Dispatches from the Head

When in Texas.

Howdy, Folks!

That’s Texas talk. I’ve been in Houston all weekend for some R and R and hang out time with a gal.

Not unlike the South, which I guess Texas is, kinda, I’ve grown to like Texas--even the seemingly uninteresting parts. Houston was fun. I had some of the most amazing Indian food in my life at Pondicheri. You never know where you are going to have amazing Indian food. I had some of the best Indian ever in Phoenix once. It all depends on the focus and love of the folks who own the restaurant. Pondicheri is a bit hot rodded Indian fusion-ish but it was astounding to eat Samosas that didn’t taste like they had been sitting around for hours and that the cooking oil hadn’t been changed in months. I’m not saying that all Indian food is bad but a lot of it is uninspired. I like that I had amazing Indian food in Texas.

Also, it’s weird. I barely ever go to Art Museums in LA and I live there. If someone came in from out of town I would ask it they wanted to go to see some art. It’s an odd thing that somewhere inside me there is this pride that I know my city has some good art in it somewhere. I just don’t visit it much.

My friend in Houston suggested we go to the Houston Museum of Fine Arts to see the Jesús Rafael Soto’s Houston Penetrable. I had no idea what the fuck it was. From the pictures on the website it didn’t look that interesting. It looked like thin plastic tubing hanging from the ceiling that you could walk through. I kind of dug that it was feelable and interactive but it also seemed that it could be like going through a human car wash that actually only served to spread disease. In the pics there seemed to be a floating yellow disc shape hovering over the space. I couldn’t quite understand or see how it worked spatially. It looked singular but not that interesting. That is the problem with pictures. Sometimes you think they are enough and that the experience of seeing them is enough. That’s a good way to avoid engaging in almost anything that can be photographed, which seems to be everything.

We went to the museum and the Penetrable was definitely worth the admission. It was much larger than I could have imagined and it was a real brain fucker in terms of the illusion it created and its ability to displace space and create an illusion you could see and actually feel but not quite grasp. So, in that way it was provocative. Also, kids seemed to enjoy playing in it. It worked on a lot of levels. I hope I didn’t catch anything from the dangling strands.

The MFAH has an impressive collection of stuff. Lots of great Modern, African, Asian, Classical—all of it. It’s astounding how much art there is to go around. I don’t know why I am surprised. It seems that if there is money in a city there is art amassed. It was also the first time I saw Frederic Remington paintings up close. When in Texas you need to do some cowboy stuff. I did some highbrow cowboy art appreciation. I went from totally abstract and massive and being actually within the art to looking at the sad end of the American West on canvas—Art.

Today on the show I talk to Wanda Sykes. I have actually been trying to sit down with her for a couple of years. I am excited that it happened. I knew her when she started so we have history together and it was great to catch up. On Thursday Robyn Hitchcock hangs in the garage and we talk about his first band, The Soft Boys, who I loved and then we move through his solo career which is amazing.

Enjoy!

Boomer lives!


Love,
Maron

The South is trying to kill me with food.


Hey, Y’all-

As heavy as last week was, I have to say I am glad I had the interview I did with Robin Williams to put out in the world again after his death. I hope it helped ease some of the shock and pain of the loss.

I'm flying back from Charlotte, NC. It was my second time there inside a week. I went there for the Oddball Fest and then came back less than a week later to do The Comedy Zone. I had never done shows there before. It is an institution. A great old comedy room. I had no idea how I would do there in terms of people coming out but the turn out was great.

I honestly love the South these days. Every time I go back there, almost anywhere, I find myself more enchanted with it. It seems to be one of the only regions in the country that has not been totally plowed over by corporate interests and annihilating mall culture. Maybe I’m romanticizing but it just seem sincerely closer to the roots of what this country comes from, both the people and the landscape. Whatever once slowed the South down in terms of cultural progress is certainly changing but the good stuff that defines its cultural personality is still intact and charming. I really like going down there.

The one thing that I know is that the South is trying to kill me with food. I know I have a part in it but how can you go to NC and not cobbler yourself into a coma? How can you not eat grits everyday? How can you not eat at least three biscuits a day with or without gravy? Greens are good for you even if they are cooked with a hunk of pig, right? It cancels itself out, right?

I actually had a new food experience, which isn’t unusual if you don’t spend too much time down there. I was about to order my eggs and grits and biscuits and I noticed on the menu one of the meat sides was Livermush. What the fuck? I had never heard of it before and, quite honestly, I had never seen those two words together before. Not appetizing, but unashamed. I thought it is clearly a regional dish that didn’t need to seem appealing. It is what it is and I had no idea what that was. I asked the waitress and she said, “I don’t know if you’d like it if you didn’t grow up with it.” I thought that explains a lot of the Southern experience but I wanted to try it. I didn’t that morning but I went back to my room and did some research.

Livermush was thought to derive from the influence of German settlers in Appalachia before the Civil War. It’s not quite a sausage. It’s basically all the parts of the pig that you would maybe toss but when times are tough or if you just want to use every part of the animal there’s nothing odd about taking the liver and head meat and grinding them down and pressing them into a sliceable brick of meat. It’s one of those things that the modern brain thinks. ‘Why would I eat that if I could afford not to?" But most Southerners eat it because, “My grandma used to eat it and she made it for us.” Nostalgia is sometimes triggered by an acquired taste. I ate it the next morning. Loved it. Not everyday loved it, but maybe again when I’m down there. It's like the region: Interesting, rich, practical and slightly disturbing.

This week I talk to Family Guy writer Alec Sulkin about TV writing and language and stuff. Good guy. I liked talking to him. On Thursday I talk to Ty Segall who is this incredible prolific 27 year old musician whose music I happen to love. There’s no deep dark tales of struggle but if you want to listen to me fanboy the fuck out and hear a great song it’s a fun talk.

Enjoy!

Boomer lives!


Love,
Maron

Oddball Festival has been great.

Oddball, folks. Oddball.

It's Bob Week on WTF. It was an honor and a true privilege to be able to sit down with the legend that is Bob Newhart. I went to his home in Bel Air and we talked for almost two hours. He changed the game and he did it never really having done standup before he became the biggest standup in the world. His first three comedy records really redefined comedy in my opinion. Obviously his TV shows were great but the standup has to be remembered for what it was: Genius. He’s had an amazing career in show business and, again, it was a true honor to talk to him. You’ll hear it Monday.

On Thursday I talk to another legendary Bob… Bob Mould. His band, Husker Du, almost invented Indie Rock. His band Sugar was monumental. His solo work is great. He has evolved as a person and an artist in a way unlike anyone I’ve talked to. I don’t want to spoil anything. This is a great week for the show.

So, I did it. Arena comedy. Outdoors. In Tampa, Charlotte and Atlanta tonight—well as I am writing this it is tonight. When you get this it will be done. The Oddball Festival has been great.

Before I tell you about it, if you live in Charlotte, NC, I will be back there this weekend at The Comedy Zone doing the big set. Also, NYC, if you want to see me, tickets for the NY Comedy Fest in November are going fast so you might want to get on that.

Oddball. I was nervous going in because I felt like I had spent the good part of the last decade getting smaller and more intimate with what I do. In my mind there was no way to do an outdoor amphitheater without getting bigger, like Old Maron big. I was wrong. I had been driving myself a bit crazy about what my set would be. I know it needed to be tight-ish and I felt like I had pick stuff that had defined tags because it’s going out to 10,000 people who may need to know where the joke ends. I really had no idea what 10,000 people sounded like laughing outdoors but I knew I needed to hear it.

So, the first night out, Tampa, I was second up after Brent Morin who did really well. The host, Jeff Ross, brought me up. I focused, I had picked the material, leaned into it (overcompensated a bit), and did well. Killed. I got it. The next night in Charlotte I pulled back, did a completely different set, relaxed, was more myself, killed harder. And I’m not a guy who likes to use the work killed. It was just feeling that size crowd responding was pretty intense and great. I’m glad I have the skills to do it. I earned them. Good to know I can be myself in front of 2-10,000 people with not much variation.

Initially I didn’t know how doing comedy in the environment would be or how the crowds would be but it’s great. It was a big show. Me, Morin, Ross, Reggie Watts, Hannibal Buress, Chris Hardwick, Aziz Ansari and CK. The crowds are there for comedy. They are comedy fans. All of us are on point and putting it there. I highly recommend the shows. If you want to see me do more than 15 minutes, come out to a club, but the event of Oddball is pretty awesome to see a bunch of great comics do big room comedy. The lineups vary from place to place. You can go to wtfpod.com to see where I will be but there’s great comics on all the lineups. Dig it.

Enjoy!

Boomer lives!


Love,
Maron

We feed, we don’t think.

I can’t stop working, People-

But I would. I really think I would, if I really didn’t have to.

Not knowing what you want to do with your life at 50 is a weird feeling. Obviously I know exactly what I want to do professionally and I’m doing it. What about the other stuff? What about the fun stuff? What about traveling, thinking, playing music, dancing? Well, not so much dancing but maybe a little dancing. What about broadening my mind? Getting back into really trying to understand art and politics and cultural criticism? What about writing an essay for the Paris Review or some shit? Its not that I’ve hit a wall with me, it’s just that I used to really have interests that were active and growing. I seem to be doing that with guitar but what about everything else?

Ok, I’ll admit it. I saw a French movie and it sent me spinning. I saw Michel Gondry’s ‘Mood Indigo.’ It wasn’t that the film blew me away necessarily because it didn’t. It was because it was so incredibly French in it’s approach to story. By French I mean existential and absurd simultaneously. The element that amazed me was the commitment to what seemed like some form of stop action photography. I’m sure there are tricks that are more advanced than that but that is what it looked like. It looked like every five minutes of film must’ve taken weeks to shoot. The story was tragic, really, but the approach was completely comedic, hyper-imaginative and lyrical, and almost completely unnecessary in terms of serving the story. Gondry clearly had a vision. Too much vision. It was daunting to watch at times. I didn’t think it was bad but it amazed me to see someone so committed to his imagination and execution of that imagination even if it seemed totally gratuitous.

So, days later I’m still trying to figure out why. WHY? There are no answers. The story was an emotionally tragic tale of love and death with a running theme of philosophical posturing and sychophancy. Gondry turned these fairly stale-seeming, almost hack, avant garde French film tropes inside out, almost literally, with crazy but organic-seeming film effects and sets. It was monstrously elaborate in its execution of animation elements and strange absurd tangents, but they all explored the themes set up in the human story and took them to a new French place.

I like having to assess and continue thinking about movies. I haven’t been doing it as much as I used to. I just saw American Hustle for the fifth time and I think I’m starting to understand why the people who liked it, liked it, and what David O. Russell was trying to do. I have faith in certain directors and if I don’t get their work the first time I will go back until I do. I am sorry I dismissed the film early on. It’s just that’s the culture we live in. We feed, we don’t think.

I was thrilled to hear all the amazing feedback from everyone about the season finale of ‘Maron.' I’m waiting to hear if we get to make more.

Three episodes this week! Monday I talk to the lovely and earnest Claire Danes. On Wednesday Eddie Pepitone stops by to talk about his new special AND I talk to Peter McGraw and Joel Warner who are the authors of ‘The Humor Code.’ On Friday actor Pat Healy talks about his film, ‘Cheap Thrills,’ and also about the time he lived at my house.

Enjoy!

Boomer lives!


Love,
Maron

A morning walk with Dave Attell.

Hey, Folks-

The anxiety is unbearable sometimes.

I have no idea when it got so out of hand but it is out of hand. I used to be able to at least wrangle my thoughts into a pen and realize I have no control over most of what will happen. Clearly the fence needs some repair because I am out of my mind. I’m just sitting here thinking about things that I have NO control over, none, and losing it.

I’m in Montreal. I just want to get out of Montreal. I’m sure I will. I had a fine time here. The shows were fine. The solo show was great. If you came out, thank you. It got weird but weird can be fine and fun.

Now, I’m here, exhausted, checking the weather and completely obsessed that my flight will be delayed or canceled. I am beating myself up for not taking the first flight out which would have been a nightmare but it’s what I usually do. So, the combination of obsessing about the weather and beating the shit out of myself for not doing something is exhausting me and it is ridiculous and I’m tired of it.

Okay, right now, before your very eyes, I’m going to let it go. As I write this I am realizing and deciding that the weather is out of my control and beating the shit out of myself is completely in my control. I’m letting go of the weather and putting down the bat. Things will work out the way they will work out and I did what I did. That’s that.

The highlight of the festival for me was taking a morning walk with Dave Attell. It wasn’t like an old guy exercise walk. It was just coincidental. I’ve known Attell for years but I rarely see him. If I do see him we talk for maybe five minutes. We had just done the new Opie and Jim Norton show live. It was ridiculous. It was nine in the morning. It was me, Judy Gold, Bill Burr, Robert Kelly, Nick DiPaolo, Ari Shaffir, Jim Jeffries and Attell sitting on couches in front of a live audience and no one was getting laughs until Pete Holmes showed up and everyone piled on him a bit. Good radio, poor Pete. Happens. After the show Attell wanted to get some food so we walked for about 45 mins up to Schwartz’s. We caught up and I guess were good for a year now.

I’ve had smoked meat. Attell had not. It was 11 in the morning. He was hoping for breakfast. Basically all they have is the smoked meat. Let me rephrase--the smoked meat is all you should get at Schwartz's. Attell wanted to get the turkey. The guy behind the counter told him not to get the turkey and to get the smoked meat. Attell was trying to be healthy. The guy knew the turkey was just packaged turkey and the smoked meat was really the only thing to get but Attell didn’t realize he wasn’t at a deli. It was a smoked meat dealer, that’s it. The guy relented, served Dave half-and-half, turkey and smoked meat. He set the sandwich down in front of Dave and said, “This is a first. In 86 years this has never been done.” They had never served a half turkey, half smoked meat sandwich in the history of Schwartz’s according to this guy who had been there for over 30 years. I guess what I am saying is that I was happy to be there for this historical moment in Canadian Judaism. I hope they make a note in the records.

Exciting Monday. I will post my lengthy conversation with Mike Myers. He doesn’t talk publicly much so it was a big deal. It was great talk, actually. Lots of great history and stories. On Thursday I have an amazing chat with comedian Adam Ferrara about family, dads and a bit of car talk. Good week.

Enjoy!

Boomer lives!


Love,
Maron

My fears of drunkies were abated, a bit.

Okay, Friends-

I’ll be at the Just for Laughs Comedy Festival in Montreal this week. I’m doing a solo show on Saturday 7/26 and I’m sure I’ll be doing some other sets around the fest. Check their website for details if you can find them.

Say farewell to the comments section at wtfpod.com. I know most of you didn’t really post there. It wasn’t really a community or fun in any way. It was like ten trolls, a couple of assholes and a few people that enjoyed the show. So, enough. You will be able to post through Facebook, however that works, and at the very least the anonymity element of being a douchebag is gone. Lets see who reveals themselves.

I want to really thank The Comedy Works in Denver for some great shows this past weekend. It is one of the best true comedy clubs in the country. There aren’t that many. The crowds that came out were awesome. My fears of drunkies were abated, a bit. I still stand by what I said and that is that Denver is one of the drunkiest cities I’ve worked in. I know that some folks took umbrage with that but maybe I wasn’t talking about you and it doesn’t make it untrue just because of your civic pride. Everyone was pretty well behaved. A woman did puke and had to be removed from the early show Friday. The EARLY show. Drunky. For your information, that has never happened to me before, anywhere. No biggie. I didn’t even realize it was happening. Even the Bachelorette party at the second show Saturday was tolerable. I had to pummel them a bit out of the gate to set the tone of what I would and wouldn’t tolerate but after that it was okay. The mother of the bride had to be removed from the show for being a drunken loudmouth but the 8 women were fairly well behaved.

I can’t tell you the strange anger that comes over me and I imagine other comics when they see a bachelorette party being seated. To me it means I will have to babysit a bunch of rude buzzed women as they try to make the show all about them. Usually they aren’t there to see any comic in particular. They're just there ‘wooo.' It’s awful. I have no idea who set that tradition in motion or why it persists. My issue with it is, and this is one of the reasons why comics will avoid comedy clubs if they can, it can ruin the show for fans that came to see me. Look, I can manage myself better than most on stage and I won’t take any shit or let someone ruin the show entirely but it will be a different show. I will be defensive and in fight mode. I’m not saying that won’t be entertaining but it will be hands on, somewhat hostile and very unpredictable. That being said, I’m a pro and it was a very engaging and amazing show. They wanted me to abuse the bride. Done. Overdone, even, and it was spontaneous and awesome. I enjoyed every minute of it and I believe the crowd did as well. And that’s why comedy clubs are great. I forget. It is kind of part of the job and it is fucking exciting.

I was being bitchy about maybe not coming back to the club because I want my fans to have a good time. I thought maybe next time I should do one night at small theater. I won’t do that. I will go back to the Comedy Works for as long as they will have me because sometimes you just have to get down in trenches and do the dirty job of standup at a real comedy club. It’s what I do.

On Monday I have a long conversation with Leonard Maltin about how he became Leonard Maltin. I enjoyed it. He’s the ultimate movie nerd. On Thursday Denny Tedesco talks to me about his epic journey to complete a documentary called ‘The Wrecking Crew.' It’s about his father Tommy and the crew of studio musicians that played on some of the biggest records ever, made them hits and went unrecognized. It was a great talk.

Enjoy!

Boomer lives!


Love,
Maron

I’m out of my mind.

Little manic, People-

First off, Denver, I will be at the Comedy Works this weekend, Friday and Saturday, July 18th and 19th. I’m doing four shows. If you are around and can handle your liquor I’d love to see you at those late shows. Denver is drunky. Help me out.

Everything is going great and I’m out of my mind. I think my mind is obsessing about little things to keep the bigger things in the background. I went to the desert for a couple of days and that was peaceful but it took until I got in the car to drive home for me to regress right back into manic insanity. I have no idea what is going on.

I stopped at the outlet mall on the way back from the desert. Something hypnotic happens at an outlet mall. Even thought you aren’t really getting great deals, you feel like you are going to, so you feel almost high. The first store I went into was the Levi's store. I was beside myself. I love Levi's. I always buy stuff at the Levi's store but most of the time it doesn’t fit or it just doesn’t look or feel as good as it did in the store. THIS ALWAYS HAPPENS. THERE WAS NO REASON TO THINK IT WOULDN’T HAPPEN AGAIN.

Within in minutes of being in there I found these amazing jackets. They were cut like classic Levi's jackets but they were a fine corduroy. They were definitely cool. I liked them. A lot. They were actually a real bargain. Half price. This is rare even for an outlet store. I had to have at least two of them. I tried them on. They looked perfect. It was like I was born to have these jackets. I got them in Large and the guy at the counter even told me that things run small with Levis. I couldn’t wait to get home to wash them and rotate them into my clothes rotation.

I drove an hour and a half home and when I got there I immediately put the jackets into the washer. Then I hung them to dry. When they were dry I tried them on again and THEY WERE HUGE. I was livid. How could I have bought them without noticing that? I couldn’t get over it, literally. For two days I was beating the shit out of myself and I had to stop myself from angrily driving back to the store an hour and a half away and buying two more of the exact same jacket. They were just hanging in my closet. They might as well have been clown costumes. I couldn’t let it go. It’s hard for me to even write about it now. Livid.

And that’s how I don’t freak out about the important things.

Great shows this week! On Monday I talk to The Amazing Johnathan who has a hell of a story and situation at hand. Amazing talk. On Thursday I talk to a true pop music genius, Jack Antonoff--another amazing, deep and sad story of transcending pain.

Enjoy!

Boomer lives!


Love,
Maron
2

I am going to the desert.

I’m on a search, Folks -

If I make it back from the desert I will be in Denver at The Comedy Works, July 18th and 19th.

I’m heading out today for a sojourn into the desert. I am seeking tranquility and heat. I am going to Joshua Tree to await some kind of sign or find a talisman that will ground me and give me the power to keep my shit together in the face of mundane annoyances. Is there a Saint of Mundane Annoyances?

I am honestly going to the desert. I need some time to re-groove, pull out and get some balance. I don’t really know how to do that. When you are self-employed it’s hard to know when to take a break because it’s not always clear what is work and what isn’t. I do know that I work my ass off. I don’t know how to take a vacation, especially alone. I travel a lot to do shows but not to relax. What do you do? Just go some place and sit there? Well, I will go to the desert. Perhaps I will come upon the Trickster or a snake or some lizards or just some guy with some wisdom wandering around on meth. Who knows?

I want you to know that I will be taking some time off of the social media platforms. I need to get back to basics. I need to do some reading and some meditating and some thinking of my own thoughts that I will then write down. That’s right. I am going of the grid. I will probably be off for several hours if I can handle it. I will let you know how that goes.

I will make sure to keep all my chakras open and clean the ones that are dirty so they are all humming when I get back. I will keep a journal the hours I am away. So, get ready to hear some tall tales of a wandering mystic or maybe one aggravated story of an anxious Jew.

Gabriel Iglesias is on the show today. I had never really met him and it was a pleasure to talk to the guy. It used to be that everywhere I went he had just been there and sold out every show. On Thursday my old friend, comedian and writer, Brian Frazer talks about his days as a professional body builder and paralyzing anxiety. Good stuff.

Enjoy!

Boomer lives!


Love,
Maron
5

I almost lost my shit.

Holy shit, I almost lost my shit, People-

Oddball Comedy and Curiosity Festival tickets are now available. I'm doing a few of the dates. Go get em if you live near em and want to come.

This week was quite a run. I haven’t been jamming the road like I did this week in a while. I started in Lawrence, Kansas and it was a great show. They have a great little festival going on down there with the Free State Fest. It was a hell of a night. I did over an hour of standup then they screened an episode of my show and then I did a Q & A for another hour. It was a great night. I like doing Q&A because then something has to happen that never would've otherwise. That’s exciting.

The day after Lawrence I flew to St. Louis through Chicago. I know, weird, but that’s the way it had to be done for some reason. I need to pay more attention to how I am booked to fly. The lack of logic can shred my brain sometimes. I think it may have been the best, if not only, way to go. I played The Firebird in St. Louis which is a rock club. I generally don’t like playing rock clubs but it was seated and intimate and I thought the show went pretty well. I’ve never played St. Louis in my life and it was good to see the folks there. I was staying in a hotel with a view of the Arch. I’m not sure what the point of that thing was initially but it is one of the greatest free standing pieces of mind blowing sculpture in the world. I love looking at it. I also had frozen custard at Ted Drewes. I love looking at that as well AND eating it. Fuck.

On Thursday I flew back through Chicago to Indianapolis and then drove to Bloomington for five shows at the comedy mecca that is The Comedy Attic. It’s sweet little room that has some real magic in it. I love playing independently owned clubs with owners that are real comedy fans. Jared Thompson, the proprietor at the Attic, is on top of shit, almost a little too on top of it, but that’s his charm. He treats comedy and comics with respect and it makes a big difference in the shows you’ll see there. If you live in Indianapolis it is totally worth the drive out. It is a far better club than anyplace in that city. At the Attic you see club comedy how it is supposed to be seen, up close, intimate, no distance between you and the comic. The shows were great, the crowds were great and I love being in Bloomington for a few days. They have one of the best indy record stores there called Landlocked Records and I just basically hung out there for a couple of days talking to Heath, the owner, and listening to music. I bought some cheap records. Old cheap records. Embarrassing old cheap records. Guilty pleasures. (Journey among others.)

So, getting to losing my shit. I have to leave Indy at 1:45 for Chicago and then to LA. I did not know that I had 35 minutes to connect. I didn’t catch that when I okayed the reservation. IMPOSSIBLE. Chicago is a clusterfuck of an airport and to get from the regional commuter fight terminal to my connecting flight is like a half a mile walk. I freaked out. Knowing I had a very small chance of making the flight and getting home with ample time to record today's intro and get it to Brendan in New York, so I laid down a panicky, aggravated intro in the car on the way to the airport as back up. Then I get to the airport in Indy and the 11:45 hadn’t even left yet at 1:00 and there was a late flight to NYC at the gate where my flight to Chicago was supposed to park. Fucked. I was able to get on the 11:45 by an act of pure will because the gatekeeper was at the end of his rope. It took off at 1:50.

I made it to Chicago for the sprint to my gate. I made it to the gate and the guy there wanted me to put my duffle bag in the ever shrinking carry on gauging frame. I said it would fit. He said you can't get on until you do it and you need to see the agent because your ticket has been changed. I said, “Fuck.” Then I smashed my bag into the frame, it fit, then I pulled it up quickly and it was stuck to the whole apparatus which came up with my bag. I said, “Goddammit, this is bullshit!” As I wrestled it out in what became a bit of a tantrum scene. One of the gate people said, “Don’t handle things with anger.” Embarrassing. I guess masturbation is out. Made my flight. They had upgraded me as well. I’m an asshole.

This week on the show, on Monday David Huntsberger shares a life story like none I have heard. On Thursday I get deep with Rosanne Cash. Amazing talk.

Enjoy!

Boomer lives!


Love,
Maron
5

I can’t relax.

Out of my mind, People-

Not really. It’s just that I never seem to really slow down. I have no idea how to slow down.

I will be in Lawrence, Kansas, St. Louis and Bloomington, Indiana this week. I know the Lawrence and St. Louis dates are sold out but I’m not sure about Bloomington. I’ll be there at the Comedy Attic Thursday through Saturday. It’s an intimate room. Good things happen in intimate rooms. Even if they aren’t good, things still happen. I guarantee this: Things will happen that will never happen again. In a good memorable way or just a memorable way. Is that cryptic? IT WILL BE UNIQUE AND GOOD. That’s what I am trying to say. I know that your memory goes as you get older. I also know that the desire to use all caps grows as well. I don’t think they are connected. OR ARE THEY?

I can’t relax. I think maybe I’m afraid to or I just don’t know how. I do things that are supposed to be relaxing but my brain won’t have it for very long. I had a great weekend. I had someone in from out of town. I wanted to take her places. We went out to eat a couple of places, we went to the movies and we went to Venice Beach. I never go to Venice Beach. I live about as far east in LA as you can. Going to the West Side is like going to another country to me but I wanted to take her. I wanted to walk along the beach and I wanted soft serve ice cream. Not sure where that urge came from. What part of my past. It is not something I generally crave but I can’t shake it now. So, we went to Venice.

Venice is a multi-culti clusterfuck parade of all kinds of people casually and comfortably not giving a fuck how they look. It’s spectacular. There are also a separate bunch of people in Venice who go way out of their way to look way weird but that’s usually their job. We eventually saw some people with the soft serve so we knew we were close. We got the cones and headed away from the fray to the water’s edge and walked, shoeless, eating ice cream. The day was perfect. The ocean has been providing consistent solace and meditative calm for people for centuries. I could see the hills of Malibu in the distance. I was with someone I enjoyed being with and it was going well for about 9 minutes. It was going well until my brain said, “Fuck, I have to get those hard drives looked at. What the hell happened to that back up drive?” I don’t need to give you the backstory on this. Maybe another time. The problem was the panic that took place was a useless waste of being present for what life is supposed to be about. I had to shake it off. Focus. I have to get the hard drive in my head working properly as well.

Craig Gass is an impressionist but he’s also a guy with a hell of a story. I had a good tak with him that you will hear today. On Thursday I talk to Romany Malco about how he ended up becoming a comedic actor. Fun week. Dig it.

Enjoy!

Boomer lives!


Love,
Maron

I just have to be present and the rest will come.

Hola, People-

First off, I’m sorry if the dates I posted for the Oddball Festival aren’t synching up with the tickets going on sale or if the dates are being moved. It’s not on me. I got the dates, now it’s out of my hands. Check my calendar for updates. I know I am coming to the cities listed. I appreciate all of you who thought I was doing an amphitheater tour and were a little concerned. Nope, it’s a festival. I’m not U2.

I love Chicago. I always have great shows there. I want to thank everyone who came out to The AV Club’s 1stAnnual 26th Annual Comedy Festival. It was a great show. I didn’t know it would be so good. I never know. I choose to always think everything is going to be a struggle and frankly I’m tired of it. I don’t know if I can explain the panic I put myself through before a big show. Cycles. I’m tired of the cycles. I’d like to think I am on the precipice of being content or at least confident enough at this point not to act like I have no idea how to do standup the day before a big show.

I realized something in Chicago though. A big show is different from a little show in one way only--the size of the room. I am always the same size. I don’t need to think I need to get as big as the room. The room has to adapt to my size. I made myself crazy: My new hour isn’t tight enough, I brought the wrong shirt, I drank too much coffee, I shouldn’t have napped, I have to pee, I don’t know which stuff to do, I’m going to be disjointed, I’m going to be defensive, I’m going to be disappointing, I’m not really that funny, I’m due for a bomb. The morning of the show I could feel my entire being shouldering itself for a mediocre show. Some part of me thought there was no way it wasn’t going to happen. Some part of me was trying to defeat me to protect myself against disappointment and level fear. I never saw it so clearly. I never really understand that I have been on stage for more than half my life. I just have to be present and the rest will come. Something will come.

I got on stage in front of a sold out crowd and wrestled myself into the present and had a great show. That’s what I do. I wrestle myself into the present and then wrestle my heart to open - that’s the show. Things happened that will never happen again and that’s what a good show should do. That’s what I think it should do. Structure and polish is overrated. I like making something happen. Something did. Thanks for coming out, Chicago.

I actually couldn’t be more excited about today’s guest, Billy Gibbons. I don’t know what your life was like but I grew up with old ZZ Top on the radio, the pre-beard stuff, the good stuff. I loved talking to Billy. He’s the real deal. I had no idea that he was going to show up with this strange little cigar box resonator guitar and do a rendition of Billy the Kid off of Ry Cooder’s version of the traditional tune. Astounding to be sitting there for it. Happy to share it with y’all. As a counter balance to Billy, Josh Groban talks to me on Thursday. I knew nothing about his world of music but he lays it out for me and he’s a good egg. Great story, too.

Enjoy!

Boomer lives!


Love,
Maron
3

I snapped. Lost it. Old school.

Hello, my friends!

I feel depleted. Like I have said all I can say. Empty. Or, maybe it’s just hot out. Yeah. That must be what it is.

Also, there is the issue, now that I am alone and not really dating anyone, of what to do with time. I seem to be a 50 year old man with no idea how to have free time. I always have some kind of work to do but I should be able to take a few hours and do something fun. Nope. Like today I have some writing to so I drank about a pot of coffee, I went to Target to buy a new toilet seat, they didn’t have them and I came home and passed out for two hours. I woke up and felt like someone hit me in the head with a pillow repeatedly. Then I stumbled around for an hour trying to figure out what to say here. Good times.

I did five sets of comedy at The Comedy Store over the weekend. I actually had a great time until the last set. I snapped. Lost it. Old school. I had just done a great show for like 300 people in the Main Room and there was an hour between that and my set in the Original Room. I was second up. I went and I was having a perfectly nice set. The crowd was great except I heard some chatter coming from stage left, mid-room, people talking to each other. I asked, “Can you not do that? Please.” Then I went on with my show. I wasn’t planning on doing any of the material I have been doing about anger. I was having too sweet a set. Then, more chatter, so I asked, “Can you shut the fuck up over there? Seriously. Just shut the fuck up.” The tone was intense but not completely stage rage. They wouldn’t stop so I said, “Shut the fuck up. Do you want to leave? Do want to stay in the show? We have a long night here so shut your fucking mouths.” This was jarring to the audience and even to me a bit. A few people applauded. Then, the dumb fuck I was yelling at tried to crack a joke that went nowhere. I said, “Just shut up!” again, it was awkward, then I had to get back into my act. So, I did the anger material. Worked out. They had just seen what I was talking about. I guess it’s a testament to my time in the game that I could get the crowd back immediately after a moment like that. I don’t think they left though. I think they were a little shocked but real shit does that. It felt a little embarrassing, like old behavior. I just hate when half-drunk dummies have no respect for the show. This guy was classic fuck. Just dumb middle-aged man that thought he was the funny guy. I left. I don’t know if he shut up or not. I do know that some of the comics were thrilled that I unloaded on him. That makes it feel good.

I have a lot of new dates on the calendar you should see if I’m coming to your neighborhood soon. I’ll be doing sets on The Oddball Festival and some club dates.

Today on the show is the amazing Giovanni Ribisi. I’ve always thought he was a brilliant actor. I was excited to talk to him. On Thursday I talk to the Southern Man that is Billy Wayne Davis. He’s one of the young guns out here trying to make it happen.

Enjoy!

Boomer lives!


Love,
Maron
2

Albuquerque was intense.

Hola, People!

Just sitting at the Albuquerque ‘International’ Airport in all its heightened Southwest-style glory waiting to get on a plane to LA.

Before I get into to my trip home just a heads-up on some upcoming gigs. I’m heading to Chicago, Kansas City, St. Louis and Bloomington, Indiana, in the near future. If any of those are near you and you want to come check the calendar at wtfpod.com for dates. I also have forthcoming dates with the Oddball Festival this year. Will let you know about that and fall tour dates as they come up.

Thank you all for watching and enjoying ‘Maron’ on IFC. The show is doing very well this season and there are many great episodes coming up. Thursdays at 10 in most places and 9 in some on IFC.

The trip to Albuquerque was intense. I was supposed to get there on Thursday and stay for a few days but my plans changed. I was offered a roll on ‘Girls’ and I flew to NYC on Thursday instead to do that. It was one scene but it was a blast and no, there was no sex or nudity involved. I was concerned I wouldn’t have enough time with my dad in Albuquerque but I flew in there on Saturday morning and it turns out it was exactly the right amount of time to spend with him. The benefit show went great. Genevieve Mueller and Matt Peterson were great local openers and I think we raised a good chunk of change for The Endorphin Power Company.

It was mind blowing to see some of the people that showed. I saw people I hadn’t seen in 30 years. I never thought I would be that old. Someone showed up with pictures he took of me when I was 24. I just stared at them wondering what happened to that kid. I said that out loud and some guy said, ‘The same that that happened to all of us. He got old.’ It wasn’t too sad but, shit, the surefire way to remember you are your age is to see someone you haven’t seen since you were kids. You have to assume if they look that way you must in your own way be aging. Of course, it’s hard to acknowledge when you are just looking at yourself in the context of your life. I’m rambling. I know I don’t look 24 anymore but I think I could pass for 40—no? I can, right?

I ate as much Mexican food as possible in 24 hours. I do not feel great. I have been on a food bender and I'm not happy about it. Someone gave me a brick of fudge. Is fudge a regular part of anyone’s life because is it some crazy good shit. I’m very close to throwing it away angrily but every time I try I shave a little piece off and wrap it back up and stash the rest. Just like cocaine.

It was good to see my dad. It seems everything is fine. We talked, hung out, he told me what I ‘needed’ to be doing in a few areas, we ate bagels. All good. I’m grateful about that.

On the show this week I talk to Chris Cornell on Monday about Soundgarden and singing and Seattle. On Thursday the hilarious Rebecca Corry talks dogs, dad and relationships. Great shows this week.

Enjoy!

Boomer lives!


Love,
Maron
5

Thank you Brendan McDonald.

Holy shit! 500!

Are you fucking kidding me? I’m not sure I thought I would do anything 500 times that wasn’t eating or masturbation related but I have and I have shared it with the world. I’m truly happy about what we have achieved with the show. I feel like I have done something with my life.

Something I don’t talk about much is the impact that my producer and business partner, Brendan McDonald, has on the show. I’ve been working with Brendan on and off since I first started doing radio at Air America. He’s a wizard. He shapes the show and is my go to person with any questions about almost anything. He’s a brilliant producer and he now works with me full time on the show. His mark is on every episode and may not be something you all pick up but it is indelible. I want to thank him here and make sure you all know his contribution. He was there at the beginning.

I know many of you have been racking your brains about who the guest on this episode would be. We were, too. We reached out to many of the people you would think I would want to talk to. I know some of you think that I have my pick of anyone in show biz and they would just come at my beck and call but, no. That is not the case. As we moved toward the 500th we realized we weren’t going to get any of those guests. They were not moved by this milestone in my garage. Fine. As we closed in on the show Brendan and I realized that the guest was not what the show was to be about and that was better off. The 500th episode should be a show about the show and about me and where we are now. I know the show has evolved over the last 5 years and I know I have as well. We didn’t want to do a greatest hits show or a retrospective. We wanted to talk about the amazing achievement that is WTF and about where it is now and where I am now in terms of the challenges and changes I am dealing with in my life.

Many of the challenges I face have to do with the emotional cost of being as transparent as I am with my life and feelings on the show. It is what I do. It does not come without a price. I have alienated wives, girlfriends, friends and my father doing it the way I want to do it. In this 500th show I reckon with that through some carefully selected clips from the past and some very current talks with important people in my life, past and present. That’s all I’m going to tell you.

I wouldn’t be where I am without you. I mean that. I am glad we have the relationship we do. I appreciate you. Thank you.

On Thursday I will give you the live one-on-one talk I did with Vince Vaughn in Nashville. We had fun. I think you will have a good time listening to it.

Enjoy!

Boomer lives!


Love,
Maron

I am now officially a paid musician.

Hello, People!

I know I repeat myself. I know I repeat myself. Here are some gigs coming up. Before I get into them I just want to remind people who live in the LA area that if I am around I will usually perform at The Comedy Store. I don’t put these gigs up on the site or in these updates because I book them week to week and they are only 15 minute workout sets. You should check the schedule at The Store or my Twitter feed if you want to see me there.

That said, I will be in Albuquerque on May 31st. I’m excited to perform in my home town. I think it will be a good show. There are dates coming up in Chicago, Bloomington, IN, Lawrence, KS and Charlotte, NC. Check the dates to see if you can make any of them.

Flying back from Nashville, Tennessee as I write this. I had a good time at The Wild West Comedy Festival. I interviewed Vince Vaughn for a live WTF. I’ll be putting it up next week. It’s no easy thing doing a live one-on-one. That’s why I don’t do them too often. I know you may think ‘What’s the big deal? You just sit there and talk to the guy in front of 300 or so people.’ That’s the big deal. The people. It’s tough to have an intimate talk in front of an audience. I was very nervous and anxious about the show. I didn’t know Vince at all. In my mind we are totally different types of guys. I was paranoid he would hand me my ass somehow just because he seems to have that kind of personality. I didn’t know if we could even have a connected talk in a live situation or ever. I drove myself pretty nuts moving towards the show.

I usually do live episodes of WTF with several guests and I don’t worry about going too deep. I do the group shows for entertainment and laughs. The tricky part about sitting and talking with someone else in front of an audience is you don’t want to neglect the audience. If you spend lot of time on stage there is an instinct there that kicks in. I will always be aware of the crowd probably to a fault but when I talk to someone else in front of people I just don’t know what will happen. When I interviewed Jeffrey Tambor live in Austin it was brutal for a while. I rolled with it but it was not easy for the first bit. He enjoyed making it difficult and that was what made the show entertaining. I can take a hit for the team when the team is me but it is nerve racking.

Vince was great. We are different types of guys. He did hand me my ass but it was good hearted and funny. There was a theme to the show, a through-line that revealed itself as we moved along. I realized that a good live conversation is really no different than a good improvisation. There were callbacks and his instinct for live performing is acute and spot on. It was a fun show. We talked afterward and he noticed the difference in what you can do in conversation with an audience present and that pull to not exclude them. We both thought it went well. I think you’ll like it.

For those of you keeping up with my slight obsession with David Berman of Silver Jews I met him in Nashville. He didn’t want to do an interview right now. He’s going through some stuff but we had a great conversation and maybe it will happen in the future.

I also did a studio session while I’ll was there. Yeah, I am now officially a paid musician. I ran into a guy named Jon Phillip at a restaurant. He’s a fan and also the drummer for a band called Trapper Schoepp and the Shades. He was with Tanner Schoepp, the bass player, who is also into WTF. They said they were recording down the street. I asked if they needed me to play guitar on anything and THEY LET ME! I spent the day in a recording studio cutting a track. It was amazing. I had a blast. We did it at Brendan Benson’s studio and he was producing. They threw me a little cash afterward which I thought was a nice gesture because I just wanted to play. I hope I make the cut.

Today I talk to RuPaul Charles on the show. I had no idea what it would be like to talk to him but I certainly thought I had an idea of what he would be like and I was wrong. Way wrong. What an amazing guy. We had a engaging and helpful talk. It helped me anyway. Ru has his shit together and I needed to hear some of that. On Thursday, you'll hear my conversation with Aasif Mandvi of The Daily Show which hasn't even happened yet. Hope it goes well.

Enjoy!

Boomer lives!


Love,
Maron
2