Dispatches from the Head

WTF - Kristen Schaal talks about makin’ it.

Full episode out 6/20

I think some part of me really wants to be a professor.

Hola, Amigos-

Firstly, here’s what’s coming up: Tomorrow night I will be at The Paley Center in Los Angeles doing a panel for IFC’s Maron with director Bob Goldthwait, producer Jim Serpico and writers Sivert Glarum and Michael Jamin at 7PM. Should be good. We’ll talk and watch things. I will be at Helium in Buffalo this coming weekend, Thursday through Saturday, June 20-22. I'm scheduled to be on Late Night with David Letterman on June 26th and Late Night with Craig Ferguson on June 27th. Lot of flying. Gunning for that executive platinum status. I think the level after that I can actually fly in the cockpit.

The East Coast book events were great. Thanks for coming out! I did DC, NYC and Boston! Jess had never been to DC so I wanted to show her around. We saw some space capsules and then we had our first big post-engagement fight in the cafeteria of The Museum of the American Indian. It bled out onto the National Mall where we stormed off away from each other. It seemed that there was no resolution possible. It was ugly. We negotiated a truce through texting and agreed to a peace treaty. We met in front of the capital building, hugged and enacted the agreement. Then we went and looked at dinosaurs. It’s holding. Tears were shed, dresses were bought (not wedding, make up), love was made.

I spent some time with my old friend Jim in DC. He works in politics. He’s an advance guy for presidents usually, among other things. I hadn’t seen him in a while. I always like talking to him. He tells me stories that make presidents human to me. If I don’t check in with him they tend to become robots or aliens in my mind.

It was great to be in NYC for two days. I had great readings and it was good talking to everyone who came out. They shouldn’t allow cars on that island, at all. That’s my two cents.

Boston was great too. I spent a lot of my early life there and rarely go back. It was nice this time. I needed the sterile-but-sweet highbrow quiet of Harvard Square. There’s still part of me that is envious of the Ivy League academic lifestyle. I think some part of me really wants to be a professor. I guess there’s still time.

Well, more Jew stuff on Monday. What can I say. Sometimes it just works out that way. Danny Lobell is a comic who actually had one of the first comedy radio show/podcasts with his Comical Radio. Good guy. New to LA. Good talk. On Thursday we go decidedly non Jew with Kristen Schaal and talk about her upbringing on a farm and her ascent to one of the funniest comedy actresses working today.


Boomer lives!


WTF - Danny Lobell interviewed George Carlin

Full episode out 6/17

I proposed to Jessica.

Wow, People.

So, I’m not going to waste any time here. I know a lot of you know already but in case you’re not caught up—I proposed to Jessica. I got her a ring and everything. I served her pancakes on her birthday and stuck the rock right in the middle of the top cake on the stack. We cried and laughed. And so begins another journey into matrimony. I hope it doesn’t kill me or my heart. We’re both excited. I’m also scared but we can keep that between us.

I will be all over the East Coast this week doing book events. I will be in Washington D.C. on June 11th at the 6th & I Synagogue. I will be at the Barnes and Noble in Union Square in NYC on June 12th and in Bryant Park for the summer reading series on June 13th. On June 14th at will be at The Brattle Theater in Harvard Square in Cambridge, MA. I don’t know what kind of tickets are available for any of these but check on them and come out if you can.

It’s a real trip to be doing The Brattle Theater. When I was in college I saw Spalding Gray do Swimming to Cambodia on that stage and it was a life changing event. I had never seen anything like him. I wasn’t hip to the performance thing in NYC at the time. I was kind of just a kid. I thought I knew what was up but I clearly didn’t. To see Spalding perform was like validation that someone just talking about himself passionately and honestly was creatively viable. I had never seen someone so intense and focused on his own story. I remember there being a stack of a manuscript in front of him that he half read as he furiously turned pages and delivered his piece. It wasn’t comedy but it was completely compelling and meaningful on so many levels. It was also hilarious at times. There was really nobody like that guy. He was an inspiration to me.

The book seems to be resonating deeply with the people who read or listen to it. As does the TV show. I have always known I’m not for everyone but it feels good that the people I am for are finding the work and that’s the best I can hope for. That, and the ability to do more work.

This week I get Jewy with Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg on Monday. On Thursday I go into the music time machine and head back to the 80s a bit with a double header. Two episodes in one. Thomas Dolby and Marshall Crenshaw. Interesting talk about innovation and the music biz.


Boomer lives!


WTF - Seth Rogen & Evan Goldberg are subdued Canadian Jews.

Full episode out 6/10


Podcasters are under attack from a patent troll.

Okay, Nerd Warriors and others!

The time had come to ride off into the Internet and find some weapons for the good fight.

Podcasters are under attack from a patent troll called Personal Audio. Personal Audio claims to own a patent that covers distributing episodes via the Internet—basically, well, podcasting. Specifically, Personal Audio makes the ridiculous claim that it invented an "apparatus for disseminating a series of episodes represented by media files via the Internet as said episodes become available."

Broad patents like these are all too common these days, and unfortunately they often end up in the hands of patent trolls.

Patent trolls are companies who don’t make anything or don’t sell anything, but own patents and use them as a weapon to extort money from businesses and individuals, usually demanding licensing fees that are cheaper than actually litigating a case in court.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation plans to challenge the patent at the U.S. Patent Office. To do this, the EFF needs to show that the claimed invention was not new (or prove that it was obvious). To do this, they need to find publications from before October 2, 1996 that disclose similar or identical ideas. This also known as "prior art." In other words, anything that describes early versions of podcasting or any other kind of episode distribution over the Internet.

More details here, including where to send prior art:


A patent troll uses patents as legal weapons, instead of actually creating any new products or coming up with new ideas. Instead, trolls are in the business of litigation (or even just threatening litigation). The business model works because patent litigation is so expensive—often costing well into the millions of dollars. This means that when facing the threat of a patent suit, many will choose to settle instead of fight. Of course, this just further emboldens the patent trolls.

Adam Carolla is already being sued. I have received letters of intimidations as has Jesse Thorn, Sam Seder, Comedy Bang Bang, Ari Shaffir and John Oliver’s show The Bugle, among others. We can’t give into this. It really isn’t right. Please help us fight the good fight.

This week on the show, I talk to a multi-talented comedian, Kevin Christy. He paints, acts, does comedy and design—all well. Impressive. On Thursday, Tommy Stinson of The Replacements talks rock. Real rock.

Thanks for helping out.

Boomer lives!



WTF - Kevin Christy talks about how boring art school is.

Full episode out 6/3


If not a history, an education.

Rock and Roll lives, people!

First a couple of dates. I will be at The Ice House in Pasadena on June 2. I can’t say it will be a new hour but I will try to work through some stuff. Come hang out. I have reading events coming up in DC, NYC and Boston. Check the calendar to the left for deets.

I’m not even old enough to have the deep relationship that I do with music from the era before mine but I realized that I was alive in 1972. I was nine. I was living in a basement in Albuquerque, NM. It was a nice basement. It had shag carpeting and two twin beds where my brother and I slept. It even had its own bathroom. I also had somehow inherited a large AIWA cassette player that had removable speakers. It was a pretty cool piece of equipment for a nine year old. I think what had happened is my father moved up to reel-to-reel and vinyl and I got what I assumed was their old unit. With it came a strange collection of cassette tapes. Here is the list: Johnny Cash Live at San Quentin, Jerry Vale’s Greatest Hits, Bobby Gentry’s Ode to Billy Joe and Creedence Clearwater Revival’s Cosmos Factory.

The one song that I played over and over again was Up Around the Bend. The opening guitar riff is searing. When the drum kicked in with John Fogerty’s voice and the rest of the band the drive was raw energy. I loved it. I couldn’t get enough of that song. When I look at the songs on that album it’s like a full education in rock, country, blues and soul. If not a history, an education.

I’m not sure where I picked them up but I’ve had the first three CCR albums for years. I think I got them from my aunt and uncle. I just recently picked up the vinyl of Cosmos Factory. It holds up. It all holds up. When I want to play my new set up for someone I put on the first CCR record. It sounds perfect. It was produced pure and remains so.

When I saw Fogerty at Sundance with Dave Grohl’s band it was one of the greatest performances I’d seen and it was only three songs and it was only because Fogerty was still totally true to himself and his sound and it seemed timeless. It stopped time. That is some amazing music and an amazing artist.

When I was given the opportunity to interview Fogerty I felt honored. I chose to stay away from his well-documented legal hassles to try to get his songs back and instead kept the conversation to the songs and his life. You will hear that talk today. His new album of collaborations is spectacular. The cover of Long As I can See the Light with My Morning Jacket is beautiful.

Speaking of originals and veterans of a form, on Thursday I talk to Phil Hendrie. Phil has a way of doing radio and now podcasts like no one else. He utilizes the medium in completely unique way that is really all his own. It was honor to speak to him. I can’t tell you how much I dig talking to real deal artists of any form. Love it.


Boomer lives!


WTF - John Fogerty did not invent Stereo.

Full episode out 5/27


WTF - Billy Bragg goes through the history of “Pub Rock.”

Full episode out 5/23


The people that get it are digging it.

It’s weird, people -

All of the promotion is slowly easing up. I’m actually home for a couple of weeks now. I know some kind of depression is going to set in. I can taste it. I’ve already started to dwell on the fact that my book, Attempting Normal, made it onto the extended bestseller list at #24 but couldn’t climb or stay on it. I started to wonder what I had to do to sell more books. How many of ‘my people’ actually stepped up and bought one? Why can’t someone huge step in and Oprah that thing.

Then I realized it’s all just pride fucking with me.

The book is doing fine. The people that got it are digging it. The TV show, Maron, is finding its audience. The people that get it are digging it. I have to realize that I never do anything with making money in mind. That is always the afterthought. When I talk or write or do standup or anything that I create it’s never with the thought to make money. I just want to get what I do out there in as honest a way as possible. The truest way. And when I do come up with some great idea to make money the opposite happens. I couldn’t give away those ‘Nerd Cock’ t-shirts and I thought that was genius. Who wouldn’t want a Nerd Cock t-shirt? Well, the answer to that is: most people. I mean, I know I do ads on the show but we all know that is what needs to happen for the show to make money. So, I guess I do that, but that isn't coming out of my heart. I have a hard time monetizing my heart.

I guess some part of me, after all the promotion I’ve done (and done well), thought that the time has come for most people to ‘get’ me and embrace me. My ego expanded a bit but for a very short time. It was actually maybe a week and half of me thinking I would be huge. Now, it is contracting. I’m back to normal, back at home. I’m dealing with immediate issues. Both of my cats need to go to the vet for eye things. I have to get the vacuum repaired. I need to go to the doctor for a check up. I need tires. I need to start living a life that a human lives again. At the very least so I can have something to talk about.

I’ve begun circling a house down the street because I thought I saw Boomer there last time I was home. I thought I caught a glimpse of him in the yard. I guess I just should just go up and ask but I think part of me knows that it isn’t him so I’ll just keep circling occasionally for the hope buzz.

On the show this week: Monday I talk to the sparky Pamela Adlon, which was great. On Thursday Billy Bragg is in the garage talking my ear off and playing some songs. It was pretty great.


Boomer lives!


WTF - Pam Adlon talks about her dead dad.

Full episode out 5/20


WTF - Sam Simon talks Medical Marijuana.

Full episode out 5/16