WTF Podcast

Episode 374 - James Franco, Harmony Korine, Nate Bargatze, Peter Sagal

It’s Live WTF from SXSW. Peter Sagal of Wait, Wait… Don’t Tell Me details his adventures in the screen trade. Nate Bargatze paints the full picture of a Deep South wedding. Harmony Korine and James Franco break down Spring Breakers. And an unexpected visitor threatens to turn the whole thing upside down. This episode is sponsored by Matador Records and the new album by Kurt Vile, “Wakin on a Pretty Daze.”


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Michael P. Gowdy April 01, 2013 at 6:16 am

Anderson Cowan from The Film Vault said that Franco’s performance in “Spring Breakers” is “one of the best I’ve seen since Bill the Butcher in ‘Gangs of New York.’” I’m going to watch it later today.

Eddie is cool, but that interruption was more than slightly annoying. I know that most comics are self-absorbed to say the least, but it was cringe-worthy even to me. I thought that he should have just started with, “MEEEEEEEEEEE! MEEEEEEEEEEEE!” then when you asked him why he was interrupting the show he would have responded, “I’M PROMOTING A FILM ABOUT MEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE.” The end.
I would have said, “well, at least that interruption was amazingly honest and succinct.”

Scott April 01, 2013 at 7:41 am

Really?  Kurt Vile has the nerve to abscond with the name of the composer Kurt Weil and wreck it with this sleepy, slack-jawed dreck?

He could have called himself Johann Sebastian Blech or Frank Zippah…hey! why not?

GREAT show, btw!

Ben April 01, 2013 at 8:44 am

I thought this was the best episode in over a year. Eddie killed it, Franco is fascinating but he’s also a spoiled baby and proved it, and I learned a lot about Redneck culture from Nate. Keep it up Marc!

Tad Daniels April 01, 2013 at 10:25 am

Marc Maron is all about stackin’ change!

Spring Break Forever!!!

George April 01, 2013 at 12:11 pm

@Scott: It’s Kurt Weill, not Kurt Weil. If you’re going to moan about an artist having the nerve to irreverently parody another artist’s name, then you should at least be reverent enough to spell that artist’s name correctly you fucking hack. You would still be a hopelessly reactionary moron, but at least you wouldn’t be a hypocritical reactionary moron.

Brad in Ohio April 01, 2013 at 12:39 pm

“You know that guy?”

Jim April 01, 2013 at 12:43 pm

Wow, such angry comments. Well at least it’s not me this time.
Great Show!

Stephanie April 01, 2013 at 2:58 pm

Kurt Vile is his real name. His parents gave it to him. He didn’t “abscond” with it.

Grant April 01, 2013 at 2:59 pm

Yes!  Another live one!  Very interested to hear this after seeing Spring Breakers.

Tad Daniels April 01, 2013 at 4:11 pm

Kurt Vile is not about stackin’ change.

Crate&Trauma; April 01, 2013 at 4:24 pm

Another awesome live show.  I hope you can get Harmony or Franco in the Cat Ranch for a one on one down the road. 

rb April 01, 2013 at 6:25 pm

I thought the Eddie interruption made for a captivating moment. After he made his point though, he should of given the stage back. Instead, he just kept screaming shit; and I’m not sure what he wanted. Nevertheless, I hope he does it again sometime. It’s a good bit.

Parker April 01, 2013 at 7:04 pm

I love marc but am I the only who thinks james put up w a little too much undeserved condescension?

Cat Admirer April 01, 2013 at 7:50 pm

No, Parker, you’re not. Old Marc evidently escaped from the shackles New Marc keeps him tied down with. No matter who the guest was, Franco or anyone, it’s easy to imagine this sort of thing shrinking WTF’s guest-list had it happened earlier in the game. But, as we all know, the difference between performers and most everyone else is that when they have a bad day at work it happens in front of an audience. Marc had a bad day at the office, and now it exists as an uncomfortable podcast for all to hear. Marc snickered his way through needling questions, always with a laugh in his voice, about General Hospital and performance art documentaries (how many times have we heard Marc go on quite seriously about experimental artists in show intros, by the way?), perfectly legitimate questions made juvenile by the unspoken idea that Franco was expected to be embarrassed by these things. To Franco’s credit, he took them without too much ruffling and actually gave thoughtful answers back and had the audience on his side. The irony of the finish to the interview is that the undercurrent of embarrassment that led to all the accumulating tension with Harmony and then Franco was turned entirely back on Marc. That he should embarrass *himself* that way with a completely unwarranted quip was a fitting comeuppance. A show featuring comedians talking seriously about comedy should not make fun of actors talking seriously about acting. That’s one way to frame the lesson. Another is that you shouldn’t say every dickhead thought that comes into your head unless you’re among friends. Shouldn’t be hard to remember after this.

A April 01, 2013 at 8:34 pm

There were definitely a couple of uncomfortable signals in Marc’s tone here, from the brusquely defensive turn against Korine to the much more alienating “I’m not sure if these questions about Franco’s authenticity are very respectful” vibe I got from that part, but it sounds more like the nerves of a guy trying to dig into complex guests without necessarily having the right verbal finesse to do it. I still don’t know why the heck Marc decided to chime in with that last bit about Franco that did sound completely disingenuous! I think that was the straw the broke the camel’s precariously loaded back. Otherwise, great show!

Frownland Cherish April 01, 2013 at 11:37 pm

While I think that Marc can be a bit much at times, I am sick and tired of James Franco this and James Franco that. His attempt to rescue his honest work on a soap opera as somehow a performance art thingy a la Warhol was embarrassing, almost as embarrassing as Franco’s time at NYU. Google some of the controversy there. This guy needs to grow some thicker skin; if he is used to always being treated with kid gloves he should just shut the bleep up about all the things he goes on and on about. The guy is a fraud, I think. I thought this was NOT one of the better shows, and I had been anticipating it since word of it leaked out, both from MM and also media such as the Huffpo piece linked above. I just don’t think it was all that interesting. More Nate B., please. He is funny and refreshing.  I thought Korine was disappointing, and I’m a big fan of his work. Just goes to show that sometimes some of the best artists are not very good at talking about their work. Looking forward to the next one.

Crate&Trauma; April 01, 2013 at 11:40 pm

Cat Admirer why don’t you bring it down a couple notches?  You’re taking Marc and this podcast way too seriously.

Rekka April 02, 2013 at 12:58 am

You took a shot at Franco at the end and immediately rescinded it and pretended like it wasn’t what it was.  C’mon, son!  I’m not even saying he doesn’t deserve it, but you should have at least owned it!

p April 02, 2013 at 2:16 am

eh, I feel like Marc just doesn’t get the attitude.  There’s something really optimistic about experimental art because it relies on the idea that people can and will understand different forms of communication.  Comedy, or at least this kind of comedy, is much more grounded in this feeling like “fuck it, that’s never gonna change,” it needs to believe in the status quo to rub up against it.

That said, I don’t think he was trying to offend anybody, I think he just didn’t have good questions because he comes from a different mindset.  Harmony really opened up for the few minutes he actually got to talk, more than most of the canned quotes I’ve seen about this film, wish this whole session was longer.

Parker April 02, 2013 at 9:06 am

wow Cat Admirer had a really insightful response - I should emphasize that I love marc and that’s why I listen in the first place - and we love when marc tears into a subject that deserves it but james franco is not dane cook (i think marc realized almost too late when he was nearly pleading w james to “don’t go away” at the closing moment) - but we love marc and no harm was done (like seeing a tightrope walker almost fall) - thrilling show really! - p.s. it’s funny that michael p. gowdy seems to want a world where comedians fist fight daily

Michael P. Gowdy April 02, 2013 at 10:50 am

“I honestly don’t know why there isn’t a fistfight between comics fuckin’ daily.”

I didn’t imply anything in this sentence. “I don’t know” means literally “I don’t know,” not “THERE SHOULD BE ONE ALL THE TIME, BABY—LET’S MAD MAX THIS THING THE FUCK UP!!!!!!!!!!!!”

Scott April 02, 2013 at 12:20 pm

Great live WTF! I can’t count how many times I laughed out loud. Peter and Nate were great. The interruption by you-know-who was fucking hilarious. Harmony Korine was thoughtful and interesting, and Franco was mostly the same. Marc’s little dig at the end was completely appropriate for a comic/interviewer, and Franco showed his lack of ability to handle it. Like Marc said in that HuffPo video linked to above, “Lighten up a little bit.” Having listened to hundreds of these, it’s clear to me that the artists who consistently take themselves humorlessly seriously are…Actors! Aaact-toors! Esp. young actors. Are they evil because of it? No. But it doesn’t mean we, or Marc, or any interviewer are evil for noticing. A young comic would have taken the hit and flung it back with spin, even a young musician would have taken the hit better—a little self-deprecation is charming. But with the ego level it takes to become an actor… Really funny show, Marc. Thanks!

Cat Admirer April 02, 2013 at 3:38 pm

I guess I’m culturally out of it, Crate&Trauma;, or maybe I just haven’t seen enough of Franco’s preciousness outside of this interview, because the HuffPost video only made the foot-in-mouth come across worse. A person automatically takes himself too seriously and is an open target because he makes “art films” now? Since when is this an ACE podcast? Maybe these guys are a pair of dilettantes, but then why have them on at all and ask them ponderous questions? A Carolla rant about pretentious actors and artists at least would have the virtue of “owning it” as someone said above. You certainly wouldn’t hear “I’m not condescending to it, but…” a phrase that isn’t exactly starting from the ground floor of egotism. Is it too late to add that the other 80% of the show was a great live ep?

Guest April 02, 2013 at 3:50 pm

I remember Warhol told me one time, he pulled me aside and he said, “My friend, name dropping is beneath you and if anyone asks, you don’t know nothin’ about me.”

Marc can you do a phoner with Carl LaBove, I was wondering how his situation was coming along.

Sean April 02, 2013 at 4:43 pm

Nate should be on every live show ever done anywhere. That dude is amazing.

aaron April 02, 2013 at 5:50 pm

james franco annoys me and i was so ready to listen to this and have it make me like him less and less, but damn that was uncomfortable. i love wtf and am happy to say i’ve caught a couple of marc’s live shows in the past year but it was so…so… ICKY to have that interview make me side with franco and be embarrassed of marc. i mean maybe it would be different if i was there and seeing it with my eyes but that dude that i totally thought was a douche was giving what i thought to be thoughtful answers and marc just kept coming back with ridiculousness. ugh, awkward. anyway, interviews with andrew w.k., bob golub, and aimee mann etc. make up for it. still gonna buy your book, bro.

maron id April 02, 2013 at 9:24 pm

Parker thinks I’m condescending, fuck him! Bargatze Bargatze Bargatze, this marketing experiment is great. Ya know, baseball hats are for douches like Bert. Fuck Sarah Silverman for saying guys in LA with ski hats can’t be taken seriously. I look cool, mistjess told me so

Salsa April 03, 2013 at 2:04 am

What’s uncomfortable is Marc asking Franco questions like a square news reporter. “What was THAT all about?” It’s been done. Talk about something else. And what would have been a friendly barb in the garage can be insulting in front of a laughing crowd of people.

Nate was awesome and it was refreshing to hear a different side of Peter Sagal.

biff from back to the future April 03, 2013 at 10:38 am

One of the few times I’ve heard Korine talk truthfully about his life and work, so the interruption was lame and unnecessary. Marc was asking intelligent and great questions. Korine is a real artist he should do a whole episode, but this was great. James Franco on the other hand is not an artist just a pretender, good guy though. Marc’s questions were appropriate and grounded in reality and truth.

mike April 03, 2013 at 12:07 pm

Marc, it’s difficult to hear you lament with Bill Maher that audiences can’t handle a real conversation and need to laugh every thirty seconds when you yourself seem at times to be very uncomfortable with seriousness (unless it’s relating a drug experience - and even that has a ‘wasn’t that fun and crazy’ vibe to it). It felt to me like Franco’s passion intimidated you and you were putting him in his place for taking himself, in your eyes, too seriously.

Bargatze was great, as always. That boy has a big future.

NTT April 03, 2013 at 12:21 pm

I find it interesting how this rather boring and uneventful show exploded into what seems to be a big deal on the internet forums. Okay, so Marc went ahead and got a little too comfy around someone he basically didn’t know too well and it backfired on him. Big fucking woop? And that Pepitone heckling bit wasn’t nearly as amusing as I’m sure both Marc and him thought. What blatant self-promotion.

Chris April 03, 2013 at 12:30 pm

Franco is a pompous douche who can’t take a joke. The country laps up all the mediocrity that he’s in and he’s used to being treated like some sort of messiah or something. Marc’s still a comedian, he’s not Charlie Rose, so I don’t think the awkward interview was strictly his fault. Seems more like a bad combination between him and the guests.

mike April 03, 2013 at 1:21 pm

I don’t think Franco is pompous. That’s not a universal truth. He’s serious about his craft. Plus, as a ‘joke’, Maron’s jab was entirely meant to take Franco down a peg and inconsistent with the tone of the interview to that point. Marc is not Charlie Rose by a long shot although he seems to aspire to seriousness. A great host can thrive with whatever ‘bad combination’ is in front of him/her.

Ty April 03, 2013 at 6:21 pm

I don’t know how anyone else hasn’t seen the irony of Maron implying Franco takes himself seriously and then Franco taking himself very seriously and saying that he doesn’t. It was actually kind of hilarious.

dprivate1 April 03, 2013 at 9:54 pm

I agree that Marc shouldn’t have said it. Not everyone has the thick skin of a comedian. And also I agree that his tone throughout the interview was needlessly condescending.  That being said, I thought Franco’s reaction was tactically really bad. Having just been accused (albeit jokingly) of taking himself too seriously, the one thing he couldn’t do was shut the interview down in a huff. That just gave credence to the accusation.

No, he had to carry on and pretend it hadn’t got to him. The way I see it, he had three options:
a) laugh it off and act as though it hadn’t bothered him (best option by far); b) address it directly by saying “Yeah, I sometimes get grief for that, but that’s not the way I see myself.”; or c) own it: “I do take myself seriously. I think it’s import to stay passionate about what I do, otherwise, what’s the point.”

Buffalo Bill April 03, 2013 at 10:34 pm

Why shouldn’t he have said it when it’s both funny and 100% true. It’s Franco’s fault it got weird. His whole facade broke. Buddying up with artists like Korine, Marina Abramovic etc. dropping obscure film references in interviews don’t mean anything when you do Hollywood crap for big money just like Marc implied earlier in the interview. If you want to be taken serioulsly and be a real artist you don’t compromise for money it’s as simple as that. it’s hot or cold baby hot or cold

listener-in-austin April 03, 2013 at 11:27 pm

i had no problem with james franco.
slightly awkward segment here, but hey - that’s a live show.
james franco isn’t listening to WTF every day to be hip to the rhythm.

if this hadn’t been characterized as an event beforehand,
doubt it would be as much of one now.
hope James comes to the garage one day.

the pepitone thing was much worse….and i even enjoyed that!

Joe Tily April 04, 2013 at 5:02 am

Cracking Live WTF . . . . they are always good.  I think Eddie misjudged his interruption during this show . . . . it fell a bit flat i would say. He’s still a funny-fucker though! oh, and Bargatze killed.

Kyle In Brooklyn April 04, 2013 at 9:15 am

I’m reminded of the Jason Sudeikis interview. At the end of the (otherwise pretty relaxed) interview, Marc made a dig regarding Jason’s ex girlfriend. It got a little weird and then Marc tried to smooth it over in his typical snarky disingenuous way. I think that’s part of the Maron appeal, though. You never know when he is going to try to fuck it up.


Micah April 04, 2013 at 11:07 am

(This all based on not seeing people’s faces or what actually happened, so…)

Did it not occur to anyone that, when made fun of by saying someone takes him/herself too seriously, an expected thing to do for said someone would be to get up and walk away? And, by making like he was going to do so, Franco actually deflated Maron’s jab by doing something predictable but unexpected in the context?

I think if Maron hadn’t tried to awkwardly backpedal (ya did the best ya could, Marc, no worries) Franco might have turned around and gotten a laugh out of it by being all po-faced. Or he might have just left. Either one is funny if you think about it. From a standpoint of conceptual/performance art, just walking away is hilarious.

I’m no expert on that type of art, but don’t you think Andy Kaufman (say) might have pulled something similar?

wtfbuddy April 04, 2013 at 7:21 pm

I am a big fan of Marc’s and cannot say the same about Franco, but I agree with Parker. I have listened to everyone of Marc’s podcast and can pick up on his insecure/condescending tones and he did have that going with Franco, but that is what we love about him.  And maybe Franco, if he were really quick, could have said “I don’t take myself serious, look I’m here, right?”  Marc would have respected that answer…or gotten pisted!  smile)
Either way, this was a great piece of performance art!

Jessica April 04, 2013 at 10:20 pm

I think it’s important not to underestimate the effect Eddie’s interruption had. For people who are not comedians—like me—it can be really jarring to hear someone yelling at full volume like that. Even more so if they have no idea who Eddie is. Franco and Korine probably felt out of place and completely out-of-control of their environment. The interruption may have made them feel on edge. And Marc did nothing to give the sense that he was taking control of the show back from Eddie. He just let him run his bit. It didn’t exactly create a safe and comfy environment for the guests.

Also, when Franco came out, apparently the first thing he did was turn his back to Marc because he felt like Marc was too close to him. Why couldn’t Marc have given him a little more space to make his guest more comfortable instead of giving some lame answer about how he has no boundaries and it’s exhausting?

Of course the interview failed. It was set up to fail.

AEdouard April 04, 2013 at 10:51 pm

Listen, I get that Pepitone is for some people. Those people are just not me.

Is it really necessary to have him on 80 % of live WTFs?

Luke April 05, 2013 at 3:08 am

I liked this one. The Franco part got pretty awkward, and on first listen I got the impression Marc handled it badly. And it’s the last part so it’s what sticks in your mind, despite great stuff before it. But on a second listen, I’d say Franco’s reaction is what did it. Nothing Marc said seemed out of the ordinary for WTF, and if James had just rolled along with the humor like most guests it wouldn’t have even been a blip on the radar.

smitty April 07, 2013 at 12:40 pm

@ cat admirer….you killed with your cmt. you went to town on that scratching post,,,nuff said..

btw-marc seems to think that anything out of holistic/alt medicine is witchcraft.  yet conversely, any pill that pharma comes up with, is sacrosanct.  [on this topic] he has an ignorant mind.

Russ Mulligan April 07, 2013 at 5:21 pm

I listened expecting some horrible cringeworthy thing after hearing Thursday’s (missed Monday’s went straight to Thursdays- I just prefer the 1 on 1 episodes… Jesus I don’t have to justify myself to you) ‘storm in a teacup’ I’d call it.

“When I was younger I took myself really seriously…” To a comedian thats just like pitching them an underarm ball, Marc’s response just sounded like “Zing! Here’s the punchline” rather than a summarisation of his thoughts on Franco.

Franco’s response is logic defying perversity to my ears… OK so you don’t take yourself too seriously… So when a comic presenter takes the piss and suggests you do take yourself too seriously do you: a) laugh and go along with it, proving that you don’t? Or b) take yourself really seriously and get upset?

My mind is melting… paradox… too much…

susan69 April 08, 2013 at 5:52 pm

Peter Sagal should sit down for a full hour.  Definitely just scratched the surface on his interesting / depressing story.

@kphisch April 09, 2013 at 12:16 am

Michael P. Gowdy:
I was more annoyed by Sagal and Franco saying, “that was Gilbert Gottfried” and “Is Bobcat Goldthwait still here?”
The promotion was encouraged, but he was heckling a message. It was funny and totally risky. His promotion was a punchline tag, and it was even more self-effacing. So, yeah, everything could have contributed to it being cringe-inducing, so I get that.

Willie April 11, 2013 at 10:40 am

Time and time again, Marc has expressed his appreciation for all art, no matter how weird. Often those artists appear to exist in a universe comprised of such inaccessible esoterica, that they don’t look like they have anything in common with “regular” people. Marc seeks to find the things that make them like you and me.  He sniffs out their insecurities.  “What was the plan?  What did your dad do? What did your mom do? Where did you grow up? Do you have any siblings? Florida is weird, etc.”

Also take into consideration that guests who are familiar with WTF know what is coming and open right up. Guests unfamiliar with WTF are “warned” by their people that Marc is a dickhead and that he is coming after them, which of course is ridiculous.

American Pundit Fighting April 21, 2013 at 7:56 pm

I like James Franco’s perspective on art and Soap Opera’s. He definitely sees the absurdity in life. I think the praise he gives to dynamism of Soap Opera definitely applies in spades for Pro-Wrestling. In fact the tension that’s already been established between Maron and Franco would lead perfectly into a great Wrestling feud. Marc definitely has the promo skills to get on someone’s nerves. Great interview. Everyone was being themselves I thought.

rachel May 27, 2013 at 5:16 pm

james franco is a douche who has no reason to take himself so seriously.

Aida June 03, 2013 at 11:00 pm

James Franco is kind of unbearable and kind of a poseur. He’s like a wanna-be junior Johnny Depp but lame.

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