WTF Podcast

Episode 469 - David Bronner

This episode is all about soap. Soap and religion and schizophrenia and firefighting foam and psychedelics and the drug wars and civil disobedience and the never-ending struggle to improve the way we live. But mostly soap. Marc talks with David Bronner about his grandfather’s famous creation, Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soap. David provides the details about Emanuel Bronner’s life and the legacy of a product that still mystifies millions of consumers. This episode is sponsored by Shari’s Berries, Stamps.com and ProFlowers

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  • 18 Comments


Eric February 10, 2014 at 4:11 am


I’ve spent so much money on Dr. Bronner soap over the years.  At this moment I have three 32 ounce bottles of orange, rose, and lavender varieties open in my shower.  I haven’t listened yet but I expect this interview to really hold my interest.  Normally I’m disappointed when Marc interviews people who aren’t in comedy but not this time.

Stay clean, guys.  smile

Lily February 10, 2014 at 10:01 am


Marc, I’m so happy for you and Moon! Your relationship with Jessica seemed tumultuous from the start, with her demanding many things from the onset. But you and Moon seem to have an effortless ease that is an important element of successful relationships. Wishing you two the best, and thanks for sharing with us! wink

Also, what a phenomenal episode! This was a really fascinating departure from the other interviews (which are great, too). Dr.Bronner sounds really intense and a bit frightening, but inspiring nonetheless.

Scott February 10, 2014 at 12:41 pm


Marc Maron and Moon Zappa?

One of my current heroes dating the daughter of the Hero of My Youth (and beyond).  I’d really like to hear Moon’s opinions and perceptions of having a childhood with a man like FZ.  I gather that it was not really comfortable for her.  Or interview Gail.  Or whatever you wanna do.

Laura February 10, 2014 at 1:32 pm


I knew it the moment you talked about going to the dance performance with her smile  Happy for you !

J R February 10, 2014 at 4:18 pm


My roommate whom I share a bathroom with has a bottle of Dr. Bronner’s soap. It really does make for good reading on the toilet.

wilberfan February 10, 2014 at 4:23 pm


Awesome interview with a Dude Fighting the Good Fight.  I love the soap, and now have to modify my grumbling that it seems so expensive!

And mazel tov on the new…whatever-you’re-calling-it with Moon. 

(And I’m glad someone other than myself picked up on the Freudian Facial Hair thing…  wink  )

Krista February 10, 2014 at 4:32 pm


Very interesting to hear the story behind Dr. Bronner’s soap; I was as curious and thrown for a loop by it as you were. Great interview!

I’d also be remiss if I didn’t add myself to the list of girls gushing and over the moon (I know that’s way too cheesy and I’m sorry but it’s too late now) about you and Moon. From the time I heard your interview with Moon, I thought, these two would be great together and really seem to get one another. So much so that I actually ended up thinking “I hope they go out sometime!” even though I am really, really not the type of person who does that or can even tolerate much of people saying “hey, you know who you should go out with?” Yet despite that, and despite my crush on you, I still found myself thinking “Yeah. Marc and Moon would be great together!” She’s a beautiful, interesting and fun person and you sound very happy. It was also kind of adorable (another word I don’t find myself using very often) how nervous you were about telling us.

Well, I’m off to ask one of my best friends out. It might not turn out well and in fact might blow up in my face but I’m in the mood to seize the day now. grin

Eric February 10, 2014 at 8:40 pm


i wouldn’t make the mistake of taking a bottle of dr bronner peppermint into the shower again.  that “flavor” is for the hands only.

en February 10, 2014 at 11:42 pm


regardless of the banter…best soap ever..#1 soap..ab best..c..castile..pure soap…delicious…great…this new guy-david- as revolutionary as his grandad..changing the formula..bringing it modern..best soap ever..liquid or bar…pure cleansing soap, that’s good for everything..abc..best soap ever…all one

dr.bronner 4 ever

yoav miller February 11, 2014 at 4:32 pm


You and Moon… Poetic justice!
It made me very happy just hearing about it. Hope you find what so many of us are seeking desparately: love, friendship, respect. Sorry if this drifts into sappy, uncomfortable territoty,
on second thought. fuck sorry!! have the time of your life, and fuck what anybodyelse has to say about it! Which also makes this comment pointless, but that’s my problem, not yours. MAZE TOV!!!

jackie gleason February 13, 2014 at 12:52 pm


i just spent 70$ on soap.  damn you, maron!

Lauren Z February 17, 2014 at 3:53 pm


Well done, Marc.  I swear to God, every one of your interviews is amazing.  You are engaging, HILARIOUS, and insightful.  Your interviewees aren’t half bad, either. wink  Keep up the amazing job.  I will keep buying Bronner’s Soap. (This was an EXCELLENT follow up to the movie, which I saw months ago.  I remember the first time - I was seventeen, and my then-boyfriend worked at a health food store- I saw/used Bronner’s.  We were just as floored as you were reading that damned label. And, for the record, I am just as curious as you about a book about this family.  I almost jumped up out of my chair when you suggested it.  What I wouldn’t give to write it… The history is UTTERLY fascinating and deserves some contextualization; what an incredible arc to David’s activism and his Fighting The Good Fight.  I, for one, would love to see a book about it ALL, from German Jews making soap to planting hemp seeds on the lawn of the DEA headquarters. Just wow.

Nicole February 20, 2014 at 12:21 pm


I am a few episodes behind but just heard something about Marc being in a new relationship and thought right away, “It’s got to be Moon!” The connection in that episode was undeniable! I’m so happy for you! Don’t eff it up.

Russ McClay February 24, 2014 at 2:50 am


Awesome interview, Marc!  David Bronner sounds like such an incredible cool person! 

I had the pleasure of hanging out with Dr. Bronner back in the 1980’s.  At the time I was driving a local delivery truck in the San Diego area and knew Bronner lived in Escondido, so one day I was in the area and just walked up to the front door where a young “earth mama” greeted me and said “C’mon in!”.  I then asked if the Doctor was in and she said, “yes, would you like to see him?”.  Sure!  (I have been using Bronner’s soap since the 70’s).  So she led me back to a bedroom that was dark and there was Dr. Bronner sitting on the edge of a bed, wearing his pin-hole shades and dictating soap label raps to this other young woman who was writing them down.  Finally he took a break and I got to have a short chat with him. Mostly me just excitingly telling how much it meant to me to meet him and how much I loved his soaps!

PS I think it’s great that you and Moon are hitting it off together.

rokhl March 05, 2014 at 5:10 pm


Marc, love that you get to the Jewy heart of the matter when you interview your guests. But I think you missed an interesting dimension of Dr. Bronner’s rap. David mentioned that the elder Bronner was a Zionist. I think this is reflected in the label and the ‘moral principles’ of ‘if not now, when.’ Rather than being universal, it seems to me this would have shown up in Bronner’s ideas because v’im lo akhshav ematay (if not now, when) was an important Hebrew/Yiddish/Russian language anthem of the Zionist youth movement of the early 20th century. The way we talk is influenced by our cultural/historical context.

Smitty March 14, 2014 at 7:26 pm


please clarify, that you are talking about Mar-K Spitz the olympic champion swimmer,not Mar-C Spitz the writer/recent guest.

Fishsticks March 14, 2014 at 7:43 pm


I liked this episode so much. Such a great idea to interview this man.

Smitty March 14, 2014 at 8:12 pm


you can still get non-GMO soy,but you’d have to probably raise the price of the product. ironic,since you were doing biz with Monsanto whose biz it is to eradicate organic. Demonic..!