Dispatches from the Head

The “Uhh Yeah Dude” guys bonded over pageant girls.

Full episode out 4/22


WTF - Jim Florentine can’t play music.

Full episode out 4/18

Jonathan Winters died.

Hey, People-

We lost a great one last week. Jonathan Winters died. We reposted his WTF episode yesterday as a remembrance of true original.

When I drove up to interview Jonathan Winters at his home in Santa Barbara on March 23rd, 2011, I had no idea what to expect. I was told that some days were better than others, that some times of day were better than others and that you were never sure what state of mind he would be in. He was 86 years old. Winters was a comedy genius beyond description, he was an original, an archetype, the real and only deal. I grew up seeing him on TV and in movies. He was hilarious, unpredictable and inspired. He was mythic. I was nervous. I had heard about the breakdown, the mental hospital, the depression, the drinking, but that was all part of his past, what he had gone through, what he had endured and survived. Winters was possessed by a comic muse that was perpetually at war with the darkness in his mind. He rode the edge of that darkness and mined it for the voices of the characters that spoke through him, that kept him company, that kept him sane and that made the rest of us convulse in a type of laughter only he was capable of finding within us. No one was like him. No one will ever be like him.

I can’t say that I knew him. I didn’t. I met him twice. The first time I was a guy with a mic for Comedy Central at the Montreal Comedy Festival in the early nineties. I was walking around interviewing people. There was a gala event and I was stopping entertainers who were going in to ask them questions. I walked up to Jonathan Winters and asked the question I was told to ask. Before I could get it out of my mouth I noticed Dick Cavett run up to the sound guy in my crew. I saw the sound guy take off his headphones and give them to Cavett. I turned to Jonathan and said something like, “Mr. Winters, have you seen any young performers that have made an impression on you or that you’ve enjoyed here at the festival?” He looked at me with grave seriousness and said, “I haven’t been able to get out to many shows. My wife is ill in the hotel room. I’ve been taking care of her.” It was not the answer I was expecting. I tried to be polite and appropriate and said, “I’m sorry to hear that.” He looked at me with the same stern earnestness and said, “I shouldn’t have flown her in air cargo. It's cold and there are animals down there.” At that moment I heard Dick Cavett howling with laughter behind me. I had been had. It was an honor.

The second time I met Winters I was in his home. We sat and talked for over an hour. He was frail but still larger than life. He walked with a cane. He sat down in a large-cushioned chair. I sat across from him. We talked about all of it: His childhood, the marines, his radio days, his breakdown, his movie career, depression, his comedy and his time in a mental hospital. He riffed and chatted with the humor, intensity and range that seemed to be timeless within him. He went in and out of characters. I was in awe, mostly speechless and laughing. It was a good day for him. It was an amazing day for me. I will never forget it. When his nurse came in and told me it was time for him to eat I figured I was leaving. He stood up and said, “I want to show you something.” I said, “Okay.” We walked slowly down a long hallway along a wall filled with dozens of pictures from Jonathan’s life. There were photos of family, movie sets, of him and other entertainers. It was a history of a man and a life in show business. He stopped halfway down the hall and he pointed at a very old photo that seemed to be lost among the rest. It was of a young boy with a dog. Jonathan paused, pointed at it and said, “I loved that dog.” He looked deeply sad for a moment. We continued walking towards a room at the end of the hall. We stood in the entrance of the room. In it was a four-post bed, Jonathan’s bed, and hanging from the ceiling were what seemed like hundreds of model planes of all kinds. Jonathan looked at me, smiled and said, “Those are my planes.” He gazed up at them with the awe and excitement of a child. It was beautiful.

On Monday one of my favorite chefs from Chopped is on the show. I went to Scott Conant’s restaurant, Scarpetta, and we talked about being a chef and he taught me how to make some really ass kicking spaghetti. On Thursday comic Jim Florentine moves through some heavy stuff. Good week.

Boomer lives!


WTF - Rob Schneider started as a trombone comedian.

Full episode out 4/11


My Brain needs a rest.

Hail, People-

Thank you, Indiana. The shows at Crackers were exciting and helpful. I’m trying to get this hour or so together for the taping of my special in a couple of weeks. I have to say a lot of things happened on stage that will never happen again and it was wild. I hope those that witnessed it had a good time.

I appreciate all the pre-orders for my book, Attempting Normal. If you haven’t pre-ordered and you want the book, please do here.

I will be at The Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco on Saturday the 13th. Should be a great show. I’m excited about performing there. Come out if you can.

NYC. I may be doing a secret show on Monday the 15th. I will let you all know.

I’m getting very excited about the show premiering on May 3rd and the book coming out on April 29th. I feel good about the work I did on both. I hope you all dig them. I must be freaking out on some level because my brain seems unable to process anything other than what is going on now or in the next few hours. My mind seems seized in its ability to process my schedule for tomorrow or beyond and to think about anything that is on that schedule. I guess its good but I think my brain needs a rest and I won’t be able to get it until May. I trying to stay the course and not snap.

I had the privilege of doing Chick McGee's podcast, Off the Air. He's one of the guys on The Bob and Tom Show out of Indy. They've been around for years. Not unlike a lot of terrestrial radio outfits they are feeling the crunch of the times upon them and Chick is doing his own podcast. I have to be honest. It got pretty fucking heavy and emotional, more so than most of my shows. You can tune in to my appearance on Thursday but he posts two a week. Check it out.

Dean Delray is on the show Monday. He is a real character. He’s a newcomer to comedy but not to life. He’s a very entertaining storyteller with a rare rock and roll enthusiasm for everything. Rob Schneider talks about where he’s been and what he’s been doing on Thursday.

Short update today. I’m a little burnt.


Boomer lives!


WTF - Dean DelRay wasn’t gonna happen.

Full episode out 4/8

I’ve been a little crazy lately.

Okay, People-

Indianapolis, where we at? I’ll be at Crackers Comedy Club in Broad Ripple April 4th-6th. If you can come out that would be great. I’m trying to get my hour special together so they will be fun shows. My buddy Ryan Singer will be featuring for me.

Check the calendar links on the left for upcoming dates in SF, Bethlehem, PA and Milwaukee, WI.

My book, Attempting Normal, is available for pre-order at your favorite bookseller through the link here. It will help with the success of the book if you want it and do it this way.

I’ve been a little crazy lately because of everything that is going on. Very stressed and a little tweaked. I’ve never been in this position before with so much on the line and so much of myself in so many different media being out there in the world. I did the dates in Chicopee and Boston that were make up dates for the ones I cancelled due to the snow storm. I hadn’t done a full hour plus of comedy in about three weeks. I was consumed with stress because I have absolutely no ability to compartmentalize without a lot of effort. It’s amazing to me that I’ve been doing comedy for more than half of my adult life and if I don’t do it for a few weeks I have no idea who I am and I think somehow all that experience just faded away. I guess that’s my process. I have to feel that my entire sense of self is on the line to re-engage wholeheartedly. Do or die. The shows in Boston and Chicopee were amazing. I guess because in my mind everything depended on it. In my heart I am just a comic and somewhere in there when it comes right down to it that’s how I define myself and that is all that matters when things get scary. It’s good to have something that important to you but even that is risky.

Today I will air the live show from SXSW with James Franco, Harmony Korine, Nate Bargatze, Peter Sagal and a very familiar heckler. It gets weird at the end of this show, folks. I was shaken and it’s not clear why. I will explain it all to you with a bit more detail on Thursday's show. On Thursday's show Jason Stuart talks about fighting against being stereotyped as a gay comic. Great guy. Good talk.


Boomer lives!


WTF - Jason Stuart has a hot mom.

Full episode out 4/4

Order Attempting Normal - NOW AVAILABLE

Marc Maron - Attempting Normal


Marc Maron was a parent-scarred, angst-filled, drug-dabbling, love-starved comedian who dreamed of a simple life: a wife, a home, a sitcom to call his own. But instead he woke up one day to find himself fired from his radio job, surrounded by feral cats, and emotionally and financially annihilated by a divorce from a woman he thought he loved. He tried to heal his broken heart through whatever means he could find—minor-league hoarding, Viagra addiction, accidental racial profiling, cat fancying, flying airplanes with his mind—but nothing seemed to work. It was only when he was stripped down to nothing that he found his way back.

Attempting Normal is Marc Maron’s journey through the wilderness of his own mind, a collection of explosively, painfully, addictively funny stories that add up to a moving tale of hope and hopelessness, of failing, flailing, and finding a way. From standup to television to his outrageously popular podcast, WTF with Marc Maron, Marc has always been a genuine original, a disarmingly honest, intensely smart, brutally open comic who finds wisdom in the strangest places. This is his story of the winding, potholed road from madness and obsession and failure to something like normal, the thrillingly comic journey of a sympathetic f***up who’s trying really hard to do better without making a bigger mess. Most of us will relate.

Praise for Marc Maron and WTF

“The stuff of comedy legend.”—Rolling Stone

“Marc Maron is a startlingly honest, compelling, and hilarious comedian-poet. Truly one of the greatest of all time.”—Louis C.K.

“I’ve known Marc for years and I can tell you first hand that he’s passionate, fearless, honest, self-absorbed, neurotic, and screamingly funny.”—David Cross

“Revered among his peers . . . raw and unflinchingly honest.”—Entertainment Weekly

“Devastatingly funny.”—Los Angeles Times

“For a comedy nerd, this show is nirvana.”—Judd Apatow


WTF - Ari Shaffir only needs 20%.

Full episode out 3/28

I’m very excited (nervous & full of dread.)

Shalom, Friends -

First off, thanks for all the cool stuff you all send me. I can’t thank you individually or it would take up a whole episode but I really dig the records, art, letters and stuff. Beautiful. I enjoy all of it. It makes me feel good.

Second. I will be in Chicopee and Boston this weekend. Friday I will be at the Hu Ke Lau in Chicopee doing some standup and on Saturday I will be in Boston at the Wilbur doing a standup show followed by a live WTF with DJ Hazard, George McDonald, Sue Costello, Dan Crohn and Rick Jenkins. DJ was one of the first comics I ever saw live in a club and George hosted one of the first open mics I ever did. I’m really looking forward to seeing them and talking to them.

Third. Please check my schedule for upcoming dates in Indianapolis, San Francisco, Bethlehem, PA and Milwaukee. I will also be back in Austin at the Moontower Festival doing standup, live WTF and a screening of an episode of my IFC show ‘Maron’ which premieres May 3rd.

Fourth. You can preorder my book here and it would help me if you did. I’m very excited (nervous, full of dread) about it. That link will give a menu of options to the retailer of your choice or you can order at your favorite bookstore.

I just got back from a week in New Mexico. My girl, Jess, wanted to go to Carlsbad Caverns. She had been there when she was a little girl and I had been there when I was a drunk young man so both our memories were kind of hazy. It was amazing. There is really nothing else like it if you’ve never been there. I can’t say much about the town of Carlsbad other than we had to eat at a Chili’s. Had to. Enough said.

I went back to Los Poblanos Inn which is owned by some childhood friends of mine and their family. This is an unsolicited plug here—it is amazing. They have a farm and a restaurant; the grounds are historic and respected. I just can’t say enough great things about it. If you are ever in Albuquerque for any reason check it out. It’s reasonable, too! Get married there. There are two peacocks, pigs, goats, chickens and a cow hanging out there. You can touch them! I’m apparently a child. It worth making a special trip there. It's that fucking cool.

Saw my dad, too. I have to say I had more fun meeting the cow. I kid. He’s doing okay though if you were concerned. He wasn’t ill, not physically… never mind.

Adam Parfrey is on the show Monday. Adam is the publisher at Feral House and he had a profound effect on my brain for several years. I had put him in an almost mythological place in my mind. He was a dark master of some kind and I always wondered what it would be like to meet him. I’m glad it happened now that I am past the ill effects that his books had on my life and mind and we could talk like two relatively non-insane adults.

Strap in for some rebel Jew talk. Ari Shaffir hangs in the garage on Thursday. Not only is he a Jew, he was raised Orthodox and turned his back on it. Funny guy. High guy. Hope you dig it. We had fun.

Shalom, again.

Boomer lives.


WTF - Adam Parfrey on the history of black magic in science.

Full episode out 3/25


WTF - E from EELS was in “This is 40.”

Full episode out 3/21


She wanted to see the bats.

I’m heading into the caves, People-

As I write this I’m a couple hours away from heading down into Carlsbad Caverns in Southern New Mexico. Jessica’s break fell on this week and she had been there when she was a kid and wanted to go back. I figured it would be a nice trip and drive and I could go back to the home state, which is beautiful. I’m not sure I ever made it into the caverns even though I grew up in the state and actually set out to see them twice.

The first time I almost made it there I was sent home from a class trip when I was caught with Patty Ryan’s boobs in my hands because Nick Kaplan ratted me out. Yeah, I remember that. Yeah, I’m using Nick’s full name. He couldn’t just let things be. He had to go tell the chaperone that I had a girl in my room. I don’t feel like revenge is necessary and quite honestly is was an 8th grade trip but I just want him to know that I remember.

The second time I tried to go to the caverns was much later, after college, with a girl who thought it would be cool. We were dating at the time and she had come out from Boston to New Mexico for a bit and we drove my Mom’s station wagon down there and fought most of the way. The car broke down when we got down there and we had to rent a car in Carlsbad - a Delta 88 - and cruised around in that.

Wait, we did go. We were in the caverns. I just remembered that as I am writing this. All I remembered before that last sentence was that big green car, drinking in a cheap hotel and fighting, but right now I’m getting flashbacks from the actual caves. She wanted to see the bats.

All I could remember was the cave of insanity that was the hotel room and I had repressed the actual cavern. I still don’t remember it that well. I’m glad we’re going back.

Dick Van Dyke is on the show Monday and I had a great time talking to him. I went to his house and he couldn’t have been more welcoming. Great guy. Really on his toes, too. He’s 87. On Thursday I talk to E of Eels in the garage. He’s a deep dude with some real stuff inside. He lays a couple of songs down, too.


Boomer lives!


WTF - Dick Van Dyke on Danville, IL.

Full episode out 3/18