A week after Bridgetown, Marc Maron is coming to Portland.
“I’ve got great timing,” he says about the fact that he’s showing up at Helium just days after our biggest comedy weekend of the year. “Maybe I should call it the Marc Maron Solo Comedy Festival.”
Even though Maron missed Bridgetown, fellow comic James Adomian gave him some stage time on closing night, impersonating him for an ecstatic crowd. “I think it’s great,” Maron says. “If I’m at a point in my career that I’m mimicable, I’ve finally arrived.”
In 2009, Maron started the WTF podcast, in which he interviews comedians, actors, and musicians from inside his Los Angeles garage/office. The podcast marked a turning point for his 25-year career of stops and starts. From stand-up gigs to radio shows, it never really clicked. Fellow comics love him and he’s got a loyal fanbase, but he was never able to break through.
And then he started WTF.
The twice-weekly podcast is simple—it’s just Maron talking with his guests. But it’s the perfect format for Maron, who’s a great conversationalist and honestly curious about his guests. He’s had some incredible conversations, including ones with Carlos Mencia and Louis C.K. that have become legendary among fans for their unflagging honesty. Maron doesn’t attack his guests or try to put them on the spot. He talks with them for an hour or more about their craft and their world—and often, the conversation goes into incredibly interesting places.
If you want to check out the podcast, go here. If you’re already a die-hard fan, he’s releasing a 2-DVD set of the first 100 episodes in a fancy box with a few extras. He only makes the last 50 episodes available at any given time, so this is the first time in over a year that many of those early episodes have been available.
He’s also working on a new series for IFC, scheduled to come out in fall of 2013. It’s still unnamed, but Maron says he’s in the process of interviewing show runners and working with his co-writer on story ideas. He’s contracted for 10 episodes, and the show will be “a half hour, generally scripted, a slightly heightened reality. A slightly fictionalized version of me, my father, my girlfriend, my producer, and other people. Me interacting with celebrities and the people I interview in my garage.”
There are rumors that Ed Asner will be playing Maron’s father on the show, but they’re unconfirmed. “I ran into Ed Asner in the airport two days ago,” Maron says. “And I reminded him about the project,” he laughs. “We’ll see. Things are very vague in this town, until they’re not.”
Through all of the stops and starts, deals that never materialized and projects that didn’t work out, Maron has kept going. Hopefully, he’s reached a place where his years of hard work will pay off.
This weekend at Helium, he’ll be performing with our very own Ian Karmel, who has talked many times about the exploding comedy scene here in Portland and the fact that we’ve got something good happening here. I asked Maron if he had any advice for the comics here in town who are trying to make their way.
“I’ve had a tremendous amount of disappointment in my life,” he says. “I think it’s smart to do as much as you can with your talent. I think one regret is I didn’t recognize my talent or take control of it, until late in life. If you limit yourself to stand-up and put all your eggs in that basket, you’re amplifying your possibilities of disappointment and heartache. Which makes great comedy. But there are a lot of ways to make your way. Try to be comfortable in yourself up there. Try to figure out what that is.”