WTF Podcast

Episode 500

By any measurement, 500 episodes of WTF is worthy of celebration. And yet, for Marc, success has come at a price. On the occasion of this milestone episode, Marc talks with some very important people in his life and reckons with the damage inflicted by doing things his way. This episode is sponsored by the new movie Obvious Child, Earthquaker Devices, GoToMeeting, and One Night Only: An All-Star Comedy Tribute to Don Rickles on Spike.


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Taylor Grimes May 26, 2014 at 1:24 am

Congrats on 500 Marc, unbelievable stuff. Here’s to many more years!

Jon Neukam May 26, 2014 at 1:24 am

Congratulations on the 500th episode!  What a fuckadelic Monday!

Tad Daniels May 26, 2014 at 4:57 am

Give this man a Pulitzer!

Michael P. Gowdy May 26, 2014 at 5:04 am

For whatever reason, when you went into the random interviews I was almost certain that you were going to interview Sam Seder (or as your mom called him, “Steven”).
I remember that when you launched this show I listened to the opinions of the Break Room Live fans (which is all you had at the time). They said that they couldn’t listen to many WTF shows because they were boring—and they were among the dullest people alive, so I thought that it was possibly doomed.
I continue to have fond memories of those renegade AAR days and even the documentary “Left of the Dial” or as you might call it, “useless nostalgia.” You’re probably right. Everything has evolved so much in ten years.

Stuart May 26, 2014 at 10:57 am

Hey Marc. Congrats man. I have listened to them all. Love the show and love your TV show too.

Frank May 26, 2014 at 11:01 am

I pretty much expected you to call your family, half-expected for you to call your ex-wives but never did I expect you to have and interview Steven Brill. I just re-watched The Mighty Ducks a few months ago and have recently pondered on when you were going to have him on since he had came up here and there in your various interview etc.

I hope that you will have him on for a full interview. You know, the works. Where he came from, how he got interested in show business etc.

Also, HAPPY 500th EPISODE! Looking forward to 500 more.

Scott May 26, 2014 at 11:37 am


Right in the feels.

Congratulations Marc.  I wish the best for you.

Kyle May 26, 2014 at 12:48 pm

Thanks Marc for the entertainment, enlightenment, and everything else. Keep up the awesome work.

Whiskers May 26, 2014 at 2:24 pm

Thanks for WTF, Marc. It’s a privilege to have you inside my head twice a week. I really appreciate the honesty and the intelligence, buddy. And part of me wants to ask you: Did your father know that you were recording the phone conversation? Because I don’t want you to get into more trouble. But maybe he doesn’t listen to the podcast, so it’s our secret.

Here’s to 5000000 more.

AEdou May 26, 2014 at 2:31 pm

Congrats Marc. Great episode!

Whiskers 2 May 26, 2014 at 2:33 pm

And thanks for a great episode. Touching.

Debby May 26, 2014 at 3:14 pm

At first I was a little bit disappointed to learn that it would be all about you—not that I don’t love you, Marc Maron, but I wasn’t sure I loved you enough for a solid hour about you.  But it was wonderful.  You made me cry with those two conversations with your parents.  And I congratulate you and Steven Brill for being able to have such an honest, undefensive, and articulate conversation.  I wish you luck in reactivating your friendship, and maybe even your collaboration—you’ve earned it.

jane May 26, 2014 at 3:21 pm

What a great episode. I know you pay for it a lot in your personal life, but thank you so much for being our conduit to tap into to help us all understand this experience called the human condition. It takes a lot of courage to expose yourself warts and all. And even more courage to keep trying to move forward after owning up to your mistakes. Can’t wait to listen to 500 more. Keep doing it up, man.

DM (Not Depeche Mode) May 26, 2014 at 5:50 pm

I had a hunch that you’d go the Bamford route and bring actual family members into the mix, and no WTF fan could be disappointed with the results.  Your chat with your father was the kind of emotional dialogue filmmakers would sell their souls to achieve.

Erika May 26, 2014 at 8:03 pm

Mr. Maron you are amazing, I loved the conversations with your mom and dad .  And the guitar was really personal. You rock my socks!

Lorie May 26, 2014 at 8:19 pm

Another great episode, Marc.  Thank you for letting us into your life for the past 499 episodes and for seeing so much of it come full circle in episode 500.  Glad you highlighted the Norm episode - one of my top favorites.  Here’s to the next 500!

Simon May 26, 2014 at 8:27 pm

Wow - Brill is a saint - how many times is he going to forgive the unforgivable.

Adam May 26, 2014 at 8:59 pm

Your a good man Marc Maron…I know you probably can’t handle that but it’s true. Thanks for what you do.

Kamil May 26, 2014 at 10:51 pm

Great episode Marc!

Elliot May 26, 2014 at 10:57 pm

MM - you wonderful SOB. Thank you for everything. I’ve been listening for a few years now, and am a regular listener. My Mondays and Thursdays are better because of your show. I listen to and from work, sometimes multiple times. Congrats to all your success and the success to come. It’s been beautiful. I cried a little too.

Kathy May 27, 2014 at 1:05 pm

I cried, I laughed and am always amazed that you don’t see how smart and connected you really are.  Nothing else to say but thanks.

Cat Admirer May 27, 2014 at 1:06 pm

Man, I listened to the fuck out of that 500th episode! (< a little impression I’m working on.) Seriously, that was a really great summation of where you are. Just read another comment mentioning calling your exes, and the only time this episode veered close to that level (never, ever do that btw) of potential uncomfortableness was with your dad. Not because it wasn’t very moving and good to hear, but it nervously walked the line of what should/shouldn’t be recorded or made public. Since it was precisely that “line” that had kicked off the shitstorm to begin with, the irony in airing the conversation was conspicuous. On the other hand, I guess it was also just in keeping with one of the surprise themes of the past 499 shows—i.e. that WTF is your recovery program, and we’re your group. In which case there is no uncomfortable line, and if recording the call is what gets you on the phone to your dad, then so be it. 

Congratulations on the milestone. And way to give props to Norm, too. One of the top 5 WTFs ever.

Marc Fan May 27, 2014 at 1:35 pm

Marc, congratulations on your 500th episode!

I’ve just now recovered from a mid-day cry session after listening to you and your Father re-connect. Very brave of you to call him and then post the call for us to listen in on.

Having said that…you don’t owe us shit. If some of the people in your life don’t want the show biz light shined on them, then honor that and don’t worry about entertaining us. You’ll find something else to talk about…we’ll still be here.

I thank you for all the years of fascinating conversation. Your podcast has been the only thing I look forward to during my workday.



amy ferrell May 27, 2014 at 2:14 pm

I had a dollar on you getting the two Kevin M(a)c Donalds in the same room to trade mail. Oh well. No lottery ticket for me this week. But nontheless, fantastic episode and as always, a great way to start my sad and dull and sad work week.

jules May 27, 2014 at 2:35 pm

Such an awesome podcast.  What a great way to round out 500.  Got me laughing and okay I choked up, too.  Your willingness to be raw and out there is really brave, Marc.  Thank you.

Bumper May 27, 2014 at 2:48 pm

Bravo on a great 500th episode and congratulations on this milestone! I cried three separate times during this podcast. A moving bit of soul-searching and story telling. I’ve been on board since around the low 200s and you make my week brighter and more interesting on a regular basis. Thanks for all the podcasts and congratulations again. Boomer lives!

Samantha May 27, 2014 at 2:51 pm

Great episode!  I really enjoy you always, but the evolution of you is the best part.  Thank you for what you do.  I loved both calls with your parents. I would love a whole episode with you interviewing your mom!

Dan May 27, 2014 at 4:48 pm

In the past two months, more than one person in my life has died, a long term relationship came to an end, and a friend was fired and evicted from his apartment. Not a watery eye. Yet here I am at work, blubbering, hiding in my cubicle trying not to make a fool of myself. Marc, I don’t know how you did it, but your struggles are more important than real life. I know there comes a point in a relationship where you kick people out—we do the same thing. Please don’t do that to your people. Or do do that. It doesn’t matter what you do, because despite your jealously, dysfunction, and confused ideas of what success is or isn’t, you are worth it. That’s why everybody keeps coming back to you again and again. If the world hated you, you’d know it. Instead, it’s pretty okay with you. WTF has been a hell of a journey, but that is life. You teach that every episode.

Clare May 27, 2014 at 6:23 pm

I don’t know what to think of this episode yet. It’s a trifle narcissistic (surprise!), but you touch on some important stuff too—parent-kid stuff, redressing past wrongs, second, third, and fourth acts in life. Steven Brill sounds like a saint. I hope he knows that simply enduring your $%#& for years makes him interesting enough to be on your show. And, of course, he’s done a lot of other stuff too. I will say that tears sprang into my eyes when I heard the pain in your dad’s voice when he responded to your phone call. The man loves you. So does your mom, clearly. Are they “perfect” parents? Perhaps not … but you don’t sound as if you were ever the “perfect” child, either. They seem to take a lot of the blame for all of your trials … maybe it’s time to give them some of the credit, too.

Vince May 28, 2014 at 8:43 am

Congrats Marc! - It is not coincidence that as you have sought to make yourself a better person and heal relationships that you have seen the kind of success in your career that you have fought so hard for (and against). I don’t listen to your podcast every week to hear someone whine about the things that they got screwed out of, or justify being an asshole. I listen because you so honestly own your past and present, and your authenticity forces your guests to do the same. For about 5 seconds, the Norm Macdonald moment brought me such pure joy I was overwhelmed. Thank you!

Matt May 28, 2014 at 10:31 am

This was so much better than if you’d had some “killer” guest. I appreciate you letting us listen in on your working out the wrinkles in your relationships (and thanks to your friends and family for allowing that to happen.)

I’m half-way through my 50th year on this planet, and I identify with so much of what you talk about in terms of figuring out who I am. Like you, I’m not entirely sure what I like or if I am capable of having fun. While we’ve never met or spoken, and our conversations are very one-sided, it feels like you’re a friend, and you make me think about life and growing older in a way almost nothing and no one else does.

But your podcast is also highly entertaining and I feel like it gives a real education in comedy in particular and celebrity in general. I grew up with the same influences as you (including your standup), but unlike you, it never occurred to me that it was a path I could follow, so I sit in an office and occasionally add some bits/jokes to a text document on my computer. My rush comes not from an audience in a club, but from getting a laugh from my coworkers. I hope that comes off less pathetic than it sounds right now.

Anyway, thanks, Mark, for doing what you do, and congratulations on a fantastic 500th episode. (P.S.: I’ve only been listening a short time and just upgraded to premium.)

Kyle in LA (formerly of Brooklyn) May 28, 2014 at 11:38 am

What Clare said.

Jan Eliot May 28, 2014 at 1:05 pm

WOW - episode 500 delivered the goods! So thanks again for making my world a better place to be in!

Rick May 28, 2014 at 1:10 pm

Congratulations! Love the podcast and thought this was a pretty fine episode. Any chance of getting a list of what episodes the clips in the closing montage are from?

Dave May 28, 2014 at 2:14 pm

1) So are you too self-obsessed, as an entertainer?  Certainly not.  Many people in the arts make their livings by revealing themselves.  Though you might be in the 99th percentile as far as not being at all oblique in how you go about doing it.

2) You might want to lighten up a bit on your Dad.  Phoning him, definitely a mitzvah.  Broadcasting that call, not so much.  It felt exploitive to me.  Not dis-similiar to the feeling I get when I see disaster victims being interviewed on the TV news.

3)  Those things said, I get it that you see your comedy persona as a guy that has to push boundaries.  While I am not familiar with your pre-podcast comedy, I would hazard a guess that the main difference between you now, and you then, is now you figured out how to be that schmuck AND be likeable.  That is the magic trick of success.

Thanks much for the podcast, really and truly.  It is compelling entertainment, even if it occasionally makes me feel a little voyeuristic.  Speaking of which, would it be OK if I gave Moon a call?  I figure now that you have established a beachhead for neurotic jewish guys…

Michael May 28, 2014 at 6:25 pm

Holy shit, 500 episodes!  Been with you since the beginning.  You deserve all the good things coming your way.  Congratulations, brother!

Clip list for Rick May 28, 2014 at 9:35 pm

Most are obvious, but here you go…

1. Cheech and Chong (401)
2. Jim Breuer (435)
3. Johnny Knoxville (436)
4. Will Ferrell (450)
5. Kevin McDonald intro (477)
6. Lena Dunham (479)
7. Rupaul (498)

Breuer and Knoxville were particularly good, but this bunch are hardly the lone standouts from the past 100.

grind May 29, 2014 at 2:22 am

if you can make someone laugh, it’s talent.
if you can make someone cry, it’s art.

good work sir, good work.

Nobunaga73 May 29, 2014 at 2:43 am

Yeah, I cried. Beautiful show, Marc.  I’ve listened to almost every single episode the day they dropped - by the end this was one of my favorites. A nice slow build to calling your father. Can’t wait for the 1,000th episode!

Gary May 29, 2014 at 5:15 am

Sorry, but this episode was a tedious bit of navel-gazing. The indulgent amateurish guitar playing, the blatant pandering for compliments and affirmations from his brother and mother, the exploitative phone call with his father, and the patronizing audience flattery were all pretty insufferable. That he rewarded all of his mother’s adoration by immediately stating that she still feels like just some lady that he grew up with was probably Maron’s most emotionally tone-deaf WTF moment yet.

I did find it funny that Maron sounded like he was doing a Stallone impression when he was on the phone with his father. We all know that impressions are beneath authentic truth-tellers like Maron though (except for when he’s doing an awkward, stilted impression of his podcast persona on his TV show, of course).

Most episodes of WTF do demonstrate that Maron is seemingly genuinely interested in other people (that was the intended self-congratulatory takeaway here, right?); unfortunately, this episode reiterated that Marc Maron is still hopelessly invested in what other people think of Marc Maron. I understand why he cares, but I’m not at all convinced that anyone else should. Here’s an idea for the next arbitrary milestone episode: just do another compelling interview with an interesting person. That’s what most of us (apart from some of the sycophantic commenters here) listen for.

faddah May 29, 2014 at 1:13 pm

the most raw and real yet. thank you for this and all of them. here’s to many, many more. keep doing THE BIG WORK!

Blake May 29, 2014 at 2:29 pm

I’m divided. On the one hand I loved the episode… on the other, I don’t know—it made me feel a bit uneasy, as if some kind of line has been crossed in Marc’s father segment. The man was in so much pain and so grateful that his son called him, it was heartbreaking… but it begs the question: did he know he was being recorded? If he didn’t know the call he was so happy about was going to be a part of a podcast which is, well, with all its depth, entertainment, that would be a bit exploitative.

Daniel May 29, 2014 at 3:39 pm

Gotta get Jessica on the next one of these.

andy May 29, 2014 at 9:31 pm

Marc-WTF? Just listened to the Brill segment, then went and watched JUST THE FIRST 5 MIN of the stoltz episode. Brill is one HELL of a nice guy to even give you the chance to apologize—and you copped out by saying it wasn’t really all about him. OF COURSE he’s not over the Stoltz thing—how can he forgive you if you don’t own up to it? Hearing the history on the podcast, and then seeing your very specific teardown of him (so clearly could not be about anyone else—as you would say to a guest: “Come on!!”) was so painful, so much worse than I had anticipated. You owe the guy a full confession and a huge apology. Please. You will feel better. This guy is an amazing human being to not write you off forever! Why not do justice to his friendship by owning up to the insult?
Maybe you do later in the podcast…I dunno…

Pete May 30, 2014 at 6:30 pm

Hey, I hope you and your dad manage to sort things out. Well done on making that call.
The show’s been great company for me during some shitty times. So, thanks man.

thomzas May 31, 2014 at 3:56 pm

Well done on 500 episodes. Thanks for all the work and your commitment to your audience, Mark.

I loved this episode. I’m so glad you’re in no danger of running out of people who have had a difficult history with you. I feared Morgan Murphy might have been your last! It’s both very funny and really cathartic listening to a guest air their grievances with you. Steve Brill deserved to get angry, but we forgive you…

Bounty June 01, 2014 at 8:21 am

d[-__-]b What a great episode. I’m in from the beginning and look, where this has brought you.

Congrats and keep on going. Thank you

Best wishes

smitty June 01, 2014 at 4:01 pm

yes, I cried, very moving.  it was so interesting, how your energy is different with dad, as opposed to mom.  best of luck with all that.. [hug vibes right out to ya]

Dan G. June 02, 2014 at 6:54 am

Great episode. Wow. So well-constructed, like a little podcast movie. Did not disappoint.

Gary, your criticisms are intelligent yet heartless and off-base. Don’t you think Marc can be allowed a little celebrating of himself on this special episode? Some of us - I dare say most of us - come to the podcast not just for the compelling interviews but also for the Maron’s compelling self-exploration. And don’t you think you might sound a little awkward during an emotional conversation with a family member? I say kudos to Marc for exposing himself like that. And on with the show!

The Moog June 02, 2014 at 8:10 am

Love you Marc. I think you’re too hard on yourself sometimes . . . you are a very inspirational person and an all-round good guy. I’m glad i got a chance to shake your hand in the Soho Theater and tell you i enjoyed your show.  One of the best stand-up sets i’ve seen. Thanks, man.
Congrats on the 500.

Amanda June 02, 2014 at 11:50 am

So I listened to this episode and read the comments. I loved the episode, but I see what people are saying about the narcissism of this episode. I don’t necessarily see that as a bad thing or find it surprising. It’s honest. Hearing Marc process his issues with himself and others is surprisingly refreshing. Many people in show business try to cover up their ego and fail.

The Odenkirk bit was great and really hit home for this listener. Thanks for sharing, Marc.

Fiona June 02, 2014 at 6:52 pm

For a show built around other people’s personal histories, capping 500 episodes with a series of conversations about Marc’s own story was a stroke of brilliance. It was moving, illuminating, and ultimately inspiring. I love WTF.

Chris in Long Beach June 03, 2014 at 9:54 pm

What an excellent bookend to this milestone.  So grateful you chose to share those deeply heartfelt exchanges with your sweet parents.  It was a red puffy eyed reminder of the importance of the connections to my own, our flaws be damned…thank you.

GT June 04, 2014 at 10:55 pm

Marc freely admits what a dick he often was in the past. What this episode demonstrated to me is that he’s still often a dick.  The recent stories Brill told made that clear. Stories that Marc conveniently had no memory of. I don’t know why Brill still gives him the time of fucking day, or his parents either, who come off much differently than the way Marc describes them. Sort of despite himself, he does an often interesting podcast, but let’s not kid ourselves that he’s not still a dick and probably always will be.

N June 06, 2014 at 11:18 am

The make-up call depressed me…are no personal moments worth keeping private and sacred? How can you exploit your own father’s emotional pain as content for a podcast and then convince yourself that you are on some kind of path to self-improvement? And sorry but every aging man wants to be a rock star.

Smitty June 06, 2014 at 1:38 pm

how can anyone assess, what kind of people Marc’s parents may be from a couple of phone calls!  we all show different facets to our personalities at different times.  i’m talking about being human,not a phoney.  paradoxically,sometimes the biggest frauds in life, are those that keep the same mask on for all people at all times.  i’d not pass judgment on the veracity of Marc’s assessment of his parents,that’s obscene. it’s not our call…

bubba booey June 08, 2014 at 5:40 am

This was the most WTF WTF episode I’ve heard yet. Amazing stuff. Very powerful conversation with your dad, but you’re gonna have a lot more ‘splainin to do if he wasn’t aware you were recording him for the podcast! WTF dood?!!

Martin June 10, 2014 at 2:43 am

Loved the ‘new’ theme song and it being ‘live’ smile

Congratulations on the 500th episode!

Dorene June 13, 2014 at 12:33 pm

I have never written on this site but just felt a need to after this episode.  Do you ever notice that Marc Maron never talks about odd jobs he may have had in the past other than stand up?  When I was going to school I waitressed, cleaned rooms in a nursing home, worked as a hotel maid.  Whenever I listen to his stories about apartments he has lived in, college, living in san francisco, starting out at the comedy store, and what a struggle it was, I never hear about a 2nd job he had.  How did he pay his way?  Could it be that his narcissistic, self-obsessed parents helped him to survive all those years?  Maybe that was his selfish father’s way of showing love.  I’ve been listening for two years and have really enjoyed it and I thought he was growing with each episode.  This 500th episode just shocked me.  It sounded like a selfish bratty 15 year old talking with his friends and family.  It’s been fun.  I’m out of here!

swac June 13, 2014 at 1:14 pm

Marc’s talked about those kinds of jobs before, once he worked at either a coffee shop or a deli, and then there was that time he had to go get fans (the electric kind) for Rush.

Nicole June 20, 2014 at 11:53 am

i think its amazing how you constantly work on yourself and try to make amends. I actually teared up a little when you talked to your father. That was a really powerful moment and in general i think its amazing how you set such a positive example by continuously working towards improving yourself. Thank you Marc for sharing your story and for just being you.