As much as Marc Maron would like to position himself as a curmudgeon, the stand-up comedian, podcast host and budding TV star can’t help but come across to America as endearing.
“Yeah, I know it’s a painful thing for all of us, we’re just trying to get through it,” Maron quipped as he joined Michael from his home in Los Angeles (apparently from his garage studio adorned only in his birthday suit). He also jokes its ephemeral.
“Not unlike my two ex-wives and many girlfriends, that’ll wear thin after a while and you’ll see the real me.”
Maron has built one of the most successful brands in comedy (and a giant twitter following) with his misanthropic self-reflection and cynicism. This isn’t uncommon. All comics turn themselves inside out to mine for material, but Maron has been known to go to extreme lengths of personal exploration and exposure.
“I do put myself out there but it took a long time to really be okay with it and not just push it on people and to know where the funny is.”
He admits his performances may not always be funny, but they’ll always be compelling and by channeling his idiosyncrasies he feels he’s honed his craft.
“I think now I’ve got a handle on it. I know who I am, I’ve landed in myself and I think I’m the best comic I’ve ever been right now.”
That evolution extends to Maron’s popular WTF podcast. The podcast was famous for featuring celebrity conversations that almost always circled back to a discussion on Maron himself. Maron says he no longer needs to follow that approach.
“You know at the beginning, it was a little more needy and now it’s sort of evolved into something else. At some point during the journey of ‘WTF’ I became an empathetic listener, which I think I’d lost some of that because of my cynicism and my own problems. But, it seems to have returned in almost like a childlike way and to talk to people with interesting lives and compelling stories, as you know, is very rewarding.”
Of course there's still the lingering issue of, well, lingering. Just ask Conan O'Brien about overstaying his welcome in Maron's famous garage studio. There's no doubt Maron will figure out a solution to that as well.