Dispatches from the Head

Wellness, showbiz & the evil cat.

Okay, People-

Are we good?

Live WTF is happening at The Steve Allen Theater on Oct. 25th at 8PM. The guests are: Josh Malina, Mojo Nixon, Jonah Ray, Steve Mazan, Maronzio Vance, Eddie Pepitone and Jim Earl. Big weird show! I’m also going to put this stuff out there again: I’ll be in San Francisco at the Punchline Nov. 2-5 and I’m doing my first theater show at The Neptune Theater in Seattle on Nov. 25th.

Things are okay. There’s some evil weird cat hanging around that is deaf and cockeyed and gives me the creeps. I’m trying not to read too much into it but my cats are acting weird too. Maybe there’s an earthquake coming or maybe the end of the world or maybe, most likely, they’re just being cats.

I was asked to speak at a Wellness event last Saturday. Weird, huh? I was on a roster with Yoga instructors, psychiatrists, nutritionists and whatnot. I was flattered to be asked. It was a closed event at a fancy treatment center called One 80 Center. My buddy Dr. Steve Dansiger is one of the head honchos over there and he asked me to do it. I talked about how doing the podcast and sharing my issues with my peers (and hearing theirs) changed my life and how it seems to help others who listen. They dug it. I was probably the least well on the schedule but surely the most aware of that. The center itself was actually Elizabeth Taylor’s first house. It’s beautiful. I would love to spend a month there. Almost worth relapsing for.

Here’s a quick snapshot of my life as a performer. I was at The Comedy Store the other night waiting backstage to go on in the Main Room. Bobby Lee went on before me and did these things: Showed his stomach, screamed, showed his pubic hair (twice), pretended to fuck the stool, pretended the top of the stool was a vagina he was eating then picked it up with his mouth and flipped it in the air and it crashed onto the stage, breaking it, and pulled down his pants and farted on the chair of a man in the front row who stepped out to use his phone. Bobby can do what he wants. He's a funny guy. I was just amazed that I didn’t give a shit about following that. That is surely a sign of some kind of growth. It was a little tricky in that Bobby ended his set before the guy who left came back to find that he was the only one in a room of 300 people who didn’t know he was about to sit in a farted-upon chair. So, in essence, he left that stage with a joke still waiting to finish itself. I acknowledged that and we all acted appropriately when he came back. Show biz.

I had a great time talking to Norm MacDonald for Monday’s show. I was really surprised by his candor and sensitivity. I loved it. Hannibal Burress talks Chicago and NYC on Thursday. Enjoy.


Love,
Maron

WTF Episode 219 with Norm MacDonald Preview Clip

Marc talks to Norm Macdonald about his gambling problem.

New live WTF video!

Live from the Bell House 7-22-11 Pre-Show. There are cake pops!

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WTF Episode 218 with Jack Gallagher Preview Clip

Hey Gang!

Here's an audio clip preview from Thursday's episode of WTF with Jack Gallagher.

Fall, Occupy Wall Street, and shelves.

Hello, Comrades.

First off, here are some gigs. I will be at The Punchline in San Francisco Nov. 2nd through 5th. I will be in Seattle at The Neptune Theater Nov. 25th. I will be appearing on Jackie Kashian’s Dork Forrest live podcast at The Comedy Meltdown space in LA on Oct. 20th if you want to come to that.

Hey, also, if you haven’t checked out the new WTF YouTube channel check it out!

I love fall. There is something about the quality of the air and the briskness of the breeze that makes me feel alive and nostalgic. Unfortunately, I live in LA. So, fall comes and goes in an hour or so. It’s this time of year that makes me miss the east coast. Yom Kippur came and went and I did nothing. I don’t feel bad about it. I rationalize it. I was born on Kol Nidre and I think that gives me a lifetime pass. I am always atoning a little bit.

My biggest issue right now is fighting being overwhelmed. My brain is spinning with bullshit. Small tasks seem daunting. It is amazing what I will talk myself out of. The amount of time it takes to change everything for the better is dwarfed by the dread of actually taking the action to change it. If this seems philosophical or over analytical, rest assured, it is. I am talking about building a free standing shelving unit for my kitchen. I do this with everything. I had free tickets to see Nick Lowe the other night. So, me and the girl thought we would go out to dinner then go to the show for a night out. The thought of driving to the restaurant, parking, making the show on time, dealing with the crowd, sitting for that long and maybe wanting to leave just spun me into a panic that lead to a paralysis. It’s fucking ridiculous. I just wanted to sit at home and watch Chopped.

I am happy to report that we went to the show and it was great. I am also happy to report that I built the shelves and my life is completely different now. I can walk around my kitchen and I have a place to put shit. It took an hour.

I also want to report that in support of the Occupy Wall Street protesters I sent an email to my cousin who is a stockbroker. It basically said, “Give us our country back and then kill yourself." I’m not sure how he will take it. I haven’t talked to him since we were 14. I am also beginning to write ‘Fuck You!’ on all of my deposit slips. I am planning to say ‘fuck you’ at everything in my house that is made by a corporation on the stock exchange. That seems overwhelming. I am dreading that. I might stand in my yard and say ‘fuck you’ at the house. We’ll see. Baby steps. That might make the neighbors think I’m weird.

Great shows this week. Monday is a Live From the Bell House show. It is a great. The wonderful Amy Sedaris appears with Leo Allen, Julie Klausner, Mike Lawrence and the irritating but endearing Sam Seder. On Thursday I talk to comedy veteran Jack Gallagher about the biz and what it is like to raise an autistic child. Powerful stuff.


Love,
Maron

WTF is on YouTube.

Hey, Folks-

Don't mean to bug you but I wanted to tell you about a cool thing. I am starting a YouTube Channel for WTF. Every week we are going to feature videos and/or audio coming attractions for the upcoming week's shows. There will be material there you have never seen or heard along with some archived footage. I have some very talented people helping me put this stuff together. The first bit is up now previewing next week's live WTF from The Bell House in Brooklyn featuring: Amy Sedaris, Sam Seder, Julie Klausner, Mike Lawrence and Leo Allen.

Enjoy!

Love,
Maron

This week on WTF YouTube:

WTF Live with Amy Sedaris & More

Stay updated on both the latest WTF YouTube videos & the newest full-length WTF episodes for free on Facebook:
WTF Podcast on Facebook

Awestruck.

Okay, Crew-

Deep tease! I will be at The Punchline in SF November 2nd through the 5th and at The Neptune Theater in Seattle November 25th. Just a little heads up. Also, if you haven’t gotten my new CD, it is out and I am proud of it. I think you’ll dig it if you haven’t heard it.

Onward.

I guess I am not alone in being a bit in awe of certain actors or, more specifically, the characters they create. Okay, I’ll just say it… I’m a fanboy sometimes. This week was a mindblower for me. I don’t watch many shows on TV with any regularity, but I don’t miss Mad Men or Breaking Bad. I know I am not alone in that I know we are all waiting for the new season of Mad Men and are sad that Breaking Bad is ending its season next week. Okay, maybe not all of you but some. So, I interview Jon Hamm this week. It was a real challenge to separate him from Don Draper in my mind even when he was sitting there being Jon Hamm. It was a bit embarrassing for me. I guess I had some questions for Draper and had to talk to Hamm instead. The fact is Hamm is a great guy, a big comedy fan and interesting to talk to. I would have felt weird asking him to get in character to address some Draper issues and it would have been worse if I just kept asking things like “What would Draper say if…” Happy to report I didn’t do that. Oh, and don’t think it was easy getting past the fact that he is one of the most attractive humans alive and, even though I am not gay, I would marry him in whatever state we are allowed to do that.

Moving on to Thursday, I had the same issue with Bryan Cranston… I mean, shit, it’s fucking Mr. White. I have some serious questions for Walter White but I had to talk to Bryan Cranston instead. Again, great actor, great guy, but he is not Walter White. And, no, I would not have asked him for the meth recipe. I may have asked how he can live with himself and why do I still like him. I guess that last part is on me. It’s interesting to me that when you are a fan and you get to meet people you idolize and they are actors there is a fine line between disappointment that the character you are obsessed with doesn’t exist and complete awe of acting talent. In between those two things is just a dude… Damn. Why can’t life be like the movies?

Oh, yeah, something crawled under my house and died. It challenged my masculinity and made me feel like a bourgeois pig. I’ll get you up to speed on that little drama this week as well.

Thanks for all the birthday well wishes and gifts. I really appreciate it. I made it another year and because of you folks it was one of the best I’ve had… on every level.


Love,
Maron

Hope and Light.

Okay, People-

This is it. My last week on the road for a while. I’m heading back to the Cat Ranch today to focus on my book and get back into shape. I ate fucking Biscuits and Gravy at 2 am last night. Just sayin'…

I’m in Louisville, KY and it has been great. I am always a bit apprehensive about traveling to the South. I know it is a bit prejudiced to think that way but there is something about the history of prejudice in the region that makes me prejudiced against that prejudice. Even though I have had nothing but good times in the South and the people have been great. I flew into Louisville and driving from the airport the first large building I saw heading into town was The Jewish Hospital. For a second I thought, “That’s where I’ll end up. They actually built a hospital for Jews that get themselves hurt down here.”

Obviously I was all wrong. Everything has been great. It’s a fine city with lots of groovy stuff to do. I think I had the best chocolate chip cookie in my life at a place called Please Thank You. I went to the Muhammad Ali Center and that was pretty overwhelming and inspiring. It documents his career as fighter, his courage in the face of racism, Parkinsons and the wave of negative judgment of him when he chose not to go to Vietnam. It went into his spiritual and poetic sides, his charity and mission in life. It was really amazing. About halfway through it I stopped thinking, “Man, I shouldn’t have eaten that cookie.” And instead started thinking, “Man, I really haven’t done much in my life.” By the end of the exhibition I was thinking, “Man, maybe I should change my name and stand for something.” I am going with Hope. My name is now Marc Hope Maron and from this day on I will be filled with hope and light. I will no longer complain about my weight or talk about myself… I’m rethinking this now. I won’t complain about my weight. Baby steps.

This week we have a special show in. I was so surprised and excited about last Monday’s Bell House show that we are putting it up today. The show was already amazing and wild and then it just got better. I booked Ira Glass, Morgan Spurlock, Elna Baker, Joe Mande, Wayne Koestenbaum, Nick Griffin and Nick DiPaolo... AND Artie Lange came with DiPaolo and got on stage for a bit. It was so good to see him healthy and sober, I wanted to get the episode up asap. On Thursday the strange and multiple personalities of Will Franken people the garage. Big week. Hope you dig the show.


Love,
Marc ‘Hope’ Maron

The WTF Album

John Montanga, the creator of the WTF theme song and other music you hear on the show, has put together The WTF Album.

The WTF Album

Get it here.

I’ve had it with traffic.

People-

Before I get lost here I will be at the Improv in Louisville KY this week Thursday through Sunday September 22 through 25. Come on down if you are around.

I just landed at JFK in NYC. I am writing right now in the back of a car. I called a car service. It’s not even a fancy car service. They sent a Camry. WTF. I drive a Camry. I’m no big entitled celebrity but I hired a car service for fuck’s sake. Granted the Camry is new but I kinda would rather an old beat up Town Car over a new Camry. I know it’s better for the air and whatnot but the dude driving is nervous about my coffee spilling and he just sneezed without covering his mouth. I may fuck up his car with my toxic Dunkin Donuts brew but he could fuck up my week with his germ explosion. He can clean his car, I can’t get my week back. Luxury problems. I know.

I’m stuck in traffic. I really don’t want to complain but god forbid any of us need to get out of a big city for any reason with any pressing urgency. Los Angeles is the worst. I know it’s a hackneyed observation but it is really the only big problem I have with LA. Traffic is a malignant time suck that drives me nuts. I drove to the airport at 6am today, Sunday, and it was beautiful. There was no one on the road. I made it there in 24 minutes and it could have taken me over an hour any other day or time. Being able to drive freely on a highway shouldn’t be the highlight of my week but it fucking was. I felt elated. Ridiculous.

Now I’m stuck in Sunday traffic in Queens in a Camry with a viral driver hoping to fuck I am not late for an interview with Anthony Bourdain who is meeting me at my hotel in Brooklyn. It’s the only time we could do it. He is off to Africa tomorrow and I’m complaining about a ride in a Camry. I am a pussy. I am ashamed of myself. I better get myself humbled before I get there.

Jesus, what's happening to me?

This week on the show Lisa Lampanelli gets raw. It was great to talk to her since we really haven’t talked since she taught standup classes at a club in NYC. Also, Chris Hardwick….for reals. Sorry about the delay.

Getting carsick. Gotta go.

Love,
Maron

I almost died from hot chicken.

Hi, ya’ll-

Before I get into it here I will be in Louisville, KY, September 22nd through 25th at the Improv. If you are in the area it would be nice to see you.

Sorry about last week's Hardwick confusion. We just thought it would be better to post the episode closer to the premiere of Chris' BBC show.

Thanks to everyone who came out to the shows in Nashville at Zanies. I had a great time. Thanks for the guitar picks, Pralines, chicken, CDs, licorice, coffee and homemade comix. Everytime I go to the South I always want to have a good time and want to stay despite what I thought before I went. Great people, great city.

I am flying from Nashville to NYC as I write this with a fire in my belly. It is not passion or hope. It is the aftermath of eating at Prince’s Hot Chicken. I don’t think I can rationalize my deep desire to eat food that is horrible for me just because I am in a particular region of the country and want to experience the local cuisine. I almost died from chicken--in my mind anyway. Me and few local comics drove to the hood to eat this renowned hot fried chicken. We got there and there was a 400 lb man with a sidearm standing out front. He wasn’t a cop and I assumed he wasn’t the hostess. It was intense. You walk into the place, walk up to a window in the back and order from the small menu. Chicken: regular, medium, hot or extra hot. I was told that white people were not even allowed to order the ‘Extra Hot’. I wanted to. I found that insulting. I had something to prove but they wont even let you. So I ordered the hot. Now, mind you, I can handle hot.

The food came out. You pick it up in a bag. I opened the chicken and the smell made my eyes water. I took one bite and I started hiccupping. I think it was my body trying to reject what I had just put in it. Within seconds I couldn’t feel my face because it was burning from the inside. The guy sitting next to me started sweating. I couldn’t talk or listen. A guy outside was being arrested, there was chaos around, people talking. I couldn't see or hear any of it. I had a singular focus. Getting through this piece of chicken. Why? Who knows? Because it was there and it felt like I was alive. I did it.

I got back to my hotel room and got into bed. An hour later my stomach seized in pain. I knew what was happening. The chicken was burning a hole in the lining. I started drinking water—to survive. I’ve done a lot drugs and nasty things in hotel rooms. I wasn’t going out like this. I pictured the news story. ‘Comic found dead in hotel room from hot chicken.’ I thought about going to the hospital but I pictured when I got there, grasping my stomach, sweating, the ER nurse would look at me and say, “Prince’s?” I rode it out and the pain passed downward. I am living with that now. I assume it will go away. So, if you are down in Nashville… be sure to go to Prince's if you want to push it to the edge with food.

As I write it is the tenth anniversary of 9/11 and I am flying to NYC. I am not scared, I am a bit sad and reflective. If anyone out there lost anyone on that day I send my sympathy as we honor this dark anniversary.


Love,
Maron
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SHUT UP LITTLE MAN!

Click here to find out more about one of our sponsors - SHUT UP LITTLE MAN! from Tribeca Film

I needed wood like a crackhead needs crack.

Heading South, People!

If you are in Nashville or Louisville and you are a fan of mine this is your month. I will be at Zanies in Nashville September 8th through 10th, and in Louisville September 22nd through 25th. Hope to see some of you there. I will try to bring the merch!

It has been good to be home for a stretch. When I travel so much it seems that when I am home it’s just to do laundry, pay some bills, interview people, and see Jessica. All good things, but I like hanging out a bit at my house. I have been crazy busy preparing to take some time in October and November to give my book full attention. As you all know, I have no idea how to handle anxiety. The other day I was so overwhelmed with anger and panic that I fixed my front door.

I don’t know if you ever compulsively did some repair work to stop the noise in your head but it was great. I think I may have scared a few people at the hardware store with my urgency but they probably see that from time to time. I needed wood like a crackhead needs crack.

The screen on my front screen door was fucked. It had a growing hole in it that LaFonda eventually figured out how to jump through. Monkey watched her do it over and over and it still took him about a month to figure it out. Monkey is cute but simple. LaFonda can go outside, Monkey cannot. So I had a problem. I remedied the problem by taping a large piece of cardboard over the bottom half of the door which obviously looked shitty but I was planning on finding a screen guy to fix the screen. It was like that for a month and LaFonda had figured out how to jump over the cardboard, land between the screen and the outside, then climb out. She’s a smart terror of a feline.

Anyway, in a flurry of compulsion I went and bought the wood for the frame, a saw and saw thingy to cut angles, screen, a staple gun, and nails. I pulled the door off and focused like only the deep need to get out of myself can enable me to focus and I fixed that fucking door and stained the frame.

Needless to say within days LaFonda began climbing up the screen and destroying it, but for a short time it looked perfect and I was a proud craftsman.

On the show this week, Monday, her highness Sandra Bernhard talks nicely to me in the garage. I thought she would be filled with rage but nope. Just me. Thursday I spend some time with Chris Hardwick who I misjudged as well. When will I learn that what I think people are is not usually the case?

See you down South!

Love,
Maron

I am pretty sure I almost died flying into Cleveland.

Okay, people.

I just want to start by saying I have been in Cleveland for 5 days and it has been pretty great. The club is awesome. The food is awesome. Granted everything seems to be on one street, but that street was right across from where I was staying so everything worked out. I went to Michael Symon’s Lola and ate beef cheek pierogi and a pork chop, and I went to his old sous chef Jonathon Sawyer’s Greenhouse Tavern and had buttered popcorn pot de crème. Fucking awesome.

Also, I want to thank Matt at Black Ocean Cabinets for building me the beautiful guitar cabinet you see here. I also want to thank the guy who brought me the pierogi from Parma. Awesome. Always good to see the WTFers come out!

I hope everyone made it through Irene and that Irene didn’t blast through you and yours too bad. Speaking of scary shit, I am pretty sure I almost died flying into Cleveland. I wouldn’t want to die in Cleveland and I definitely didn’t want to die over Cleveland.

I fly quite a bit and I overcame my paralyzing fear of flying years ago out of necessity. I make it a habit to check the weather of where I am flying to determine whether or not we will be delayed leaving. I took an afternoon flight to Cleveland because I had to get in a day early for press—a lot of press. So, I left at 4pm. The weather said there would be thunderstorms so I assumed that we would be leaving early because these days they will delay flights if it's drizzling at some airports. I think this is because there are so many planes in the air at one time they don’t want to have to stack a dozen up in the air circling in shitty weather. In other words, we have all gotten pretty spoiled in terms of what we fly through. I seem to remember as a kid flying in snowstorms, lightning storms and just about anything. I realize now that I don’t miss that. Coming into Cleveland we flew right through a lightning storm and all I will say now is that there is never a time when I want to be gripping the armrests because the plane is flying almost sideways after it dropped fifty feet. I tell the story on the show this week so I will save the details for that.

On the show Monday, Jason Sudeikis from SNL and movies talks about Chicago, SNL, sports and the rumors that he is the father of January Jones’ baby. On Thursday, Anthony Jeselnik shares his button-pushing charm and talks about doing jokes that he knows will offend people.

Glad to be alive.

Love,
Maron

I come from old school stand-up training.

Hey, Gang-

I made it back from Vegas. I’m exhausted. What an awful amazing clusterfuck that place is.

Before I get into that, I want to give my WTF Ohioans a heads up and tell you that I will be at Hilarities in Cleveland this Thursday, Friday, and Saturday August 25th thru 28th.

I really want to thank the WTFers that came out to The Playboy Comedy Club at The Palms in Vegas. I am not exactly comfortable in Vegas. It is not really my bag. I go because I am an entertainer and there is some part of me that thinks that as an entertainer I should be able to play Vegas. I’m not exactly sure where that comes from. I think it is because when I was a kid all of my grandma’s favorite comedians were the old guys who played Vegas and I loved those guys. Obviously, Vegas is not what it used to be. I don’t think it has been what it used to be for my entire lifetime, but some part of me holds onto the idea that Vegas is a goal and an honor for a comedian. I might have to let that go. It was a little rough and the only thing that made it not shitty was seeing you guys in the audience and talking to you after the show, so thanks for that.

I will be honest with you. The hardest thing for me to do as a comic is to reconcile the audience experience in my mind. When I do a show in a place like Vegas, I had about a third of the room filled with WTFers, a third with house seats and a third with giveaways. This is a unique situation. In some cities I sell out; in others, not so much. There is really nothing worse than a free ticket holder in that they have nothing invested in the show and they probably don’t know me at all AND they can be douchey. I come from old school stand-up training. I believe in my heart that I should be able to entertain any audience, but I am still me. Some of you know me REAL well. So, the biggest challenge for me is bridging that gap but still giving you the best show. I am now doing it for the WTFers and my comedy fans so sometimes one of those douchey free ticket holders might have to be sacrificed on the altar of funny for being rude, and of course that is very entertaining to everyone.

I don’t like to unleash the weapons from my dark crowd work arsenal but it can and will happen. I have to admit it can be very satisfying.

On the show this week I talk to Carol Leifer. She started as a standup in NYC with Larry David, Paul Reiser, Jerry Seinfeld and Larry Miller. She's a writer and an actor and may have been who Elaine from Seinfeld was based on. She is a real unsung comedy legend. Also this week the amazing and disturbingly incisive Doug Stanhope comes to the garage with his posse.

See you in Cleveland!

Love,
Maron