hours at a stretch. It's kind of awesome. It is quickly becoming the document of record for comedy.  The reason is simple: Because Maron has been around for such a long time, his interviews don't have any of the glib "so tell me about yourself" vibe that you'll usually get on talk radio or late night talk shows. It's just two buddies shooting the breeze, and one of the buddies happens to be Louis CK, or Conan O'Brien.

I think you should go listen to it now.

In fact, start with the Gallagher. It's pretty choice.

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