Variety dropped a bomb on the podcast world yesterday when it revealed its latest cover story hailing podcast newbie Conan O’Brien as a leader of the medium’s current so-called “revolution.” This made people on Twitter very, very mad. Through no fault of his own, O’Brien became the poster boy for out-of-touch podcast press coverage, with critics calling Variety’s piece everything from “tone-deaf” to “absurd,” and actual podcast pioneers like Ricky Gervais offering up cheeky responses like, “What’s a podcast? Sounds interesting.”
In a case of either insanely perfect timing or carefully planned proactive damage control, O’Brien had podcast veteran Marc Maron on his TBS show last night, and Maron wasted no time addressing the Variety elephant in the room. “Apparently, according to Variety magazine, you’re the revolutionary podcaster. Conan O’Brien is the new big thing, the leader of a revolution, an audio boom! I don’t buy it, O’Brien!” Maron said before condescendingly asking O’Brien how many episodes he’s done of his podcast so far — a mere blip compared to Maron’s output. “The only reason I wanted to do it was no makeup, and then there are people that are making podcasts that are saying, ‘Hey man, that’s what we do! You can’t do that!’” O’Brien said. “And I respect that, except you had a podcast, and then you got a fucking TV show. So you get to cross the tracks, but the second I’m saying, ‘Hey, I might make a little …’ ‘DON’T YOU COME NEAR MY PODCAST!’” Consider the controversy addressed!