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Interview: Marc Maron of the WTF Podcast and “A Day in the Life”

March 12th, 2012 by Ben Collins Editor

There’s one of those end-of-a-baseball movie moments at the end of this episode of A Day In The Life, and it’s in there entirely coincidentally. Marc Maron’s at his old digs, LA’s Comedy Store, where he got his start and did some dangerous things with Sam Kinison a long time ago. He can’t figure out why he’s still intimidated by doing shows there.

And then he has to do a show there.

It’s all very cinematic and very perfect-seeming. But the best part of the show is when his day isn’t either of those things at all.

This would be a good time to bring this up: If you don’t know Marc Maron, all of your favorite comedians do. They’ve all been on his intensely popular WTF Podcast. If you do know Marc Maron, you love Marc Maron.

And, quickly, A Day in the Life is Hulu’s original series that’s produced by Morgan Spurlock. Maron’s episode the first of season two, and there’ll be new ones on Hulu every Monday. It follows around the world’s most genuinely interesting people for 24 hours. Maron fits the bill.

In his first few hours, he spends a full twenty minutes excavating an espresso machine manual then trying to fix the damn thing. Maron almost forgot that this whole day-long documentary thing was going to happen that day, so he didn’t remember to tell his sort-of live-in girlfriend about it. She slept in until the crew went to the garage and then escaped through the front door. Mindy Kaling drops by and they figure out if water is ever necessary for interviews.

Weirdly, all of this might be the best part of the show.

Then there’s that bit at the end, leaving The Comedy Store. There’s swelling music. He says things that seem big and prescient. Even if you listen to Marc Maron twice a week, it changes the way you feel about him. You like him more. You want to be friends with him. You might get chills.

We’re not going to ruin it, but what he says changes the way you feel about wherever you are in your life for about ten seconds. It’s a very good few sentences.

Oh, and he fixes the espresso machine. 

Here’s the best of our talk with Marc Maron.

On how he ended up on the show.

Marc Maron: Well, he had come on my show. At the end, he had said that I’ve gotta get on his show. And I said, “Okay, I don’t even know what the hell your show is.” So I said something like, “Okay, yeah, sure. That’ll happen.”

And then he called me one afternoon and… then it happened.

On preparation.

No, dude, I didn’t prepare anything. I barely remembered they were coming. I had no sense of what it really was. I’m very busy and I have a very hard time keeping up with my own life. I just let it happen. I didn’t prepare anything.

On how he felt he was portrayed on the show.

I showed people the rough cut. I was very impressed with the way that they shot it. I thought it was a very reasonable and honest documentary portrait of me. And I don’t love watching myself on film. (Laughing.) And I found myself very compelling.

On if he felt the show was an authentic biography of himself.

It was surprising to me a little bit because I found that it was a little heavy in a way. There was a sort of sadness to it. But it was not a tragic sadness. There was just a sort of bittersweet tone to the whole thing. At least the second half.

It was one of those things where it looked like I had grown up. I was humble and accepting of where I was at in my life. There was some sort of surrender to unnecessary trouble. Yeah, it was optimistic but it was also wrestling with being in the jaws of disappointment and coming out of it with a new sort of perspective on life. I felt like I could be intense or funny. I just felt that it was a little heavy, but in a good way. It was sweet-heavy.

On his favorite part.

Wanna know the best part? It’s me and Steve Rannazzisi (of “The League”) backstage at the Comedy Store. It’s so funny. We’re trying to figure out why we still go there. He’s like, “I had my wisdom teeth out yesterday. I should be eating ice cream at home. I’m here.”

On why the show works.

I think it’s a credit to the crew. I’ve been around documentaries before and the only real fear is the level of intrusion and I felt they were very good with sort of being there just enough to move along as necessary. There were these few moments where they asked questions, but in those moments they were still subtle. They didn’t provoke me into performance mode. They just had that fine mixture of unobtrusive and mildly provoking that worked. I was very impressed with that crew.

On how the WTF Podcast is represented in this show.

Obviously, I didn’t think that it would be (a commercial) for WTF. I mean, I thought, “Yeah, great for WTF.” But I honestly thought, “Wow, I’m gonna be on camera for a half an hour.” So that was my initial thought. Then my other thought was, “This’ll be great. We can sync this up with the launch of that episode.”

On how this strays from documentary format by not providing conclusions or morals that aren’t there.

My life is not completely me-centric. It’s fairly small. Outside of the podcast being popular, my life is: I’m at my house. I drive to a comedy club. Then, I drive home and people come over and they talk to me. I wasn’t on any planes or anything.