Another Great.

Okay, Folks. I am okay. Ish. 

If you are in the Bay Area and want to see me in Oakland at the Fox this Friday there may be some tickets left but it’s close to selling out. It’s the same with Seattle at The Moore on Saturday. I believe there are still tickets for The Vogue in Vancouver for Sunday. If you are in Minneapolis and want to come to the taping of my special on April 29th at The Pantages I would get on that now. There are two shows that night. Cool.

Chuck Berry is dead. The King is dead. Long live the King. If there is one guy whose ghost will always be active in rock music it's Chuck. No matter what you thought of him as a person that sound is the shit. Okay, he was kind of an asshole and a perv but that riff, that signature riff, changed my brain. I’ve been chasing that Berry bounce and that riff around for most of my life. The first time I heard Roll Over Beethoven was when I was around nine. It was on the Beatles' Second Album. I followed that song to Mountain’s version and then finally to Chuck’s. It changed my life. It left an imprint or perhaps a neural pathway or river where almost all music had to ride down into my heart for years. It took me to the blues to the Stones to jazz to country. It was the gateway riff, the Rosetta Stone of my connection to music. Yesterday, the day after he died, I was at Gimme Gimme Records and the Chuck Berry box set had just come in. Mint condition. I listened to all six albums straight through. Rock on. RIP, Chuck Berry.

Another great poet warrior who had an impact on my life died two days before Chuck: Derek Walcott. I took a playwriting workshop with him in college. My friend Steve Brill and I wrote, acted in and directed a show in the class. Derek was a big presence who was powerful, creative and aggressively encouraging. He was the kind of guy that inspired you to eat life. He also wrote a recommendation for me when I had the dumb, drunken idea that I could get into Yale Drama School using a photo booth strip as my headshot. He wrote it for me standing in his bathrobe smoking a cigarette on an old Underwood typewriter atop a file cabinet. I had just woken him up at his house as I was leaving Boston for my ill-fated and ridiculous audition in New Haven. He was a good sport about it. I don’t think he thought I had a hope in hell of getting in but I was cocky and not aware of how humbling life would be moving forward. Always. Somehow. RIP, Derek Walcott.

Today on the show I talk to the very humble, very funny Paul Rust about his show ‘Love’ and about coming up in Iowa and LA. Good talk. Decent human. On Thursday I move through faith, religion and life stuff with Reza Aslan. Real thoughtful talk. Engaged. Good shit.

Enjoy! 

Boomer lives!

Love,

Maron

Check In.

How are you, People?

I have been doing the big traveling. I was out east last week for New Hampshire, Connecticut, Montreal and Toronto and then went home for three days and turned around and came back for New Haven, Troy and Burlington. I need to go home sometimes. Check in. Remind the cats who's using the house they own. Play some guitar. Cook a meal. Get mad about something wrong with the house. Drive my car around. Then, I turn around and go back out. It’s a lot flying but sometimes you just have to go home for a minute so you don’t start feeling lost, untethered.

Sarah came with me on this trip and it’s been pretty great. Only one dumb fight over nothing! Well, it wasn’t over nothing. It’s the old "Is That Joke About Me, Because If It Is It’s Not Based In Reality" thing. So, it was a negotiation and we worked it out. The joke was not about her and I make that clear now. See, I’m being an adult capable of compromise. These things can happen when you talk about yourself or use your life for your creative thing. It was not a deal breaker but I did pout and make the evening miserable.

New Haven was exactly what it is and I believe has been forever. The city where Yale is. The Ivy league fortress is nestled into the middle of what I believe is a pretty rough city at times. We were staying almost on the campus and it was nice. There was a time where all I wanted to do was go to that school. I even had a truly embarrassing audition for Yale Drama School. I think I’ve talked about it on the show before. We went to the Yale Art Gallery and it was amazing. It has one the best collections of modern art I’ve ever seen and I’ve been to a lot of museums in my life. I thought I had seen most of the modern art made by the big modern art people but nope. They had Picassos, Kandinskys, Rothkos and more. Early stuff. Shit I had not seen. I don’t even like Kandinsky but these were old ones and I think I finally got it. You have to go give art some attention. Check in with the portals to the other planes wrenched out of the brains of the creatively free. It’s important.

After the art gallery we went back to the hotel to have some coffee in the lobby bar and I noticed a couple sitting across from us. I thought I recognized the man. Then I noticed the woman he was sitting across from was Meryl Streep. I knew the guy from being the guy that is always next to Meryl Streep at events and award things. It was kind of amazing to see her just sitting there talking to him and eating bread and some charcuterie. I didn’t want it to seem like I was staring so I just checked in occasionally. I saw her eat some food, drink some water and check her phone. I have to say she was brilliant. I mean, really committed to all of it and it seemed so natural. She is the best actress. Even in real life, so good.

Today I talk to Kevin Nealon who I have been putting off because I thought he had a problem with me. So, we talk about that, of course, and other stuff. On Thursday I talk to documentarian Louis Theroux about his new Scientology doc. Great guy. Great talk. Funny.

Enjoy! 

Boomer lives!

Love,

Maron

Connect

Bonjour, Folks!

Sorry. I was in Montreal. It felt appropriate. That’s the limit of my French as well. Impressive, huh?

I’m actually en route to Toronto as I write this. I’m on a huge plane. 777. I don’t think I’ve been on one. It seems like a good machine. Smooth flight. Spacious. I’m looking out over the Canadian expanse. It’s pretty up in Canada. Quiet. I used to think it was too quiet, maybe even a little dull. I have to be honest though. After the last few months in the States it was real relief to be out even if it was just for a few days. I felt the difference immediately upon crossing over the border. I’ve never felt that before. I’ve never felt relieved to leave America. The amount of instability, panic, anger, sadness and chaos that is permeating the culture and country has made it very scary. I needed the brief reprieve. All those things have infused northward but it’s different. There’s a bit of distance and a different order up here. I liked the calm.

The shows have been great. I want to thanks all the folks who came out to the Ridgefield Playhouse in Connecticut. It was a sweet show. Nice venue. It was an old school so it had that school auditorium feel to it. It has been around a while so I imagined there were plenty of audiences in that space over the years that were there because they had to be there. Assemblies, high school musicals, a history of bored students and supportive parents. Maybe some show biz dreams were born on that stage. I project though. Sometimes good, sometimes real bad.

After the show the women who runs the place said there were some people outside that said they were with me on a teen tour. I couldn’t believe it. I went on a Baron Teen Tour probably almost 40 years ago now but I remember a few of the guys on the bus with me. We played poker compulsively and I would always lose and I always wondered if they were playing me with a hustle they were working, a team cheat. I was in deep. I had to wire my aunt for cash to feed the sickness. Sure enough one of the guys that came back was one of those guys. They were there with wives. Middle-aged now. It was great to see them. I was happy I remembered them. It’s odd what your brain holds onto. I liked them but I had to ask if they cheated. He said no way. He said I was just a bad poker player with shitty luck. I believed him. That adds up. It’s still true. That’s why I don’t gamble. I’m a bad bluffer.

Portsmouth, New Hampshire was an amazing show as well. The Music Hall is a beautiful historic venue. I loved going back to New England. Had some fried scallops and haddock. It’s not what I’m supposed to be eating but I had to. I really like New England people. They are their own thing. Rough but real. My old friend Jim came down and hung out and the next day me, Jim and Ryan Singer drove up to Montreal. It’s important to spend time with old friends and remember who you were and realize who you are and be grateful for what you have and connect.

Great talk today with SCTV alum Eugene Levy. I loved hearing the stories about the Canadian comedy world that birthed so many amazing funny people. On Thursday I talk to Fred Melamed. Look him up. You’ll know him. Great actor and an interesting guy.

Enjoy! 

Boomer lives!

Love,

Maron

Moved By It.

Show biz, people!

Sorry. I’m watching the Oscars as I write this. I’m already crying for no reason. Just seeing everyone. Song and dance at the start always gets me. Kimmel is doing great. I don’t know, I just have a soft spot for the whole thing. Mind you, I’m in the first half hour here and it might be different if I was writing this two hours from now.

Given what is bombarding us all on a daily basis and what is happening to the political and cultural dialogue in this country it was genuinely moving to see artists owning themselves and what they do and the joy and responsibility of putting it out in the world. For the first time in years the Oscars felt relevant and important. Also, Kimmel was fucking hilarious. Did I mention that?

I’m not going to write too much here because I want to watch. I do want to talk about a couple of movies though. Yesterday, somehow, I got some reprieve from the assault of terror that my brain is putting me through in response to what is happening politically in this country. I was just okay for some reason. I went out with Sarah and had some Indian food. Then we went to see the film Kedi. I knew nothing about it other than Sarah said it was about cats. Obviously, we are cat people. She is a little more than me. I was not all in but I just wanted to be out and doing something. It was pretty amazing. It’s about the thousands of wild cats that have inhabited the streets of Istanbul for centuries and the people they affect. It was a beautiful film and actually celebrated humanity and spirituality through the city’s relationship with these cats. I was really entertained and moved by it. Of course, at this point, just waking up and not being consumed by darkness is moving so I’m an easy audience but it was a really beautiful film and it moved me.

The other film I wanted to talk about was actually directed by my guest today, Raoul Peck. The film is ‘I Am Not Your Negro.’ It is a documentary about James Baldwin. I knew very little about James Baldwin. I had recently watched a debate he had with William Buckley on YouTube and was drawn in and blown away by the depth, humanity, intensity and fury of his intellect. I was ashamed of myself for never having explored his work. I always knew about him but I didn’t rotate him in. My loss. There is still time to learn and be moved by his work because it is always here. The documentary is a life-changing introduction to his work or an elevation of his work if you already know it. It is prescient and disturbing and relevant. It is about the problems and struggles that have corroded the core of this country for generations. It has never been more important than it is now to witness and allow this film to punch you in the brain and change your perception and engagement. It was an honor to talk to Raoul about the film. It is a unique talk for my show.

On Thursday I talk to the very funny actress Jennifer Coolidge. I love her work. I always wondered what she was like.

Enjoy! 

Boomer lives!

Love,

Maron

I Still Remember That.

Okay, People!

Well, I have to say, performing in North Carolina over the weekend was pretty amazing. I haven’t been out too much this year and I seem to be perpetually nervous lately but we sold out The Carolina Theater in Durham and it was a beautiful show. Great crowd. It was the same in Charlotte with about 900 folks at The Knight Theater. Thanks for coming out, everyone. I think we all got a bit of relief. I needed to hang out with you guys. I think we all felt better for a bit.

I never really seem to know what to expect when I head out on the road. I rented a car in Raleigh, drove to Durham and spent a couple of nights there. The Durham Hotel was pretty amazing. My buddy Mac, who runs Merge Records, lives in Durham and his wife has the restaurant in the hotel. It’s always comforting to know people when you hit a town. Even more so if that person runs the restaurant in the hotel you are staying at. Amazing food. I went over to the Merge offices too and saw how that place runs. They’re putting out a lot of good vinyl over there.  

I had forgotten that my pals Stan and Laurie lived down there too. They showed up at the show and they knew me way back, late eighties. Back when I worked at The Coffee Connection in Harvard Square and lived in this weird, big house with a bunch of other people. One of them being Stan. Oddly, he used to run a record label out of his room back then that pretty much had one band signed to it—his band. Vanishing Point Records. Shit. I can't believe I remember that. Anyway, they have grown kids now and it's always great to see people still alive and doing okay after all these years. It’s weird not seeing someone for much for decades. I guess that's what happens when you move around a lot.

I’ve been to Charlotte a few times. I did the Oddball Festival there a few years ago and I’ve played the Comedy Zone there once but I wasn’t sure how I’d do in a theater. It was great. There’s a lot of good people in the South that needed a few laughs. I didn’t eat any livermush this time. Actually, it slipped my mind entirely. Better off. I have a cholesterol issue.  I did have some cheese grits and a slice of Lemon Chess Pie. Had to. Right?

I will be donating a good chunk of my pay for the gigs in NC to EqualityNC.org. I want to help out down there and in the country. Many people won't even work there but I’m glad I did and glad I can give something back. I’m also going to give some to carolinatigerrescue.com to help out the big cats.

Today I talk to liberal redneck comedian Trae Crowder about being that. Lena Dunham also stopped by for a few to talk about the new season of Girls and other stuff she has going on. On Thursday Norah Jones talks singing, her relationship with her dad Ravi Shankar and Texas. Good talks.

Enjoy! 

Boomer lives!

Love,

Maron

Try to Manage.

Back in the world, People.

I’ll be at The Carolina State Theater in Durham, NC this Friday and The Knight Theater in Charlotte, NC on Saturday if you are in the area and want to hang.

I am back from Kauai. It feels good to be home but it’s amazing how just being home a few days and back in the shit of my life and my surroundings consumes me. I didn’t handle the amazing spaces of Hawaii that well. It was almost too isolated somehow. I get that weird detached feeling that is kind of haunting to me. It was beautiful and at times relaxing but I kept fluctuating between ‘I should move here’ and ‘How the fuck do people live here and not lose their minds?’ I guess it requires acclimating to a different groove or just having a brain that interfaces with that lifestyle. I don’t know if I could get there.

Obviously everyday has become like a weeklong dangerous, unpredictable rollercoaster ride that most of us didn’t want to be on. Everyone at the park is scared except for the people that like to see things crash and burn and the guys who just inherited the park and are running it with a bold, combustible combination of amateurism, incompetence and anarchism driven by fury. I’m sorry. We have to keep connected and know that we are not alone. Take care of yourselves. Try to manage your minds and do brave and good things in the world when needed which is daily. We are all humans. I will keep talking to people.

It’s weird that I haven’t had Ryan Adams on the show until today. People love that guy. I always knew him and there were a couple of his records that I loved but I guess I wasn’t all in. His fans are all in. I knew that. I get nervous interviewing people who have very intense and dedicated fan bases because I never feel like I know enough about them. I have common friends with Ryan and I’ve heard he’s an intense complicated guy. I knew we would get along but it just never happened. We would exchange texts occasionally. I knew that the late Marc Spitz had written this great piece on Ryan for SPIN years ago and I was in touch with Marc about Ryan shortly before Marc died. 

What really made me believe that I should talk to Ryan was an odd bit of video. It looked like it was from a trade show of some kind and it was just Ryan and a guitar playing the Grateful Dead’s ‘Wharf Rat’ which is by far my favorite Dead song. It hits me deep. The way he was playing it made me think it hit him deep too. It’s a pretty specific tune. Because of that I felt we had to talk. So, we did.

On Thursday, if all goes as planned, I talk to Ice Cube. Hasn’t happened yet. I’m kind of nervous about that one too. Excited though.

Enjoy! 

Boomer lives!

Love,

Maron

Some Peace and Quiet.

Aloha, Folks.

I was sorry to hear about the passing of a former guest, amazing writer and friend, Marc Spitz. I was just texting with him last week about Ryan Adams. It’s very sad. He was 47. I have no idea what happened. We will repost his episode to honor his memory.

I’m still out in the middle of the ocean. I’m trying to relax a bit. It’s very difficult because I have a phone. I wish smart phones were smarter, more intuitive. If you open your browser or platform or email it can sense your emotional and psychological state and deny you access with screens like, ‘Maybe give it an hour,’ ‘its not a good time to see this,’ or ‘okay, that’s enough.’

Where I am is one of the most beautiful places in the world. The few vacations I have taken in my life I have come here. I have mental problems. I guess some of you know that. They are not debilitating but it can get close sometimes. When I isolate myself and surround myself with water and beauty and I’m with the person I love you would think that would be perfect and relaxing. But if I turn off the noise around me, the best I can, the noise inside me amplifies. It has always done this. Despite the current situation in the world I look back and I can remember dozens of times when I should have found some peace and quiet and could have been present for some real beauty and openness but my brain just filibustered it with fear and panic for mostly fabricated reasons, narcissistic spiraling, a gift from my father. Though the reasons are now very real the pressure to find a way through just to cope is intense and pressing. Working on it. Experimenting with the spiritual but that drifts immediately into the mystical and burns up into a hodgepodge of mythical and possible battles that can slip into slight psychosis.

The fish is so fresh here. I’ve had amazing poke.

I’ll be back in the world soon.

Today I talk to actor Bill Paxton, who I love. Great guy, intense, amazing energy and good talk. On Thursday I talk to Sex Pistols guitarist Steve Jones about the life. Great talk.

Enjoy!

Boomer lives!

Love,

Maron

I'm Speaking to You.

Too much terrible news, People.

This is no longer a right wing/left wing issue. It's not about Republicans or Democrats. It's not about conservatives and liberals. It’s about being an American.

I want to remind everyone who has the privilege to live in this country that we have a moral duty to protect oppressed people and to allow asylum to those who seek it.

If anyone who calls himself the President of the United States of America wants to prevent us from executing that moral duty, he is being a shitty American and it is our responsibility as citizens to override that moral transgression.

You should not be afforded the freedoms of this country if you can’t protect and uphold them for others.

If your anger or ideology or mangled religious beliefs have disabled you from being capable of compassion, mercy, empathy, charity and decency—I guess I’m not speaking to you.

If you are an autocratic loyalist or a totalitarian apologist—I guess I’m not speaking to you.

If your comfort and/or partisan hopes have insulated you or enable you to rationalize what is happening—I’m speaking to you. Step up. Be a good American.

If you are debilitated by your fear and turning inward or distracting yourself—give your fear voice through anger. I’m speaking to you. Step up. Be a good American.

If you're detached or despondent or feel hopeless or were never ‘political’ it's not too late to engage in some civic responsibility. Step up. Be a good American.

If you are angry and engaged in fighting the good fight in an active way. Thank you—Godspeed.

Thanks to everyone who protested at airports across the country. Thanks to lawyers from the ACLU who showed up and did their civic duty. We are obviously up against something new and terrifying and fundamentally un-American.

Also, if you are a celebrity and are planning to attend the Oscars next month - particularly if you are nominated - you need to think long and hard about that. One of your fellow nominees, Iranian filmmaker  Asghar Farhadi, is not attending due to this presidential decree.

If you are in the military and you served in the Middle East, many of the foreign nationals who were indispensable to U.S. military efforts are now barred from entering the country due to this presidential decree. Some of them have put their lives in permanent jeopardy by working with the
United States military and are now forbidden from seeking refuge.

Look, there is zero point in having a podcast, or going to award shows, or entertaining ourselves in any way if we’re not going to fight like hell to protect the foundational structures of this country that allow us to do these things in the first place.

I mean, are you telling me we Americans can't create jobs, rebuild infrastructure, have reasonable immigration and trade policies and health care without compromising the foundations of our democracy or disregarding the constitution. Come on!

I woke up on Saturday and called my Congressional representatives and made some donations to organization working to support war-displace refugees around the world and the ACLU.

Here’s a list of those organizations:

The International Rescue Committee
UNICEF
Mercy Corps
Doctors Without Borders

No one is helpless. If you’re angry, you can do things.

Are you angry? Good. Stay angry, but be focused. Focus. Focus. Focus.

This isn’t a partisan agenda. It is an American agenda.

Today I talk to Robbie Robertson about The Band, Bob Dylan and growing up on a reservation in Canada among other things. On Thursday I talk to the comedian Joe DeRosa and I have a short talk with John Hodgman and Jesse Thorn. Good talks!


Enjoy!

Boomer lives!

Love,

Maron

All We Have Is Each Other.

It's raining, folks.

You spend all year - years - waiting for water in LA and we are getting it. I mean, a lot of it. It’s strange living in a really old house. I’ve never really had any work done on it other than putting a new driveway in with a full drainage situation. That decision was compelled by rain. It doesn’t rain often here but when it does, holy shit. If I hadn’t put that driveway in this rainy season would have definitely flooded out the garage. So, maybe this rainy season will compel me to do some more work on my house. Like, get a new house. 

I mean, every time it rains like this I think the garage is going to slide down the hill, maybe with me in it. Or the entire roof of my house will just fall in. All is well so far but the garage is leaking a bit and I had to chisel a hole in a wall on the side of the house to drain the small lake collecting there. This house has been here for almost 100 years so I can look at that two ways: It’s been through earthquakes, arid dry waves, the Santa Ana winds over and over and torrential rainstorms—it can take it. OR this will be the last year that this house stays in tact. Time will tell. I am ready for it to stop raining.

Last weekend was amazing. I’m glad so many people took to the streets to be heard and seen and speak their minds and celebrate their anger. It was a women’s march but the streets were filled with all types and kinds of people. It was spectacular. All we have is each other. The reality that we are a community of people that want what America means: Freedom, liberty, equal rights, decency, respect, tolerance, diversity. These aren’t ‘liberal’ ideas. They’re American ideas. 

It’s very fucked up that there is so much anger and intolerance on both sides of this thing and the momentum of division is being stoked by the negligence and aggression of leadership. So, it’s on us to try to make this right for America and what we believe this country to be. Angry people in the streets PEACEFULLY protesting are necessary when no one really has our backs on a government level. It’s all we got—each other. 

There is a humility and vulnerability in not being able to pretend you are something you aren’t. It's awful to be scared of being hurt for who you are, but that’s where we are at and we have to stick together and take care of each other. We aren’t going to ‘get over it.’ It’s just starting. We don’t want to be erased or eradicated or gagged, not by our own fear or by anyone else. We can accept what has happened. Acceptance without submission. We need to speak up. A lot.

Great shows this week. Today, I talk to Martin Landau. The 88-year-old veteran actor takes me through becoming an actor in NYC at The Actors Studio with Marilyn Monroe and James Dean all the way to present day. Amazing talk. On Thursday I talk to my close friend Jonathan Daniel about his life journey from a hair metal band to being one of the most innovative music managers in the business. Good week. Good talks.


Enjoy!

Boomer lives!

Love,

Maron

I Cut Through.

Feel better, Folks!
 
I guess I’m just talking to you like you all have the same shitty cold that I do. It’s weird. I’m sick but I’m not that pissed about it. I guess there’s really nothing you can do once you are sick except the weird shit you’ve decided makes you better. I have those. Currently it’s vitamin C, oregano oil, aspirin and some weird Chinese herbal thing my girlfriend got from her massage therapist. Is it working? Sure. Why not? Ultimately it comes down to rest and water, I think. I have no idea if I’m actually getting better. I’m all Sudafeded up and Afrined. I think I’m ok. I had a good run with no sickness. So, I’ll take the hit without freaking out. I have the time to be sick right now. It’s kind of relaxing in a sick way.  If you don’t freak out and rest it gets better quicker. Right?
 
I can't write too much today because I lopped off a piece of my left index finger. I’m no wizard on the keys with all of my digits. So being hand hobbled is not great for me, writing-wise. It was a gift that did it. I like having sharp knives in the house. As you people who cook know, a sharp knife is an amazing thing. It makes cutting fun and satisfying. I guess I had gotten used to my dullish unsharpenable knives. I knew them. We understand each other. It’s important to understand your knife. 

I was given a brand new big sharp knife for Christmas. I had no relationship with it. When I used it a couple of times I knew is was a beast but I liked it. I was happy about it. Then, the other night I was cubing some tofu and when I sliced through the small loaf of curd I felt that unmistakable feeling of slicing finger. Its not painful at first and you don’t really know the damage until you say, ‘Fuck,’ and drop the knife and quickly look at the source of the feeling. There was a lot of blood and bloody tofu is not a popular vegetarian dish. I had sliced into my index finger at the tip and there was a little disc of skin barely attached. I had cut through all the layers hence the big blood letting and the lack of extreme pain. I’ve been through some serious slicing accidents from my days working the counter at restaurants. I knew it was too small for stitches and I knew that the skin disc would probably have to come off but I wanted to try to let it reattach. I hit the wound with some peroxide that Sarah ran and got out of the cabinet. I was actually surprised at just how many first aid supplies I had. We cleaned it, dressed it and I left the skin on and hoped it would press into place and connect. Sarah almost puked. Thankfully, enough of the tofu was left to finish making dinner, which I did because I’m stubborn. 
 
I’m happy to report that as of today the flap seems to be taking. It hasn’t turned black or purple and fallen off. I redress the thing twice a day and marvel at the miracle of skin. Hope it takes. It’s fucking with my ability to play guitar. Though I am taking it as an opportunity to strengthen my pinky and play anyway. Not well but it’s a good exercise. 
 
Today I talk to James Hetfield from Metallica. I’m no metal nerd or headbanger but I was married to one once and I’ve grown to appreciate it. Either way, it didn’t matter. We had a great talk. On Thursday I talk to B-movie king Roger Corman. Some of the greatest actors and directors ever started their careers working with Roger. Should be interesting. 

 
Enjoy!

Boomer lives!

Love,

Maron

Reconfigured.

It’s a New Year, People!
 
Here we go again. Hang on. 
 
I know I won't be pleasantly surprised but I don’t really want to be terminally surprised or surprised with horror on a daily basis. I am girding up, though. Emotionally, psychologically and spiritually girding up, somehow.
 
I’ll tell you how I entered the New Year. The day before New Year’s Eve I was told to watch a documentary called ‘HyperNormalisation’ by Adam Curtis. I know he’s done other ones but I wasn’t familiar with him or his work. I may have watched ‘The Power of Nightmares’ back in the day but I can remember it. It came out in a dark, tired time for me. I am told we did talk about it on my old radio show but much of that time seems like a haze of anger and caffeine. This new one is a mind blower. It is a journalistic exploration of the forces that have brought us to where we are: Technology, international terrorism, perception, economics, reality, detachment and the powers that rule and fight to maintain power over all. 

The movie is a feat of doc genius and the trajectories Curtis brings together successfully are daunting and haunting but there is clarity in it. The darkness spreads wider and over more time than I could conceive and there is light in knowing that. It is bleak but there is so much I didn’t know and so much he brings together that makes sense that it feels enlightening and there is always some hope in enlightenment. So, I watched that and it reconfigured part of my mind. Good way to enter the New Year. Reconfigured. 
 
It has become a tradition for me to do nothing on NYE. Just have a quiet evening with Sarah, not even checking in on the global time zone dropping dominos of televised celebrations and panic. We just made some dinner and watched a screener of ‘Hidden Figures.’ It’s a great story and an important one to be told and shared. The movie is a little hokey but the performances are great and I cried at the right places. We waited out midnight, had some sex, kissed and slept into the First. 

Now we’re here and I have changed nothing. I made no resolutions. I don’t need that pressure. There’s already enough. I feel pretty good, actually. It's weird to admit that. I know shit is real and hard and scary but my foundation is solid. I hope I have the fortitude not to personalize the shit storm that is likely and to keep doing solid work that has an effect. I have to find the holes with light shining through them and try to bore them out a bit, make them bigger. I am wary but oddly inspired. It’s kind of good to have something to push up against. It becomes essential to fight and figure out a way to express it. 
 
That said, I talked to Bruce Springsteen for today's episode. It seems my agenda was to connect with him personally. I had an hour and that was what I wanted to do. I feel like I did it. On Thursday Martha Plimpton gets worked up. She’s a real NYC character. Loved it. Great talks. 


Enjoy!

Boomer lives!

Love,

Maron

I Hope.

Hello, People! 

I hope you all are having as comforting a holiday time as possible. It’s hard not to be pensive. We should be. It is hard to know what is real and what isn’t.

We only have our own perception to rely on and how we load up that perception is on us: How we want to inform ourselves, what sources we draw from, what our priorities and beliefs are and how we buttress or question those priorities and beliefs. Do we detach entirely, thinking that focusing on our own business and life in the most morally responsible way possible is enough to be proactive? I mean, we have lives, right? It might not be enough because we have to be morally responsible citizens of a country we still believe in. We have to believe and we have to push back against an avalanche of anti-democratic psychological brutalization on all fronts, government-sanctioned. We can’t buckle and be defeatist and we can’t have blinders on. Which is a drag, because there are some really great blinder options out there. You can get them all on the Internet.

We might actually have to get involved, get our hands dirty and help others in a real way. I mean me, too. I am not saying any of this in a condescending way. I think about what I need to do all the time. I have to stop thinking and start doing. I can't think that talking about this in a broad and vague way is actually doing something. I guess it kinda is but I know there is more I can do. I’m taking time to reflect and get clear on what that may be. I hope you are, too. It’s easy to get overwhelmed and terrified and hopeless and then that becomes debilitating and can provoke a depressive state that becomes the focus. The bleak feelings of dread are not the pathology; the events you are reacting to are pathological. Your brain and body are doing the appropriate thing. Let’s relieve it by coming together.

All that said. I hope you got some cool presents. I hope you ate some good stuff. I hope you don’t feel too bad about yourself as we enter the new year. There are enough external things to feel bad about. Let yourself off the hook a bit with your interior attacks if you are waging those battles. Let’s externalize them, use that critical energy for things that need to be criticized that aren’t you.

A couple of outlier talks this week. Today I share a conversation I had in Las Vegas with Sammy Shore. If you listen to the show I am sure you have realized there is a sub-narrative that is a comic history of The Comedy Store. I have had an obsessive relationship with that place for decades, going back to when I was a doorman there in the eighties. Well, Sammy is the original owner of the place. He is Mitzi Shore’s ex-husband and Pauly Shore’s father. He is, what I’m sure he would categorize himself as, a somewhat failed comic. He had nothing to do with what The Comedy Store became when he handed it over to Mitzi in a divorce settlement in the early seventies but he has something to say about it and his life in show business. On Thursday I talk to David Bromberg. When I was a kid I had an album I inherited from somewhere. It had a sketch of a guy playing guitar on it. It was a David Bromberg album. It was a little too folkie for my taste at the time but I remember it. Then I got a new David Bromberg album in the mail a few weeks ago and I thought, ‘wow, this guy has been around a long time. What’s he been up too?’ So, I reached out to talk to this lifelong sessions player and I now know he is also the foremost authority on violins made in America, a passion he pursued during a 20-year hiatus from music. Interesting talks.


Enjoy!

Boomer lives!

Love,

Maron

A Special Experience.

Hey, Folks!

There are a slew of new tour dates up at wtfpod.com/tour. Check in to see if I’ll be performing in your area. Also, the signed Carnegie Hall posters are going fast. This is a limited thing. All I got is what I got. So, if you want one I would pull the trigger on that at wtfpod.com/merch. While I’m self promoting-- you can get my last special ‘More Later’ now on iTunes! Enjoy.

I wrapped. We finished shooting ‘GLOW’ for Netflix last Friday. It was emotional but I tried to keep it under control. I’m sure it will set in more in the next week. When you spend a few months working on something that is so collaborative as a TV show you get very attached to the process and the people involved. You live in the world of making the show more than the real world and it's very intense. 

Throughout the shoot I sort of kept my distance from the 14 women playing the wrestlers both for character reasons but also, I think, to preserve my energy and emotional stability. My personal boundaries aren’t great and maintaining them requires somewhat drastic action, like almost shutting down so I don’t spiral off one way or the other. So, I kind of minded my own business and stayed in the work. I wasn’t a dick but I was kind of self-involved. I was sociable but I think I was kind of guarded so I wouldn’t be too open and it wouldn't affect the guy I was playing. I couldn’t really be guarded around Alison Brie. She sort of had my number and could disarm me pretty quickly but that really informed our dynamic on the show and it was really good. I felt it. Our relationship is a primary one in the season so it was good that we had the rapport we had. It was also good for me because I’m no trained actor so having a real connection AND working with a great actress made me perform better. I felt very close to all of them whether they knew it or not. I had never been around that many women at once every day, ever. It was a true learning experience.

It was amazing watching all of them work. They really built a team, trained together, understood each other and real showed up for what were some pretty daunting scenes. I found it all very moving. Like, I would get choked up watching them wrestle and act and I had to kind of stuff it down because that was what the guy I was playing would do and also I didn’t want to lose my shit on set every other day as me, Marc.

Everyone involved with this show was amazing and did great work. I’m really excited for everyone to see it. I’m not sure when that will be but it will be a special experience to watch it. I really want to watch it. I have to wait, too. I have no idea how it all came together. There’s literally no way it can't be good.

Annette Bening is on the show today. We had a nice long chat about her life and acting and Warren Beatty and other stuff. It was nice. On Thursday I talk to guitar wizard Derek Trucks about being a child guitar wizard and evolving into a virtuoso as opposed to a novelty act and about all his mentors along the way. Great talks.


Enjoy!

Boomer lives!

Love,

Maron

It Was Not My Truth.

Hello, Folks!

It’s Sunday as I write this. I don’t feel great.

I went out for late Jew food at Canters after the show last night with my pal Jerry. I know that in every young Jew there’s an old one waiting to come out. I think that’s how we ripen and come to full fruition. You see moments of it throughout your life, indicators, but eventually it will be how you fill your skin. There is nowhere it becomes more apparent than in a food ordering situation and the subsequent reaction to the food when it is served. Granted, I am picky and specific because of my culture but maybe also because of my upbringing.

My mother is relatively anorexic, so as a kid, being in a restaurant with her and having to sit there while she found something on the menu that she could deconstruct and special-order into nothing was always an embarrassing situation. To sit there while she made the server request something that always became basically just vegetables with no oil, garlic or spice that may have started out as pizza. Then she would pull her own concocted dressing out her bag and sit there happy and I was just filled with shame. A good restaurant for her was one that would accommodate her eating disorder. That was my childhood. I grew to learn to just look down at the table and go to another place when she worked joy-reductive food mathematics with unsuspecting servers who usually count on the menu to protect them from patron’s crazy.

In a deli, you want your thing the way you want it but that is understood. I worked in a deli after college in West Roxbury, MA and the type of special ordering was appropriate to the menu but each Jew had their way—fatty, lean, heel of the bread, pancake style, onions grilled well, no onions, burnt, browned, fresh, from the middle, toasted twice, etc. The deli was the one place they went to get exactly what they wanted; even if it makes the counter guy crazy. I was a counter guy. You learn how to navigate the requests and negotiate the desire. It’s a Talmudic discussion getting to the truth of the meal for that person.

I know my deli meal truths. I’ve become a little more suicidal with my food choices. Since the election, a futility has descended with the darkness that makes eating what you want at the cost of time off the backend a priority and a true pleasure and comfort. Like a cancer-riddled Warren Zevon said to David Letterman when asked if his condition had taught him anything about life and death: “How much you’re supposed to enjoy every sandwich.”

I made the mistake of not requesting the waiter I like. I don’t usually do that because I trust most of the crusty servers at Canters. My guy isn’t crusty but he knows me. This is a big right of passage for an aging Jew, realizing you need to ask for your guy at the restaurant. Noted. I got a new guy. I ordered a cup of chicken soup with just broth and chicken meat, a LEO (lox, eggs and onions) with well-grilled onions, a plate of pickles, rye toast, cream cheese and a diet Dr. Browns Black Cherry soda. That is what I wanted. That was my truth and I wanted it delivered. When he showed up with a LEO with spinach scrambled and no toast, I lost my shit a bit. I don’t mind spinach but it was not in the Jew food aesthetic that I was looking forward to. It did not fit tradition. It was not my truth. I could’ve eaten it but I am an old Jew and I looked at him and said, “What is that? There’s spinach in there. I don’t want that.” He took it back and then it came back out correct, still no toast. I was losing. I went over to my regular guy to step in and he was busy. I looked around angrily and by the time I got everything I ordered there were at least three people involved in the process of getting me what I needed and my friend Jerry took on my panic. I think he would’ve stormed the kitchen if I hadn’t told him not to.

All said and done, it was a great LEO. The truth will set you free. It’s the age old struggle for it that can be daunting.

On today’s show I talk to Casey Affleck about growing up in Cambridge, MA, maturing as an actor, having kids, dealing with an alcoholic dad, and his performance in ‘Manchester by the Sea.’ I know there's been renewed attention on Casey being accused of sexual harassment in the past, which resulted in a lawsuit that was settled by both parties. And there are questions about why more outlets aren't asking Casey about these allegations, particularly in the current cultural climate.

Well, I can't speak for anyone but us, but I can tell you why it doesn't come up in my conversation with Casey: Because it's a violation of the terms of the settlement for Casey to talk about it. I was not told I couldn't ask about it. There were no questions that were said to be off-limits for this conversation. But Casey is not going to address the details of the case because of the terms of the settlement. 

For a lawsuit that was settled out of court by both parties, there's not much I can ask if the settlement means Casey can't talk about it. There have been other guests who were unable to discuss incidents due to lawsuit settlements, and when they tell us that, there's not much point in me pressing them to talk about something they say they're legally prevented from getting into. I have to take that at face value. 

Now, if you want to view this conversation through the prism of that lawsuit settlement, you can. The facts of that case are available. 

On Thursday I talk to Billy West. He’s one of the most prolific and talented voice over actors in the biz. He was both Ren and Stimpy at one point. I remember him when he was on the radio in Boston back in the day. Great talks!


Enjoy!

Boomer lives!

Love,

Maron

At Some Point.

So it goes, Folks!

Another two great live shows at the Vic in Chicago! The Vic is a great theater. It’s one of those old-timey theaters that feels like a big theater with its balconies but somehow is intimate. I taped my last special there and it was good to be back.

I love this city (I’m sitting at O’Hare as I write this). This traveling one night for a show is a bit hard on the mind in the way that it doesn’t feel like it really happened. It’s like a dream. I wake up in the middle of the night in Los Angeles, drive to LAX, fly half asleep to Chicago, do sound check, do shows, go to sleep, wake up in the middle of the night, drive to O’Hare and fly back to LA half asleep then drive home. That space between waking up in the middle of the night two days in a row is like a waking dream state. It’s odd. I do know that the shows were good and I was glad people came out. I’m just sad I didn’t have more time to spend in Chicago. I love this city. I did manage to stuff some Lou Malnati’s pizza into my face and it was glorious. It’s the little things (that are bad for you) that make life great.

I can’t wait to have some time off. I don’t know if I’m starting to feel my age or I’m just exhausted. Probably both. I’m a little achy and grumpy. I have a couple more weeks of shooting on GLOW and some tour dates in the spring. I’ll probably shoot another special in the late spring and that’s it. I’ll get a vacation in there at some point. Then it will just be the podcast and me for a while. I think about retiring constantly but then it passes. I barely know what to do with free time on the rare occasions I have it. I really can't imagine what I would do with nothing but free time, but that is the idea isn’t it-- to do nothing. I guess the idea is really to do those things that you love to do, but I do those anyway and I imagine if all I did was those things I would get bored of them pretty quickly and there’s only a few.

I’m just feeling the fragility of it all. The body, the balance between people, the world, the darkness at the core of all questions being answered at all times with no real way to determine if the answers are true or even knowing if the questions are ridiculous. They are the same basic questions since the beginning of questions. All you have to hold on to is whatever fine psychological and emotional infrastructure you have in place to insulate you from the darkness-- actions, some good deeds, being there for others, avoiding falling into yourself in a muted flurry of hopelessness or consumed in a swirl of futility. Pizza.

Sorry. I guess it's existential poetry morning here at O’Hare. People are bundled up. It’s cold. It’s grey outside. We are all in route.

Today I talk to Dana Carvey and it was very surprising because, again, I made assumptions and they were all wrong in a good way. On Thursday hallucinogenic traveler and comic Shane Mauss talks with me about tripping balls. Good talks.


Enjoy!

Boomer lives!

Love,

Maron

Hold the Line.

So, Folks.

Heads up Chicago! I’ll be there this Saturday, Dec. 3 and I think there are still tickets available for the second show at 10. I’m looking forward to a chilly evening of warm comedy.

A quick update on the cat situation here at the house. I manned up and de-manned Buster. I had his balls taken out. Problem is that doesn’t seem to have stopped him from being a complete lunatic of a cat. He has fits of sporadic demonic possession. He’s climbing screens, knocking shit over, darting violently through the house and terrorizing the elderly cats, i.e. being a fucking kitten. He’s strong, though. He has a weird snout, almost like a dog, and huge ears. If I were at a different point in my life I would think he may be some kind of lesser devil or trickster spirit but now I’m older and more reasonable I think he’s just an odd cat with devil and trickster attributes.

He can fetch. I’ve only had one other fetching cat in my life and that was my ex-wife’s cat fat Moxie. I didn’t love that cat. Too needy. Buster will chase down a thrown fake mouse, use it as a Hacky Sack for a bit and then bring it back and drop it in my hand. It’s the only way to tire the little fuck out and it’s pretty cool. 

All is pretty good on the LaFonda front as well. Despite an evil vet telling me she would probably have to be put to sleep, she seems almost fully recovered. She definitely seems a little older and more fragile but she is herself and eating and being the temperamental thing that she is. Monkey is Monkey. He abides.

So, the profound political shift is happening. It would seem to follow that an equally profound cultural shift would follow as well, but it doesn’t have to. It shouldn’t. I fully understand that Trump is the President-elect but if the popular vote means anything it’s that he's presiding over a minority rule. That is relevant in the sense that it is on us to hold some kind of line. There is no social mandate for people being douchebags in public to other people because they feel empowered to do so by the political situation. Some shit is not okay. Just isn’t. I know that most of us, on some level, have lost sense of a true collective respect for humanity because we live bubbled lives on both sides, but we are all Americans and all people. Some are worse than others. 

Point being it may be necessary to step up and say, ‘Hey, it’s still not okay to do that,’ whatever ‘that’ is. Or, ‘Hey, it’s still not okay to say that,’ whatever 'that' is. It’s our duty out of respect for other people. I know I have to because I’m on stage a good part of my life and from what I’m hearing, it can get a little dicey up there. I can do crowd work. I can handle myself up there. I like it. It’s better when I don’t lose my shit, but you have to do what you have to do. There is no social mandate for being a douchebag in public—unless it’s your job and you are on stage and the situation requires it. Righteous douchebaggery has its place.

Today on the show is an old NYC comrade of mine and the host of the ‘Fixing Joe’ podcast, Joe Matarese. Joe is a great guy and a funny comedian. On Thursday I have a conversation with Sam Pollard who directed a new documentary called Two Trains Runnin'. It’s a great talk about docs and race and working as Spike Lee’s editor for years. I also talk with The Handsome Family for a bit on that episode.

Enjoy!

Boomer lives!

Love,

Maron

Something Happened.

People, people, people.

I have to say I had an amazing time in Nashville. I love that city.

I also have to say that I was nervous because I’m prone to it. It was the first big show date I’ve done since the election. For those of you who have been listening to the show for a minute, you know that over the years I’ve developed a real love for going to the South. Initially I was judgmental and had it in a box but as I opened my mind, I’ve had great shows down there. It’s also truly one of the most beautiful parts of the country. But I was nervous. I had made myself nervous. I had been in my bubble here at the house, immersed in too much social media, which is really not a good representation of anything but detached impulses and bits and pieces of maybe relevant info. My brain was being pummeled and my feelings were tweaked. It’s been almost a week since I took Twitter on my phone. I still have it on the home computer. Baby steps. 

As I flew into Nashville, coming in over the beautiful fall foliage, I looked down and thought, ‘Hey, that’s not Twitter.’ Granted, Nashville is a progressive bastion in the South but no matter where I have been in the past I’ve always met nothing but nice people down there and I’ve always had good shows. This time it was better. I was anxious and I had some stuff I wanted to say about where I was and how I was feeling and I did and it was beautiful. I had about 900 folks there in the audience. I did about an hour and a half and something happened that never happened before. I was totally in it for the whole time. No second-guessing, no distance between me and them or me and my jokes and ideas. It was my pace, no rush, no panic, fully present. It was a wild feeling.

I don’t know if it was the Carnegie set or getting off Twitter or that I’ve just crossed some line in myself, but to be fully realized in what you’ve spent your life doing and know it is an astounding thing. I’m glad it happened in Nashville because I was nervous going in but not in the same way I’m usually nervous. I was nervous about America and I left with hope about America. There is something about being face to face with people and not their detached impulses of any kind that makes it very real, very human. That’s why I love doing standup, most of the time.

Also, since I’ve been off Twitter I started reading a novel which I rarely do because my attention span is so shattered all the time. It is probably the most satisfying, spectacular explosion of language and humor I have read in years, maybe ever. It’s call ‘The Sellout’ by Paul Beatty. Powerful verbal fireworks of satire. Rich. Snag it. I’m going to try to talk to him.

Today I talk to the actor Michael Shannon. Intense. Real deal. Great talk. On Thursday I talk to Scott Fagan about his long, twisted, journey before and after recording the lost masterpiece ‘South Atlantic Blues’ in 1968.


Enjoy!

Boomer lives!

Love,

Maron

Carry On.

Onward, People

First off, I’ll be in Nashville this Saturday November 19th at the James K. Polk Theatre. There are still a few tickets left if you want to come. I’ll be in Chicago back at The Vic Theatre December 3rd for two shows at 7:30 and 10. There are tickets available for both. Love that city.

I’m trying to get back to life. Well, I never left it but it’s been difficult. When the world you live in changes literally overnight and shifts into something that threatens what you think is right and good it is daunting, traumatizing. It’s like a death in a very real way or, more specifically, being diagnosed with an illness that may or may not kill you. I’m not trying to be dramatic but it is a blow to a lot of us. This is our country and now we have to navigate a new version of it that is going to require some vigilance and active engagement with who we are as people and how we engage with others. It will now take more courage to be who we are, shamelessly and proudly, as Americans. It happens. It has happened before. Admittedly this feels a lot worse but we don’t know what’s going to happen. No one does. I mean, it will be bad, but we are Americans, proud Americans with deep beliefs about how people should be treated and how we treat people.

I’ve being doing things, going to movies, eating out, dealing with cats and standup but there is the dark, looming uncertainty that hangs over life. Everything has urgency. It's visceral. An appreciation for what we have and what we want is healthy and necessary. I don’t know what stage of grief you are at but acceptance, aggravated acceptance, that happens before standing up and proudly living life and doing what we believe in is important and necessary. Also, there’s a good chance that many people you know are more vulnerable and in a more difficult position than you who might need to be looked out for. We need to get each other’s backs now in a real way because we don’t know if anyone has ours. Carry on.

Also, big news: I took Twitter off of my phone and it feels like I have freed myself from something destructive. Why exacerbate what might be PTSD with an onslaught of more anxiety and compulsion? I know the endorphin rush and cortisol surge is satisfying but don’t tap yourself. You might need that stuff just to get through the day.

It’s a big day today because I talked to Lin-Manuel Miranda. His show ‘Hamilton’ is a truly great example of American art that changes lives and shows what this country is at its best: Inclusive, tolerant and righteous. I loved talking to him and we even sang a bit, a very little bit. On Thursday the irascible Legs McNeil and his more level-headed writing partner, Gillian McCain, talk about the re-issue of ‘Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk Rock.’ It’s one of the greatest books ever written. I was thrilled to have them.


Enjoy!

Boomer lives!

Love,

Maron