Dispatches from the Head

WTF - Jack White respects the Blues.

Full episode out 6/18

WTF - Donnell Rawlings speaks Korean.

Full episode out 6/14

Eat Prince’s Chicken, don’t die.

Hey, Ya’ll

I’m in Tennessee right now but I will be at the Just for Laughs Fest in Chicago with Sarah Silverman this Saturday, June 16th. Come by if you can.

Spent the weekend at Bonnaroo! The Roo as it’s called down here, I think. Did some fun comedy shows in the Comedy Tent, saw Radiohead up close, caught the tail end of the Punch Brothers, saw The Roots from far away, and returned and conquered Prince’s Hot Chicken in Nashville. Oh, and I went over to Third Man Records and hung out and talked to Jack White for an hour. You will hear that talk soon.

As fun as Bonnaroo was, I had three goals when I was in Tennessee: eat Prince's Chicken, don't die, interview Jack White. I got into town on Thursday. Friday, I did a couple of shows at Bonnaroo and at the end of the night, after seeing Radiohead, which kicked ass, tried to get someone to go eat Prince's. No takers. I guess selling it as the place that has chicken that's so hot I almost had to go to the hospital the last time I ate it was not as appealing as I thought it would be. Apparently most people don’t see almost burning your lips off as an exciting culinary possibility. Most people are pussies. They didn’t understand that I had to return to the lair of a dragon, harness it and ride it into the ground. I knew I was going to interview Jack on Sunday and, come Saturday, I had one more chance to beat the chicken. Again, no takers. I actually got pissed off at Joe DeRosa for saying he was going to go and then bailing. You need to go to a place like Prince's with the right people. I couldn’t be responsible for someone’s pain if they didn’t know what they were getting into. I almost bailed on the whole idea because I didn’t really want to go it alone. Sweating and crying while eating is something you want to share. Enter Kyle Kinane, food warrior.

I was about to go up to my room and Kinane walked into the lobby. I said, “You want to go eat some really fucking hot chicken.” He said, “Is it really hot?” I said, “Yeah, I almost died the last time I ate it.” He said, “I’d like to try that.” We headed to Prince's. I told him he’d better get the medium if he wanted to taste something besides pain. He thought, if we were going he’d better get the hot or what’s the point. He then explained his theory about the medicinal effect of really hot food. I held frim to my opinion on the medium. He was skeptical. When we got there I ordered. I got mild like a pussy. I got him the medium. He was pissed but once we got the chicken and started eating it I noticed he was doing the specific sucking-air-breathing of a mouth on fire. He realized it was hot enough. I swore to him that if it wasn’t hot enough I would buy him a hot piece. After we finished I felt bad about getting the mild and he still wanted to take on the hot. So, we got one hot piece and split it. We made it through. It was awesome. We found the trick was eating it with your fingers and not putting your mouth on it so the fire can spread throughout your face. We were victors. Until…

This morning. When I got to Third Man Records to interview Jack White all I was hoping was the chicken, now attacking me from the inside, would not disrupt the talk. It didn’t, not too badly. I rode out a bit of pain but kept it to myself. It was great.

On the show this week, we have a partial Mr. Show reunion on Monday with Dave Cross, Bob Odenkirk and John Ennis live from The Vancouver Comedy Festival. This show also features a peace talk between me and Neal Brennan, and British comic Josie Long. On Thursday, Ashy Larry himself, Donnell Rawlings. Fun week.

Talk later. I have to go to the bathroom.


WTF - Kurt Braunohler talks about his Catholic roots.

Full episode out 6/7

The new Marc & Tom Show is available now!

Surf’s up, People-

Hey! If you are a fan of mine, great. If you are a fan of mine AND Tom Scharpling, it’s your lucky day. The new Marc & Tom Show is available now. This is the second episode. We had such a great talk the first time that we had to do it again. This time it took place in a hotel room in New Jersey. Many things were covered including Kubrick, Pink Floyd, diners and dads. It's available on iTunes here or you can get the link at wtfpod.com. Dig it. We did.

I will be at Bonnaroo this weekend performing standup and doing other things like probably not seeing The Beach Boys again.

I saw them last night. I actually enjoyed the show. I took my girlfriend for her birthday. She loves The Beach Boys unconditionally. The show was good. The songs were all there. There were a lot supporting musicians to fill in any holes and I found the whole thing to be moving even though they seemed to be going through the motions a bit. They are all in their sixties and Brian sat at his piano like a mildly interested Buddha occasionally waving his arms like a conductor but, from what I understand, he’s never been much of a showman. He sounded sweet. Mike Love and the rest of them sort of happily lumbered their way through it all. They played for two hours plus and we stayed until the very end. The longevity, journey and songs of these guys, who I’m not even that invested in, made the night very touching. It was elating and sad simultaneously, just by virtue of their age.

As some of you know they are not really my guys. I like them. Their music is obviously part of my past. I mean, isn’t it somehow part of all of our pasts. I guess for most of my life I just wrote them off as a sound (and a cheesy one at that) but not without merit. The harmonies are great, the sound is uplifting and fun, but cheesy. Then, as I got older, it was slowly and hypnotically droned into my head that Brian Wilson was a genius on par with the Beatles. I did my homework. I learned about Brian and his brain. I learned about the parallels between Sgt. Pepper’s and Pet Sounds. I learned about Smile. I did all of these things, halfheartedly, but I did them. I get that he is an amazing arranger and the vocal and instrumental layering and harmonies are inspired. I have Pet Sounds. I have Smile. I've listened to them many times. I can’t seem to handle being blasted with the beautifully layered pain and sadness of them but that is the genius. I guess I just am not ready. Soon.

A highlight of the show for me last night was that Paul Stanley was sitting right behind us in the same box and I said nothing. He’s definitely not one of my guys.

Rick Shapiro is on the show Monday. He is an old friend and occasional enemy. I love the guy. I really do. He is an unbridled madman of a performer and one of the most visceral, present and inspired comedians I have ever known. It is always amazing watching him. It is never comfortable but always riveting. We try to have a conversation but it is hard keeping Rick locked in so we riffed it out and had some great moments. Rick has been having some health issues lately and could use some support. If you feel like kicking in a bit go to rickshapiro.tv to help out. He is a bit immobilized and not unlike many, a bit broke.

On Thursday, from the new IFC show Bunk, it’s Kurt Braunohler. This was a very surprising talk. He is a sweet, interesting and deep dude. Funny too.


New Marc and Tom Show available NOW!

The Marc and Tom Show

The minds behind The Best Show and WTF have teamed up again for another podcast super-session. It's like The Avengers for your ears!

Get the new episode of The Marc and Tom Show on iTunes by clicking here. It's only $2.99.

What musical moment changed Tom's life?

What happened when a major comedy star called Marc to reject WTF?

Find out now.

WTF - Craig Finn talks Divorce

Full Episode out 5/31

I related to the Hulk.

Okay, People-

It’s Memorial Day and I don’t usually think about it much. I am today. First off, before I get too self-involved and offend anyone for trivializing an important day, for those of you out there grieving or remembering family or friends who were lost in the line of duty in any of the many wars, for right or wrong, my heart goes out to you. Loss is a horrible, powerful reality of being alive. We are equipped to process it no matter how horrible.

Now, to make it about me and my loss at the moment.

There’s been this stray cat hanging around my house for a couple of years. I thought it was a girl and honestly I thought it was somewhat of a bitch. She always seemed very entitled and had an attitude. Obviously I had anthropomorphized the cat and created a codependent relationship. I had a thing, a dynamic, with the cat. I liked having it around. I hadn’t seen it in a week or so and she showed up a couple of weeks ago looking bad. She was skinny, losing her hair in clumps, not moving much, not grooming herself, convulsing a bit, having a hard time breathing, just a mess. She was howling for no reason. This is a feral cat. I couldn’t just pick her up and take her to the vet. I haven’t even touched her in two years. I got a trap, the nice kind, trapped her with some food and brought her to the vet. He said she was a he and that he had been neutered and he had a horrible upper respiratory infection. They did tests and I left him there until morning for the results because if I hadn’t and he needed treatment of some kind I would have had to trap him again. He’s not falling for that twice.

The blood test came back FIV positive. He could have been beginning his slow decline. I didn’t know what to do. I tend to deny death at all costs and would’ve taken the little guy home in hopes that he got better and had some more years in him. There was no way I could consistently give him medicine or care for him. I couldn’t even touch him. The vet said he recommended euthanizing him but I couldn’t quite handle that until he told me that the cat would eventually crawl away somewhere and die a slow painful death alone. So I made the difficult choice to have him put down. It was awful to bring an empty cage home but I think I did the right thing for the cat. It was a horrible mature decision that I hated.

I am haunted by that cat. I guess it’s grief.

I saw The Avengers. I liked it. I related to the Hulk.

On the show Monday is the young and harshly judged Bo Burnham. I judged him. Turns out he’s a thoughtful, tormented professional entertainer. It was a great talk. On Thursday, the lead singer of The Hold Steady, Craig Finn, hangs out, talks, plays and sings. Also on Thursday, I tracked down Tony Clifton at a rehearsal for some upcoming shows at The Comedy Store. I had never met him. It was just what you would expect.


WTF - Bo Burnham is an internet sensation.

Full episode out 5/28

WTF - Killer Beaz on hillbillies and comedy.

Full episode out 5/24

When did I lose my love of NYC?


I’d like to start by sharing some bad news. On May 17th the great Ron Shock passed away. He fought hard against the cancer and shared that process with his fans. It’s a brutal disease but he lived at least 8 lives and was a profound influence on comedy. We are re-releasing my chat with Ron from March 2010 in memory of this wizard and guru to the likes of Bill Hicks and others. Vaya con Dios, Shock.

I’m a bit reflective sitting here in my Holiday Inn Express in Brooklyn. When did I lose my love of NYC? Because it is gone. All the things that I thought were great and gritty and real and raw are now just grimy and annoying. There’s something about personal space that is appealing to me now. I can’t seem to handle the constant onslaught of people that I am confronted with on a second-to-second basis in the City. I used be excited by the intensity and chaos and energy but now it’s draining. I don’t have the shield I used to have to protect myself from all the psychic shrapnel that is flying around. I would walk down almost any street and feel mentally and emotionally molested by parades of multi-ethnic, multi-class, multi-bad fashion choices and attitude problems. I’m exhausted. I feel dirty.

It’s not so much that I love LA, I don’t. I do have my own space there. I would hate LA, too, if I woke up and my living room was filled with dudes in tank tops wearing shorts and Yankees hats on my couch listening to iPods and there was a guy screaming at my sink in the kitchen and four guys in suits and a loud obese woman talking to her friend about her nails in my bathroom. That’s every day, give or take a character, in NYC.

Brooklyn has been okay. That’s another stage entirely. Lots of beards, dogs, strollers and yoga mats all converging on one coffee shop. I’m a little more use to that. I had some good sets here and I had a blast shooting a scene with Louie CK for the upcoming season of his show. I did spend some time with old friends and it’s nice to see people getting older and still fighting the fight and even winning a bit.

This week on the show, I had a long talk with the odd, charming and brilliant Paula Poundstone. I hope you dig that on Monday. On Thursday, I talk to a guy who I used to see headshots of my entire career and had never seen or met until I ran into him in Montreal last year. Killer Beaz is a comedian who has played primarily the South for his entire career and I was excited and curious to talk with him because he was ever-present in pictures and more of an idea than a person to me. It was fun. I hope you like Skynyrd.


WTF - Paula Poundstone on staying in comedy.

Full episode out 5/21

WTF - Danny McBride can memorize lines.

Full episode out 5/17

Too Jewy?


I will be doing a live WTF at The Googa Mooga Festival in Brooklyn this weekend. It is a special engagement. I had no control over the ticket prices or venue situation. I am sorry if you feel left out. The good news is I will share the show with you soon. I will also be performing at the Bonnaroo Festival in June. This week I am appearing on Piers Morgan on Monday and Conan this Wednesday.

I’ll be slowing down on my performance schedule a bit in the summer to start writing the IFC show and work on a second draft of my book. I will keep you all abreast of what goes on and where I will be appearing.

I’m sorry about the greeting. Too Jewy? I spent the weekend at my niece’s Bat Mitzvah in Phoenix and I feel like I’ve had my fill of Jewish for the year. Outside of what emits from my being involuntarily on a day to day basis, I’m all filled up. While I was sitting there at the temple I realized Bat and Bar Mitzvahs are a unique opportunity to observe the full life cycle of the Jewish person. In most cases it seems to end up with complaining—from my observations. I’m not complaining, yet, right now.

As I write this I am sitting poolside at a resort in Phoenix with my mother, my brother and his wife, his 3 kids, her 4 kids and my girlfriend Jessica. I can’t remember the last time I have been with my mother on Mother’s Day. She’s thrilled that my brother and I are both here as well as all her grandkids. I don’t always acknowledge these occasions but they seem to be important. I’m trying to realize that life doesn’t last forever and I should experience these family moments and appreciate them. That usually lasts about 20 minutes, half-hour max, then I’ve had enough. I hope you connected with your moms just enough to not have had enough. Either way, they are why we’re here, for better or for worse, and we owe them a debt of gratitude for that (depending on the day). I know my mother reads this so I just want to say, “Thanks, mom. You did the best you could, so you claim, and we ended up okay. Happy Mother’s Day.”

Great shows this week. On Monday is the Live from San Francisco Sketchfest show with Laraine Newman, Will Durst, Pete Holmes, Geoff Bolt and Arden Myrin. I remember it as being big laughs and big fun. On Thursday I’m happy to post a rare and hilarious interview with Danny McBride. Hope you dig it.