Marc Maron started doing stand-up comedy in the late 1980s, and he’s never taken a break from it.
So the comic says he was initially thrown off when it was his popular podcast, “WTF,” and not his stand-up, that brought him the most recognition.
“Before the podcasts, I was relatively unknown,” Maron recently told Business Insider, as he was promoting a new comedy special, “Marc Maron: More Later,” airing tonight on premium-cable channel Epix.
“I’d been doing stand-up a long time. Once people get to know me on the podcast, which is a more intimate way of knowing me — my audience and the opportunity to do things like this special, the TV show, began to happen,” he said. “Yeah, it definitely changed everything. The podcast raised my profile more than stand-up ever did.”
Following hosting gigs on several liberal talk-radio shows, Maron began recording his twice-weekly podcast “WTF with Marc Maron” in September 2009. Currently, “WTF” is in the top 10 on iTunes for comedy podcasts. The format generally consists of Maron providing a monologue about his life and then having a deep conversation with a guest in his Los Angeles home (he’s talked to everyone from Robin Williams to Barack Obama). The comedian also stars on “Maron,” a comedy series on IFC that’s going into its fourth season next year.
After years of working in stand-up, Maron suddenly found fame through another channel. And that took some getting used to.
“Initially, it was a little bit to cope with for me,” the New Jersey native said. “But as time went on, and the things became sort of a whirlwind, people began to see me doing stand-up. It was exciting, especially when you have hundreds of thousands of people who know me in a very candid way through my conversations and my dialogues on the podcast that start coming out to comedy shows, and most of them weren’t even necessarily comedy people. There was a certain trepidation as to whether or not I’d be good without even realising that I spent half my life doing stand-up. So that was a pretty exciting element.”
He added, “Initially, they sort of annoyed me. But over time, I felt I couldn’t be annoyed. I created the podcast. And I created my stand-up. So everything sort of bleeds in together now and I’m just happy people are coming out.”
He even says that “WTF” often influences his stand-up shows. “A lot of times when I’m improvising a monologue on the podcast in its raw form, I’m thinking out loud,” the 52-year-old said.
“It’s almost like trying stuff out. So stuff that might have been in the rawer form during the podcast can kind of get crafted into bigger bits. Certainly one feeds into another.”
In the end, Maron believes the podcast has supplied more than just material.
“My comedy has gotten much better, because of the confidence the comes from presenting something people enjoy and feeling like I’ve done something with my life,” he said. “I’m pretty fearless on the comedy stage and I think I’m probably having a good time for the first time ever.”
Watch a clip from “Marc Maron: More Later” below:
“Marc Maron: More Later” premieres Friday, December 4 at 10 p.m on Epix.
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