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Monday Dec. 17th, 2012

I Used To Hate Marc Maron

Photo By: Kristen Behrendt
I used to both love and hate comedian and podcaster Marc Maron. Marc and I are the same age and have both been doing stand up since the late ‘80s. The very first time I met him I was wearing a bright green and yellow madras shirt, a pair of shorts, and standing outside the Holy City Zoo Comedy Club in San Francisco. Maron walked up, looked at my shirt, and said dismissively, "Oh you are that guy." Which if you know me is true, but still it clearly wasn't meant as a compliment. He pegged me as a certain type of guy in an effort, I guess, to make me less threatening. (Not that I was threatening in any way.) Marc, to his own admission, has a competitive streak a mile wide and often can be found down a very wet well of self-loathing. But he has always been, at least in my estimation, one of the most fascinating comics to watch on stage. I love watching him work because what's happening when Marc is onstage is real. It's actually happening. He's never just going through the motions and not a lot of guys, myself included, can say that. Marc doesn't always go for the joke, which I love. He has a fascinating understanding of the culture and lives wickedly close to the zeitgeist. Sometimes he is brilliant but sometimes he ruins it for himself and everyone watching. I was always a fan. Marc has a rock star thing, and that has always been my jam. David Cross has it, Janeanne Garofalo has it, and so does Kyle Kinane for that matter. For a long time Marc was a fucking pain in the ass offstage, to the point that you'd try to avoid him so he didn't fuck up your night. Listen to his podcast and you’ll hear that everyone who knows Marc from the old days says that, on some level, he was something of an insufferable self-obsessed prick. But that's what's so great about this story. Marc has always been a seeker. Seekers are usually the ones that have no choice but to stumble upon their own faults in their quest for answers about the how and why of it all. At some point Marc took stock (or was forced to), got sober, and went on a path that led him to reevaluate his life and career. It's my guess that while Marc is incredibly talented, his personal flaws made it so that people we not willing to hire or work with him. So he, like our pal Jimmy Pardo, hired himself and started a podcast and we all know what happened with that. Now the assumption about Marc is probably that with fame would also come the return of his old self, but the fact is, it's been quite the opposite - at least in my experience. Since having success, Marc has gone out of his way to trumpet other comics he likes on his podcast and his live shows. Not only that, he shows up to people's shows that he's not on just to watch! At the lowest point of my career there he was among the twelve people who came to see me one night this past summer in Montreal. It helps that his girlfriend Jessica is a fan, but he could have chosen not to come. He's been incredibly kind in his praise of my Walking The Room partner, Dave, and has been a supporter of our show as well. He's always called or emailed me back within hours of reaching out to him. Do you know how fucking rare that is in this town? I can’t say I do that. Marc has been a regular on my Bring The Rock show and even sat in with my band The Reigning Monarchs at our music shows where he crushed it! His success has done something rare... it's humbled him. The point of this is A) You never know who your allies are going to be, so don't just write someone off because they didn't “get” your madras shirt. And B) Sometimes after a lot of hard work people really can change for the better. If for some reason you don't know his podcast WTF find it HERE not to mention he's a guest on our latest mess HERE

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