Dispatches from the Head

Just four guys up there doing the big rock cock band work.

Here we go,

First off, I am going to be in Chicago at The Maynestage Theater next week. August 4, 5 and 6. I love Chicago. It’s a new room for me, but I hear it’s great. So, if you are around, come down.

I’m heading up to the Just for Laughs Festival in Montreal this week. I’ve been up there before, but I must say this is the first time I have been up there when I am not an anxious, angry mess. They’ve asked me to give the Keynote Speech. I had to look up what that was. I also had to sit and fester for a few weeks about why they asked me. Ridiculous. I get a fun opportunity and I think I am being set up somehow. The crazy has passed a bit and I’ve written it and we’ll see how it goes. I will record it if I can and share it with you folks. I am also doing a live WTF up there that I think will be great.

Guess what I did? I went to a fucking rock concert. That’s right. Someone offered me great seats to the Soundgarden concert at the LA Forum and I went. And I rocked. I never go to concerts. It always seems like a chore and I am daunted by the possibility of crowded parking lots and idiots. I just can’t get from A to B to rocking out in my mind. We had a VIP parking pass and free seats. It was sweet. I used to love Soundgarden. I had forgotten just how much until I actually found myself rocking back and forth and, yes, wait for it… playing air guitar. Twice. Once to "Loud Love" and again with "Outshined." Full on, both hands going, air guitar. At the end of a few songs, I raised my hand in the air, two middle fingers down, pinky and pointer up, and I meant it. Fuck yeah. They sounded great. Chris Cornell hit all the notes and they played all the big songs and a few little ones. What I liked the most about it was that there were no frills. Just four guys up there doing the big rock cock band work. Damn. I have to go listen to some now.

Monday I talk to Demetri Martin…finally. It took some persistence to get him on and I think we had a good talk. Thursday the long wait is over. Live from the Bell House with Tom Scarpling, Horatio Sanz, Sam Lipsyte, Wyatt Cenac and Kevin Allison is finally here. It was a great show in the room. Hope you dig listening to it.

Gotta go find my passport.


It gave me hope for comedy.

Uh, sorry, gang-

I realize now that I forgot to inform you all that I was appearing on Real Time with Bill Maher last Friday. I feel awful but you can all still see it On Demand or on one of the HBOs. I also forgot to realize that my episode of The Green Room with Paul Provenza aired last Thursday. You can still see that as well. If it makes you feel any better, I haven’t watched either of them either. Maybe it’s a fear-based oversight. I don’t know. I do know that I will be appearing on Conan on Tuesday, July 19th. So there. Does that make up for it? Sorry.

It was my first time on Real Time and I was nervous. It had been a while since I’ve had to sit with a stack of news stories and get up to speed on all the political trajectories. It was exciting but made me anxious. It gave me flashbacks to waking up at 3am to crunch the news for Morning Sedition, my morning show on the old Air America. Loved doing it, but man that schedule was a killer. That feeling of spinning myself daily into a manic, angry funny-dispenser fueled by Dunkin Donuts coffee and M&Ms came back over me, and I really don’t know how I did it everyday but it felt good to have all the head juices jamming outward for a bit.

Of course, the Righties picked up on a couple lines I said and an exchange I had with Dan Savage and ran with it. I was proud. It’s heart warming to know that some precise, focused irreverence can still have any effect at all. It gave me hope for comedy.

I hope Bill has me on again. I love doing the homework and getting on the pulse of the culture for a couple of days. Now, back to the churnings of the self, trudging through the small world and the mind.

Great shows this week. On Monday, I talk to the dark prince of Semitic neuroticism, Richard Lewis. I have been a fan for years and I loved talking to him. On Thursday, Rob Riggle hangs in the garage. We had a very unique conversation about something we rarely talk about on the show: military service. Great guy. Dig it.


There is something in the air here.

Hey, all-

Thanks for all the amazing feedback on the Todd Hanson episode. I am glad it had such a profound effect on so many people. I have forwarded many of the emails to Todd so that he can feel the gratitude so many of you felt when hearing his story. I am really moved that the talk we had seemed to provide so much clarity and hope for so many people battling with depression and anxiety in their lives.

I have been in Cupertino for four days. I am staying literally across the street from the main Apple headquarters. For some reason my Blackberry keeps dropping calls. I don’t want to assume anything, but there is something in the air here. I believe they are invisible Apple data assassins killing my conversations in midair.

I visited the Google campus, and aside from it seeming like a borderline cult, I actually saw nobody working. There was a lot of eating going on. There is food everywhere there, and free food at that. They have laundry facilities, gyms, coffee stands, food trucks, volleyball, vegetable gardens, sculptures, dinosaur bones, a doctor’s office, and meditation rooms. I don’t know why anyone would want to ever leave. Maybe I am lucky I got out. Maybe that’s the idea. You hang out for a few hours, eat, sit, and once you hit the three hour mark, you automatically work there. I don’t know what I was expecting. Maybe I saw myself walking down hallways and every so often a panicky nerd would rush out of an office screaming, “Someone just searched Parrot, Cowboy Boot, Lubricant. I have not idea where to send them. Little help. Looking for a link!” I have other ideas about the place I will share on the show later this week.

I took a trip into San Francisco and hung out with my buddy, Jack Boulware. We smoked cigars, walked, talked, had some Philz coffee, ate Burmese food and went to Green Apple books. Sometimes I forget how much I love old school, big, independently owned bookstores with huge used book sections, never-ending shelves, the musty smell of browning paper, and decades of sweaty hands permeating the air. I of course left with a book called "The Birth and Death of Meaning: An Interdisciplinary Perspective on the Problem of Man" by Ernest Becker. How could I not buy that book? All the answers have to be in there; and it's pre-owned and underlined, so I will get to know a ghost and see if I agree with their idea of significance. Just flipping to a page, I see this sentence underlined: “The self is not physical, it is symbolic.” Fuck. That is exactly how I feel about whoever owned this book before me and dragged that pen under those words. Maybe it's how I feel about me. I have to think about it. I might be done reading. Thank you, strange spirit, for leaving your markings.

On Monday, we have a Live WTF from the Bell House in Brooklyn, featuring Jonathan Katz, Judy Gold, Will Arnett, Keith Robinson, Marina Franklin, and a surprise drop-in by Jon Benjamin. On Thursday, Paul Reiser hangs out in the garage. It gets a little uncomfortable but mostly all good.

Take care of yourselves if you can.


Long Live Stubby!

Happy 4th, Folks (Bang! Pow! Sparkly things in the air drifting down!) -

It is hot here in the Barrio. The sun is beating down. The fireworks have been popping since around June 20th which I guess is when Mexican 4th of July actually starts. I’m looking forward to doing what I always do tonight which is stand in my front yard or getting up on my roof and watching the neighborhood spontaneously pop and glimmer in different places to varying degrees of intensity. I don’t really feel that connected to the holiday. I am glad we are here but I feel a lot of distance from the original event obviously. I do enjoy watching things blow up in the air as long as they are fun explosions.

I remember when I was a kid and I was hanging around with some of the more sadistic kids in that weird weekend Independence Day haze of boredom. We had firecrackers which were very hard to come by. Some sick kid had somehow gotten hold of a brick of Black Cats. So, naturally they wanted to take a couple and try to blow up a frog which were plentiful down along the ditches of the NW valley in Albuquerque. I had a couple that lived in my back yard. Because of the weird reality that is peer pressure and my desire to be seen as cool by the psychopathic kids I offered up the idea to blow up one of the frogs in my backyard. I remember finding one and the watching the bad kid trying to figure out how to do it. The method you always heard was to stick the firecracker in the frogs ass or mouth. That proved to be difficult. So, mean bad sick kid just held the frog, put a firecracker under it, lit it and we all jumped back. It popped and the frog just hopped off quickly shy a couple of toes. I felt awful. I told the kids to leave and went to look for the injured frog. I couldn’t find it then but it showed up a week or two later healed up. I called him Stubby from that day on. He lived a good long life before he ended up bloated and dead in the pool filter. How’s that for an Independence Day story? Long live Stubby! God bless America!

This week’s shows are deep and funny. On Monday comedian Nick Thune and I hash out some tensions and then talk Jesus…for reals. On Thursday one of the founding writers of The Onion talks about that history of that publication and also delves deep into living with paralyzing depression. These were great talks. I hope you dig them.

For those of you in the Bay Area I will be performing at Rooster T. Feathers in Sunnyvale CA July 7th through 10th. Come down. It’s a cozy club.

Adios (Grand Finale of all the fireworks left going up and off),

It was the last recourse of a desperate heckler.

Dispatch from the West Edmonton Mall:

Howdy Ya’ll,

I have to get out of here. I am not just performing at the mall, I am staying at the mall. There is a hotel... in the mall. It seems to be a themed hotel though the theme of my floor is a bit ill-defined. There are horses on every door and the design is to make it look like they are stable doors. I am staying in a stable of horses that look exactly the same. Some kind of genetic experiment stable theme is in effect here.

I have been walking around what is the largest mall in North America for four days now. If I were at a another point in my life the feeling of walking through a closed mall after a 10:30 show filled with drunken chaos and aggressive on-stage comedy crowd management would have had a powerfully negative effect on my mental well-being. I would say at another point in my life, the only thing to do after walking down a hall full of horses, drained and questioning my life choices, angry at the level of hammered douchebaggery exhibited at the club, would be to walk into the room and hang myself from the shower rod. I am happy to say that the closest I came to that mindset was perhaps thinking about how one would autoerotically asphyxiate himself. I had a belt. Fortunately I wasn’t sad enough to google instructions and I didn’t want to David Carradine myself, Grasshoppers. So, I took a quick look at a scan someone sent me of the feature on WTF and me in the new Entertainment Weekly and I realized, deeply, I am not in the same place I was. I went to sleep and dreamed of the Wild West.

I will say this about The Comic Strip in Edmonton. It is a well laid-out club and I had good shows. A first happened there. I was dealing with a sad drunk heckler for a good ten minutes. We went back and forth several rounds and he was hanging on the ropes of his booze-soaked psyche and before he dropped to the mat he mooned me. The crowd hushed and I put my hand over my brow to shade the spotlights and saw, hanging over the tier of the back seats, a naked butt. It was the last recourse of a desperate heckler. A final bare-assed shot across the bow of the room. Sadly, he was removed from the show. It’s one thing sparring with words but once asses are unsheathed it is time to go.

This week the eloquent and entertaining raconteur that is Larry Miller will be on the show Monday, and the intense and truthful Chris Titus on Thursday. Hope you dig them.

There is a Live WTF taping at The Steve Allen Theater on Tuesday, June 28th, at 8pm featuring: Rob Huebel, Neil Hamburger, Seth Morris, Aparna Nascherla, Eddie Pepitone and Jim Earl, if you want to come down.

Check schedule to the left to see if I will be performing near you.

Adios Partners,

What’s with Jimmy Fallon’s Pickle?

Comics would say it was the best room…ever.

Oh, man, Denver-

First off I will be in Edmonton at The Comic Strip this Thursday through Sunday. If you are anywhere within a reasonable radius please come down. It’s in a mall. I need some troops out there.

Please check the schedule to the left here to see when I will be in your area. It’s great to see you folks at the shows.

I’ve been hearing about the Comedy Works in Denver for most of my career. Comics would say it was the best room… ever. Well, after being there all week I would have to agree. It’s one of those rooms that is so good, you start to doubt the audience's laughter. I do that anywhere but more there. Thanks to all you WTFers for coming out. Good to see everyone. Thanks for the brownies, cat toys, picture frame, pez dispenser, and thanks to the dude with missing fingers who gave me the Motely Crue shirt off his back. He wouldn’t let me argue with him. I had to take it.

The most amazing thing that happened in Denver happened after the first show on Thursday. I was out in the lobby selling my shirts and a guy shakes my hand, holds it, and says, "Marc Maron." He’s looking at me like he knows me and it all comes back to me in a rush of time and we both say his name simultaneously….Eric. Holy shit. I hadn’t seen this guy in over 30 years. We were best friends in junior high. We even had a band together. He sang. Well, we knew three Rolling Stones songs. I thought he was dead or lost. I had tried to find him a couple of times over the years but to no avail. He looked healthy. He had a woman with him. They seemed happy. We made plans.

I met him at the restaurant he managed. Over lunch he told me about his life and I caught him up with mine. It was a lot of ground to cover but we did it. Then there was only one thing left to do. We drove over to the Guitar Center. We went into the back acoustic room. We grabbed a couple of Gibsons and played our old set list. He sang and I heard the kid I knew in his voice. It was wild. Full circle. Maybe I’ll talk about it in a little more detail this Thursday or next week. I think I will.

This week we have the live WTF from The Steve Allen Theater featuring: Joel McHale, B.J. Novak, Dwayne Perkins, Allan Havey, Eddie Pepitone, and, of course, Jim Earl. It got a little deeper than most live ones. Dig it. On Thursday, Jimmy Fallon. I spent an hour with Jimmy at his office at NBC in NYC. We talked a lot about music but that is the kind of cat he is. Nice guy. Good talk.

Enjoy the day…..or the minute. Whatever is easiest for you.


PS - Why is there a pickle in the skylight? Listen Thursday.

The future is here.

Well, Folks-

Things are getting interesting. Before I forget, again, I will be at The Comedy Works in Denver this weekend, June 16th – 19th, and at The Comic Strip in Edmonton June 23rd – 26th. Would love to see you at either!

The only way I can seem to relax these days is to sit and watch two or three episodes of Chopped on The Food Network. I think its one of the only shows on there where you can actually learn how to cook. I think it also speaks to most of us who don’t really shop as much as we should. You look in the fridge and say, “I have pickles, half a yogurt and ham. You have 20 minutes to make a first course, Chef.”

I think I should tell you all that I shot a thing. A few months back I pitched an idea for a show based on my life to a production company. Then we pitched it to a studio. Then they gave us a few bucks to shoot something and we did. It will basically be a pilot presentation but in all honesty it was a full show. Ken Jeong played himself as the guest on the podcast and was great. Ed Asner played my dad. Erin Daniels played my vet. Angela Trimbur played my girlfriend. Seth Morris played my producer. It also featured Matt Jones (Badger from Breaking Bad), Sean Patton and W. Kamau Bell. I really want to thank all of them. There was really not much money involved and we had a great time. I wrote the pilot with Duncan Birmingham and we brought in Luke Metheny to direct. We shot in my house and a couple other locations. We did it in two 15-hour days. I made Ed Asner coffee while we waited to shoot. Too wild. ED ASNER WAS IN MY HOUSE! Sorry it is not going to be aired. Maybe we’ll all get to see it. I’ll let you know.

Show business has changed…for the better. Whatever is happening to me now started, and remains, in my garage. The future is here.

Yesterday I went shopping for a dresser in Silverlake at a fancy used furniture store. I ran into Jimmy Kimmel. We’re trying to set up a time when we can talk. There was a funny moment at the store. I’ll tell you about it on the show.

This week the amazing Amy Poehler stops by the garage. We have a bit of history—nothing dirty—but I knew her back in the day. Also this week, writer Jill Soloway talks about working on Six Feet Under and Jew stuff—yup, more Jew stuff. She also knew my ex-wife and you know how much I like to drag that shit up.



There certainly is no glamour to casino culture.

You good?

I made it through a weekend at Foxwoods Resorts and Casino without becoming a compulsive gambler and/or losing more money than I can live with. I lost a little but I don’t blame myself. Apparently casino gambling is not an even playing field. There is that part of me that thinks all I need to do is win a few hands and stop. I did that, then went back, lost, went back again, won, went back again, lost half. I did good.

The shows at Comix with Ryan Singer went great. I really want to thank the WTFers that came out. I know it is not somewhere you would go—ever. Thank you for the Cat Toys, Pumpkin Whoopie Pies and the Rhode Island regional gift bag. Much appreciated.

There certainly is no glamour to casino culture. It is definitely not America at its best. Just a parade of fat, oxygen tanks, desperation and women who don’t know how to walk in heels. I had moments when I asked myself, “Where the fuck do these people come from?” Do they live beneath the ground where they sit in subterranean caves eating and watching American Idol? When the weekend comes do they crawl out of manhole covers and walk en masse like zombies to the slots? I sat at a Black Jack table with an obese women, a guy with a tank smoking, three Asian men and a compulsive gambler who was playing 500 dollar hands, losing, while watch a baseball game on a small screen at the table. The reason they pump oxygen into the rooms is so people who have any self-awareness won't become suicidal and ruin the fun for everyone.

The Bell House shows were amazing. Thanks for coming out! The first show was hot and weird but awesome. The second show was mind blowing. Look forward to those.

This week on the show the long wait is over. Brian Posehn hangs out in the garage and talks for an hour. I swear we have maybe spoken for 12 minutes over the entire 15 years I have known him. I actually didn’t know if he could talk for longer than that. It was great to hang out with him. Also on the show this week, Ahmed Ahmed talks about being an Egyptian comic, his family, doing comedy in the Arabic countries, and his new documentary that opens this week.

Hope you dig it.


P.S. I’ll be at The Comedy Works in Denver for the first time June 16-19. Come down if you are around.

I guess my hood is getting hip.

Hello, Supporters.

Sorry about that greeting. I must’ve gotten all NPR on you for a second. Goddammit! I can let this get to my head. The ten-part WTF series that myself, Jesse Thorn, and Nick White produced for PRX is being picked up by some NPR-affiliate stations. These are re-edited interviews from the show with some new intro and segue material. That’s right! The show that I do in my garage, car, and people’s apartments is going to air on WBEZ in Chicago starting June 5th. It was also picked up by WNYC in NY and KCRW in LA, though I don’t know the exact dates. This is exciting. We did it. I feel like we just broke into a library or something. Very exciting. Who knows—maybe I’ll be on the lecture circuit soon. Hah.

I had an interesting experience when I went to get my eyes examined. I went to this optical shop here in the neighborhood that I have been driving by for years—The Society of Spectacle. I was amazed. They had a great selection of stuff and Maria Bamford’s CD was on the counter. She lives by me. I guess my hood is getting hip. I asked the woman who owns the place if she knew where I could get my eyes examined. She referred me to an optometrist right down the street from me. She said the guy was cool and that he was a trumpet player. I thought, "Okay…how is he with eyes?" So I go to his place and again, I have been driving by this storefront with its hand-painted sign for years and just thought it was a crappy little place. Turns out, the guy is a real jazz musician. He was probably in his late 50s. Jewish, from Indiana, and he played out with his sextet all the time. Who knew? We talked about Lenny Bruce, Art Pepper, Lord Buckley and Gil Scott Heron. He dilated my eyes and gave me his CD—"Hippy Chicks on Acid – The Elliot Caine Sextet Live at Alva’s." WTF. My optometrist swings, man.

This week I will be at Comix at the Foxwoods Casino in Connecticut if you are in the region and want to come out and watch me and Ryan Singer do the funny thing. I am sorry about selling out The Bell House shows so quickly if you didn’t get tickets. We’re doing another two on July 25th.

This week on the show I am excited to feature the creator of Community, Dan Harmon. Dan is a very intense and brilliant dude. Think you will dig the show. Also this week I talk to the very talented Iris Bahr about Israel, Jews and her webseries, Svetlana’s World. You can check it out here www.svetlanasworld.com.

Okay. We good?


Backstage at Steve Allen 5/24/11