WTF with Marc Maron has become one of the most popular comedy podcasts in existence and deservedly so. Maron’s deep, probing interviews offer insight into the comedy world that can’t be found elsewhere.
As his show continues to grow in popularity, it seems like Marc Maron’s guest booking procedure is becoming a more public thing. Pauly Shore recently tweeted Maron to set up an appearance, and Maron is constantly bombarded via Twitter with requests for interview subjects from fans. Not that Maron has any trouble finding interesting guests for his show. He’s done a fine job of recruiting comedic minds from all over the spectrum, from road comics to sitcom creators, novelists to comedic actors, beloved comedy legends to up-and-comers. Marc Maron has been building up a library of interviews that serve as the definitive statements on the private lives of some of the biggest players in comedy. Hopefully, he won’t be too offended if this list of promising potential guests comes to his attention, as he’s doing well without it. Are we good? Are we good, Marc?
Back in 2008, Marc Maron teamed up with Sam Seder for a daily, hour-long webcast on Air America called Breakroom Live with Maron & Seder. One of the show’s most memorable guests, interviewed solely by Maron, was Roseanne Barr. She and Maron mostly discussed politics — like how Barr supports the Green Party (it was broadcast only a month before Election Day 2008) — but it was lively conservation, and to hear Barr on WTF, where she could talk more openly about how she struggled to get things done her way on Roseanne, would be enlightening for any fan of the show. And comedy.
Some of the best moments in Marc Maron’s podcast involve him facing up to past mistakes and apologizing for treating other comedians rudely earlier on in his career. One guy he’d definitely have some prior disagreements to hash out with is UCB co-founder Matt Besser. In Amy Poehler’s recent appearance on WTF, we got a glimpse of the contemptuous attitude Marc Maron had toward the UCB four in their early-goings, but it seems like Matt Besser was the one whom he clashed with most frequently. Marc Maron’s had Poehler and Matt Walsh on already, it’s about time he had the other two UCB founders, Matt Besser and Ian Roberts, on the show.
Marc Maron has recently been trying to book living comedy legend Albert Brooks on his show but hasn’t had any luck yet. Brooks has been making the rounds to promote his new book 2030: The Real Story of What Happens to America, but for some reason, WTF hasn’t been on his list of recent press appearances. From growing up in a family full of comedians to creating a successful alt-comedy stand-up act at a young age, from rivaling Woody Allen as comedy’s big screen auteur in the 80s and 90s to becoming an acclaimed novelist, Brooks has had a superb and multi-faceted career in show business that leaves plenty of topics on the table. Brooks recently sat down for a long-form interview on Adam Carolla’s podcast, but Carolla isn’t as experienced with these in-depth chats as Marc Maron is.
Marc Maron’s podcast allows guests to go into full detail about their experiences and it would be fascinating to hear Dave Chappelle give his account of the destruction of his popular Comedy Central series to Maron, another comic who’s worked for the network, rather than past interviewers Oprah and James Lipton who are in a different line of work. Maron and Chappelle both started performing comedy around the same time, so it’s likely that they crossed paths at some point and would be able to discuss their early days together, as well.
One topic Marc Maron frequently returns to on his podcast is his participation in the ill-fated Comedy Central Roast of Chevy Chase. For those that saw the televised version of the roast or have heard Maron’s accounts of the environment backstage, Chase didn’t take the ribbing well and had a bad attitude on set that made the entire night torturous and awkward to watch. Maron has been eager to discuss Chase when his Community co-stars Ken Jeong and Joel McHale have been on his show, and a Marc Maron-Chevy Chase face-off could be a WTF for the ages. It’s likely that Chevy Chase has completely forgotten who Maron is, but they’d have plenty to talk about anyways as Chase had a pivotal role in comedy history and probably has plenty of great stories to tell.
Andrew “Dice” Clay
Times are tough for the Dice Man. Twenty-one years ago, the self-proclaimed “Undisputed Heavyweight Comedy King” sold out two straight nights at Madison Square Garden, the only comedian to ever do so. But in 2011, he’s a punch line to everyone’s jokes but his own, with a career low point of being the first person fired on the eighth season of The Celebrity Apprentice. It’d be fascinating to hear Maron ask Clay about making a career out of homophobic and sexist jokes, especially because Maron’s a fan of the comedian. In 2009, on Keith and the Girl’s podcast, he said, “Dice…gets up onstage, and within five minutes, I was so happy to be in the hands of a professional. A guy with real gravitas, a guy who has a point of view. Despite whatever you have to say about that guy, he INVENTED that guy.” I don’t necessarily agree with Maron, but I’d love to hear him and Clay try to convince me.
Maron has discussed his problematic past with Jon Stewart a number of times on past episodes of WTF. The two are of the same generation of comedians and were both Comedy Central fixtures in its infancy in the early ‘90s. Stewart handed off hosting duties of the network’s Short Attention Span Theater to Maron in 1993, but somewhere along the line they had a major disagreement. Maron has reached out to Stewart about doing the show, but when asked about it via Twitter, said “I talked to Stewart. There will be no WTF with him.” Still, it would be great if Jon Stewart someday came around and agreed to be on the program so that he and Maron can clear the air.
Conan O’Brien’s done an episode of WTF and although he didn’t discuss his departure from NBC at length there, he has done so elsewhere. Besides a few short interviews, Jay Leno hasn’t had a public in-depth discussion about the 2010 Tonight Show conflict. It would be great to hear Marc Maron, a frequent guest on Conan’s shows, take Leno to task and get to the bottom of things. Leno also came up during an interesting time in stand-up comedy, having been through the Comedy Store strike of 1979 and the stand-up comedy boom that came in the decade that followed. He’s sure to have plenty of war stories to share with Maron about those experiences. Add on top of that two decades as host of the country’s top-rated, iconic comedy talk show, and there’s plenty for these two to discuss. Marc Maron’s never performed on The Tonight Show, and I’m sure he’d feel the need to ask Leno why he’s never had him on.
Yes, The Scandal would come up, particularly because of the Tracy Morgan incident, but I think everything that can be said about the night of November 17, 2006, has already been said. I’d be more interested to hear about how it’s not possible for Richards, a stand-up comedian, to ever do stand-up again, and his recollections of the infamous cue-card incident with Andy Kaufman on Fridays. Other acceptable topics: Richards’ life as a Freemason, whether he ever watches old Seinfeld clips, and what it’s like to be worth a reported $45 million.
Maron has a soft spot for older comedians, as heard recently when he spoke to Jonathan Winters. It’d be fascinating to hear him talk shop with Rickles, the two discussing confrontational comedy and why the world is filled with hockey pucks. Also: why the hell Rickles agreed to voice Jim the Frog in the upcoming Kevin James masterpiece, (Paul Blart:) Zookeeper. Another legend we’d love to hear: Mel Brooks.
Another comedy giant Marc Maron has a troubled relationship with — albeit on a much smaller scale than with Jon Stewart — is Adam Sandler. This all started with a bit on one of Maron’s comedy CDs in which he made a negative reference to Adam Sandler’s fans. Maron was knocking Sandler’s audience, not the man himself, but this apparently stuck in Sandler’s craw. Maron has spoken about how he has heard through the grapevine that the bit offended Adam Sandler, and it could be fascinating to hear these two settle this minor beef. Sandler’s so busy as a movie star that it’s rare to hear a personal interview with him that goes to the depths of a Marc Maron one-on-one, so it would be refreshing to get an extended look into the man’s life.
Last week, as Adam documented for the ages, The Weasel went crazy on Twitter, sending messages about his upcoming Showtime special to Howard Stern, Tom Green, “old friend” Conan O’Brien, Judd Apatow, and, yes, Marc Maron. The least Maron could do is offer an invitation to Shore, after Stoney Brown spent all that time writing out “@marcmaron ddduddeee.” This year is the 15th anniversary of Bio-Dome, after all. The two even have a history together: they both provided commentary for Back from Hell: A Tribute to Sam Kinison.
Man, you’d think those jokes about the Soviet Union would stop being funny after the Cold War ended, but you’d be wrong: they’re funnier than ever! “In America, you can always find a party. In Russia, the Party can always find you.” SO. TRUE. Smirnoff still does at least two shows a day, every day, at his namesake theatre in Branson, Missouri, so the scheduling might be a hassle, although it’d be worth it to hear the two comedians talk about how to keep dated jokes fresh. Maybe Maron could travel to the Live Entertainment Capital of the World? Smirnoff, Maron, and Charo, all at the same time: podcast bliss.
Twenty-seven years after his death (and yes, he’s dead), Andy Kaufman remains very much a mystery. There are very few people who intimately knew the late great comedian, but Bob Zmuda is one of them. In fact, Zmuda, who occasionally portrayed Tony Clifton, wrote a book, Andy Kaufman Revealed!, in 1999 that set out to tell the real story of The Man Known as Latka, but its exclamation pointed title was a warning that the work wasn’t very good. Revealed! felt like a rush job to coincide with Man on the Moon, the Jim Carrey-starring biopic released the same year. (Paul Giamatti plays Zmuda in the film). Maron could pry some more (factual) information out of Zmuda; discuss Kaufman’s impact on today’s comedians, particularly Zach Galifianakis; and, in a non-Kaufman related topic, talk about whether Comic Relief, which Zmuda founded in the U.S. (based on the U.K.’s Red Nose Day), will ever return.
Photo by Noah Kalina