The Show is the Work.

How’s it going, People?
 
You all hanging in? As of this writing, in this moment, now, I am ok. Wait. No, I’m fine. 
 
Big news out of the gate here… The WTF book ‘Waiting for the Punch’ is now available for preorder. It’s great. I had no idea about some of the amazing things people told me until I saw them in print. This isn't just a collection of interviews. It's a running narrative of about 200 people working through all the messiness that is life. It's big, it's funny, it's heartbreaking, it's really something special. We are so proud of it. Get it here!
 
I’m always amazed at my commitment and preoccupation, obsession, with little bullshit aggravations. I know what is going on. I know why my brain does it. It’s sort of like the opposite of spirituality but seeks to serve the same ends. When things are terrifying and out of your control, which is most things, why not get completely preoccupied for a few hours with a scuff on your new boots and obsess about what an asshole you are for not paying more attention to walking and what you do with your feet? Then, over time wrestle that attack on self and events that are natural and out of your control into some kind of acceptance. Boots get scuffed. They’re boots. Stupid. 
 
This pattern of panic and anger at little things is exacerbated by me having actual big things happening as well. I am taping my Netflix special in Minneapolis on Saturday. I’m playing it off like it’s not a big deal but in terms of what I do, it’s a big deal. There are cameras, lighting, a crew and a theater involved. I have to have my act together, be aware of what I’m doing, not dick around too much, tighten shit up and commit to a shirt. Instead of thinking about all that, I’d rather totally focus on the scuff on my boot. Actually, I’ve let that go and moved on to the need to clean out my closet at home. Pressing stuff. 
 
Also, the ever-present possibility and reality of the world coming unhinged or destroyed seems to be pervasive and a boot and/or cluttered closet isn’t really an effective stop gap against it permeating my being every few minutes. Acceptance. Courage. Be present. Do what you do. We all get scuffed up. 
 
That all being said I did three sold out shows at the Aladdin in Portland, Oregon over the weekend and they were great. Really great. I love the crowds there. I love the city. Even though every time I’m there I feel the presence of some kind of old timey darkness that seems to come up through the ground. I’ve grown to believe that there is a détente between the groovy, progressive, odd human trip of Portland and the disgruntled ghosts beneath it that creates a loaded but energetic vibe to the place. And there’s really good food and coffee there. I don’t know if bizarre facial hair and artisanal products will prove to be an effective defense in the long run against the sucking darkness of the Earth Spirits but it is holding for the time being. 
 
The show is the work. I am honing an hour and half down to about 70 minutes which is a task. I don’t like honing that much. I don’t like having a time limit. I don’t like polishing and trimming a set. It makes it feel like work and can suck the impulsive spontaneity out of the creative juice of the thing BUT it is part of the craft of artisanal standup comedy. It ultimately is very satisfying and even professional to reign it in and pull it together. Also, I’ve never done a set for an hour long anything, i.e. a special or CD, that didn’t get thrown off track by some unseen, unexpected moment or event on the night of. I welcome it. I work with the ghosts and impulses of structures, humans, wires and currents in the moment. We’ll see what happens next Saturday. Come to the taping if you are in or around Minneapolis. Don’t take this as an invitation to throw a fun wrench into the works. 
 
Today I talk to veteran director Walter Hill who made some great movies. I love talking to directors. It was a great chat. A bit of a rock and roll show on Thursday. I recently got turned on to the music of this guy Mac DeMarco and found myself sort of mesmerized by it so I had to have him over to figure out why. Also, singer/songwriter Mark Lanegan, who has one of the greatest voices ever, will be in the garage. 

Enjoy! 

Boomer lives!

Love,

Maron

Good Guy.

Alive for now, People.

It was harrowing weekend filled with the percolating fears that I guess we’ll be experiencing for as long as this shit show continues. Today we live. I hope you had a nice Christ day or Jew day or just another Sunday. I’ve been busy with Buster Kitten bullshit and performing for terrified people who turn to comedy to make them stop screaming inside for an hour or two. Maybe I’m projecting.  Maybe it’s me managing the screams.

I was distracted with another level of panic, anger and loss. The demon cat. I mean that. I believe that Buster Kitten may be a demon. I have felt that from the beginning. I’m only half-kidding. Things happen in our lives that demand meaning beyond the event. Buster arriving out of what seemed to be thin air on my porch at about two months old is one of those events. Again, maybe I’m reading into. Maybe I’m projecting but this cat seems to be possessed with something human and alien simultaneously. The body is that of cat but what that vessel holds is a mystery. As is true with most cats, I guess, but if I want to live in some kind of mystical comic book that’s my choice. I’m grounded though. I’m okay. It’s not some kind of manic episode. I know what I’m doing with my brain. I oiled my old boots. Staying busy. Staying connected. Grounded. Old boots.

The Buster broke out though. Those of you who listened on last Thursday know that. It was stressful but I’ve dealt with quite a few of these animals. I’m callous. I can’t afford to get too emotionally invested in a demon cat that came out of nowhere for unclear reasons or ones that haven’t been revealed yet. He pushed the screen out of the bedroom window and vanished. Asshole. Spent the day walking around shouting ‘Buster’ and there was no sign or sound of or from him. Dummy. I nailed in the bedroom window better. Then, hours later, after dark, we went out back and called and heard his high-pitched mew under the deck. We looked under there and he was rolling around in a pile of pine seeds just being all cute and cat like. That’s what demons do. They fool you to dissolve your suspicion and anger at them so they can continue with their agenda. I grabbed him and brought him back in. 

First thing he did was take a big demon dump. Then he ate. Then he conked out. The next day he was very sweet, a different cat. He was affectionate and vocal and pretty supportive of me in my state. Good guy.

Midday I decide to take a troubled stress nap. Upon awakening I went out back to open the garage and the entire bedroom screen had been pushed out from the top. What!? I felt like an idiot or at the very least a shitty handyman. I went around front and got a glimpse of old Monkey darting under the gate. Shit, the retired cats are out too. Turned out LaFonda wasn’t. I went through the house and yelled ‘Monkey’ and he came back in immediately. The outdoors is a bit much for his house-wired perception. No Buster in site. I thought, ‘Fuck it, he wants to live out here so bad, so be it.’ I couldn’t hold that frame though. I love the guy and he was just becoming sweet. I had to let it go though. Callous. Cats leave. 

I called him on and off for two days. Nothing. Sarah saw him for a second under the deck at some point but then he vanished (in thin air). Then when we pulled into the driveway late at night we caught a glimpse of his Abyssinian silhouette and watched him dart under my neighbor’s fence. He was close. I put food out and went and did comedy to help myself and others as we all stare down the world’s barrel with no control over the trigger.

I came home after the show. Got out of my car. Shouted for Buster a couple of times. Heard his dumb meow just beyond my neighbor’s gate. Saw that he ate the food. Kept calling. Nothing. Sat on the ground in front of the gate with his toys for a half hour. Nothing. Fuck him. I went to sleep.

I woke up and called him out front. Nothing. Walked to the door and there he was just standing out back looking at me. I opened the door and told him to come in and he ran off. Then I walked outside to try to get him and he ran by me and went under the house. I sat there and called him. Put food out. Waited. I knew he was under there but it was starting to look like I would have to trap him or just leave him outside. I called and called and then said fuck it. Just as I was about to get up he walked out from under the house with spider webs on his ear and came right up to me and rubbed against my leg. I picked him up and brought him in. I hope this Rumspringa is over. Today he is nothing but love but that’s how these demons are.

Today on the show I have a short chat with an old friend of the show, Moshe Kasher, about his new show on Comedy Central. I have a long chat with comedian Baron Vaughn about his journey and his new doc about his dad. On Thursday I have a great, smart talk with W Kamau Bell about his show on CNN and his new book. After that I have nice goofy chat with Amanda Peet to round the episode out.

Enjoy!

Boomer lives!

Love,

Maron

One of the Best.

Sad news, People.
 
Before I start verbally noodling on about myself and my life I want to pay some respects. We lost two great comics this week. One was at the beginning of her career and the other was at the end of his. 

Death is sad, tragic, but the death of someone young and seemingly in their prime is just unfair somehow. Lashonda Lester opened for me in Austin just a week or so ago on April 1st. I booked her on a video I saw. I did not know her. I had not met her until I got to the venue the night of the show. What I saw on that video was the real deal. A funny, authentic, hard working comic who had her own voice. When I saw her live, same thing, but I also felt that she was a good person. A big-hearted person. She passed away on April 6. She had health problems which she talked about in her act. That’s an honest comic. The best kind. It’s a great loss to the comic community. Would’ve been great to see what she would’ve done. 
 
Don Rickles died last week as well. Don was old. Don was great. Don had a long, rich, life. Don was one of the funniest people I ever saw in my life. He was one of the guys that planted the seed in my brain that I think ultimately lead me to become a comic. I remember watching some hour special he did when I was a kid. He was on stage, talking to someone in the front row which I think was him dressed as an average guy. A split screen thing. My memory is fading in some corner. Don said, “Nice suit. Did that come with two pairs of pants and a yoyo?” I don’t know why but I thought that was hilarious. It barely makes sense. His timing was amazing, perfect. His intensity was barely hiding a rage that made him endearing. I used to look forward to seeing him on the Dean Martin Roasts. When he leaned in on the dais and spoke to an aging Jimmy Stewart at the other end and said, “Jimmy, we spoke to your family, you’re doing fine.” Killed me. Just so succinct. To dismiss Don as being insensitive or incorrect somehow is to fail to contextualize him properly, you hockey pucks. He was one of the best, if not THE best of his generation. No doubt. I loved him. I’m sorry I never got to talk to him. I tried. 
 
The shows have been great out on the road. I brought old Dean Delray with me to Boulder and Denver this last weekend and we had a blast. Always good to travel with someone who is funny and, just as important, likes the same shit you do. We went record shopping, ate healthy shit, talked about music for two days straight. I’m trying to get this hour and forty-five-minute set I’ve been doing down to 70 minutes for my upcoming Netflix special taping in Minneapolis. I’m not there yet. I’m not sure I’m even trying that hard. I am arranging stuff into to chunks and trying to find a through line. So that’s a good sign. Not knowing what to cut because I like it is good problem to have. Come see the taping if you live in the Minneapolis region or even if you don’t. I’m doing two shows at The Pantages on Saturday April 29th. There are still some tickets available. I also have shows in Portland, Madison, Milwaukee, Philly and DC coming up. Go to wtfpod.com/tour for tickets to any of them if they are available. 
 
Today I talk to Anne Hathaway. I was a little fanboyish bordering on inappropriate but I was very happy to have her over to talk. On Thursday actor Michael Chiklis and I catch up. He didn’t know that we share some geographical and people connections. Good talks. 

Enjoy! 

Boomer lives!

Love,

Maron

Peach Cobbler.

Howdy, Folks! 

Austin, man. Fucking Austin. Love it.

Before I get into it just a heads-up that there are shows coming up in Bolder and Denver this weekend and Portland the weekend after that and then the Midwest run culminating with my special that I’m shooting in Minneapolis on April 29th. Then there’s a night in Philly and one in DC after that. All the links for all of the shows are at wtfpod.com/tour. Dig it.

I had some serendipitous good times in Texas. I got to Austin a day early so I could hang a bit. I like it there. It was the first time I played the Paramount without being part of the Moontower Fest so I wasn’t sure how it was going to sell but we just about sold the place out. I had the whole day before the show to wrestle with the idea of going out to Opie’s BBQ for some meat. I hadn’t eaten any in months and after some power rationalizations I realized, again, life is short, why not make it shorter if it’s worth it. It was worth it. 

I drove out Spicewood and the owner Kristin set me up with a few slices of brisket, a few pork ribs, some spicy corn, the free butter beans and the fucking pecan cobbler. What? Yes. Pecan cobbler. Nuts. I told her I’d set her up with some seats at the show because she thought it was sold out. Then she told me she was going with a friend and that friend was Chuck Woolery. The retired game show host and a vocal conservative. I told her that I’m doing some material on the scoundrel at the helm of the country and she said Chuck has a good sense of humor. I said fine. In my mind, Chuck Woolery storming out of my show isn’t the worst thing that could happen. In fact, it would’ve been hilarious. He didn’t. Apparently he loved it. I’m getting ahead of myself.

After my meat coma nap I was having some coffee at Jo’s, hanging around, and I see Jimmy Vivino walking down the street. He’s the guitar player from Conan’s show and a friend of mine. I ask him what he was doing in Austin and he told me he was just there to hang out with Jimmy Vaughn and sit in with him at C Boys Heart and Soul up the street. I was like, I fucking love Jimmy Vaughn. He is honestly one of my favorite guitar players. Jimmy told me to come up. I told him to come to my show. He did, for a while. 

I was on stage and it was a great show. There are great audiences in Austin. I did an hour and half and bolted out to watch the Jimmies jam. It was amazing. It’s a little place. There were like 100 people there, maybe. Just seeing Vaughn play was awesome. I hadn’t seen him live since I saw The Fabulous Thunderbirds when I was in high school. I asked him if he remembered playing the Golden Inn in Golden, NM. He didn’t even pretend to remember. I respected that. It was great meeting him. I was there for three hours. Closed the place at 1:30 (haven’t done that in years) and walked back down to the hotel with Vivino who was staying across the street. We talked tone, groove, phrasing, guitar shit. Great night. Thanks Austin.

Today on the show I talk to Hank Azaria for a bit and then the New York Times comedy critic Jason Zinoman for good long one. He just wrote a book about David Letterman called The Last Giant of Late Night. Good read. Good talk. On Thursday for our 800th episode I talk to our very first guest Jeff Ross who has actually never had a full hour treatment. Should be good.

Enjoy! 

Boomer lives!

Love,

Maron

Never Again.

Back in Canada, Folks.


Feels pretty good. Relaxing. Vancouver. I’m going on tonight (Sunday) so I can't let you know how the show went. Hopefully it went well. I am feeling the nag of something wanting to occupy my body. Like a cold trying to take hold. I have limited bullshit preventatives with me: oregano oil capsule, a few EmergenC packets and some mysterious Chinese herb capsule. I’ll take that one first. Who knows? Maybe something exciting will happen.

I played Seattle last night at The Moore. It was a great show. Great crowd. I’ve been stretching out doing close to two hours trying to find the hour I like. I love my fans and I appreciate that many of you know me pretty well and have a weekly relationship with me but if you are sitting in a room with 1500 other people we can't really have a one on one conversation—at least not for more than a couple exchanges—or I might get aggravated. In other words, there was an annoying fan sitting right up front and I might have gotten a little harsh. There seemed to be drinking involved so maybe she doesn’t remember it as clearly as I do. If you are in an audience it's nice if you act like an audience member. If there is a beat or a moment of quiet, it’s good. Don’t feel compelled to fill it. Just wait. I’m a professional. You might miss something if your mouth hole is making sound.

On Friday night I performed in Oakland at The Fox Theatre. What a beautiful theatre. Loved the place and the crowd. It was pretty wild. Some old friends of mine came down. People who had never seen me do that big a venue. People who knew me when was just a sweaty, angry guy in a half-filled club yelling at the crowd. I think they were proud of me. Sometimes I don’t acknowledge how far I’ve come and it's nice to get a reality check on that. I just blow through life. Maybe enjoying it and being proud of myself would be good. I don’t want to get too big in my head though. Have to keep that tempered with panic and insecurity. On it.

I recorded today's show a few days early because I lost my discipline around some dangerous behavior. How long after you dump a cup of coffee on the keyboard of your computer before you start stupidly putting the cup of coffee right next to your computer again? It feels like I was on top of it for a while but apparently not the other day when I knocked half a cup over right on the thing. Coffee will end up on computers and iPhones will end up in toilets. Rules of the universe. Somehow I acted quickly enough, sopped it up, turned the machine over, put it outside and didn’t touch it for hours and it worked. I couldn’t be sure though. I was going to record today in Vancouver but I didn’t know if I could send the file if my computer had wet brain. Seems good now. Getting a new one anyway. No cups of coffee next to computer! No. Never again.

Today on the show I talk to someone I feel had been part of my life for decades because he has. I’ve been seeing Paul Shaffer off to the side on my TV screen in some form or other for years. It was great being able to talk to him. On Thursday I talk to Paul Beatty who wrote ‘The Sellout.’ Loved that book. Smart guy. Good talks.

Enjoy! 

Boomer lives!

Love,

Maron

Another Great.

Okay, Folks. I am okay. Ish. 

If you are in the Bay Area and want to see me in Oakland at the Fox this Friday there may be some tickets left but it’s close to selling out. It’s the same with Seattle at The Moore on Saturday. I believe there are still tickets for The Vogue in Vancouver for Sunday. If you are in Minneapolis and want to come to the taping of my special on April 29th at The Pantages I would get on that now. There are two shows that night. Cool.

Chuck Berry is dead. The King is dead. Long live the King. If there is one guy whose ghost will always be active in rock music it's Chuck. No matter what you thought of him as a person that sound is the shit. Okay, he was kind of an asshole and a perv but that riff, that signature riff, changed my brain. I’ve been chasing that Berry bounce and that riff around for most of my life. The first time I heard Roll Over Beethoven was when I was around nine. It was on the Beatles' Second Album. I followed that song to Mountain’s version and then finally to Chuck’s. It changed my life. It left an imprint or perhaps a neural pathway or river where almost all music had to ride down into my heart for years. It took me to the blues to the Stones to jazz to country. It was the gateway riff, the Rosetta Stone of my connection to music. Yesterday, the day after he died, I was at Gimme Gimme Records and the Chuck Berry box set had just come in. Mint condition. I listened to all six albums straight through. Rock on. RIP, Chuck Berry.

Another great poet warrior who had an impact on my life died two days before Chuck: Derek Walcott. I took a playwriting workshop with him in college. My friend Steve Brill and I wrote, acted in and directed a show in the class. Derek was a big presence who was powerful, creative and aggressively encouraging. He was the kind of guy that inspired you to eat life. He also wrote a recommendation for me when I had the dumb, drunken idea that I could get into Yale Drama School using a photo booth strip as my headshot. He wrote it for me standing in his bathrobe smoking a cigarette on an old Underwood typewriter atop a file cabinet. I had just woken him up at his house as I was leaving Boston for my ill-fated and ridiculous audition in New Haven. He was a good sport about it. I don’t think he thought I had a hope in hell of getting in but I was cocky and not aware of how humbling life would be moving forward. Always. Somehow. RIP, Derek Walcott.

Today on the show I talk to the very humble, very funny Paul Rust about his show ‘Love’ and about coming up in Iowa and LA. Good talk. Decent human. On Thursday I move through faith, religion and life stuff with Reza Aslan. Real thoughtful talk. Engaged. Good shit.

Enjoy! 

Boomer lives!

Love,

Maron

Check In.

How are you, People?

I have been doing the big traveling. I was out east last week for New Hampshire, Connecticut, Montreal and Toronto and then went home for three days and turned around and came back for New Haven, Troy and Burlington. I need to go home sometimes. Check in. Remind the cats who's using the house they own. Play some guitar. Cook a meal. Get mad about something wrong with the house. Drive my car around. Then, I turn around and go back out. It’s a lot flying but sometimes you just have to go home for a minute so you don’t start feeling lost, untethered.

Sarah came with me on this trip and it’s been pretty great. Only one dumb fight over nothing! Well, it wasn’t over nothing. It’s the old "Is That Joke About Me, Because If It Is It’s Not Based In Reality" thing. So, it was a negotiation and we worked it out. The joke was not about her and I make that clear now. See, I’m being an adult capable of compromise. These things can happen when you talk about yourself or use your life for your creative thing. It was not a deal breaker but I did pout and make the evening miserable.

New Haven was exactly what it is and I believe has been forever. The city where Yale is. The Ivy league fortress is nestled into the middle of what I believe is a pretty rough city at times. We were staying almost on the campus and it was nice. There was a time where all I wanted to do was go to that school. I even had a truly embarrassing audition for Yale Drama School. I think I’ve talked about it on the show before. We went to the Yale Art Gallery and it was amazing. It has one the best collections of modern art I’ve ever seen and I’ve been to a lot of museums in my life. I thought I had seen most of the modern art made by the big modern art people but nope. They had Picassos, Kandinskys, Rothkos and more. Early stuff. Shit I had not seen. I don’t even like Kandinsky but these were old ones and I think I finally got it. You have to go give art some attention. Check in with the portals to the other planes wrenched out of the brains of the creatively free. It’s important.

After the art gallery we went back to the hotel to have some coffee in the lobby bar and I noticed a couple sitting across from us. I thought I recognized the man. Then I noticed the woman he was sitting across from was Meryl Streep. I knew the guy from being the guy that is always next to Meryl Streep at events and award things. It was kind of amazing to see her just sitting there talking to him and eating bread and some charcuterie. I didn’t want it to seem like I was staring so I just checked in occasionally. I saw her eat some food, drink some water and check her phone. I have to say she was brilliant. I mean, really committed to all of it and it seemed so natural. She is the best actress. Even in real life, so good.

Today I talk to Kevin Nealon who I have been putting off because I thought he had a problem with me. So, we talk about that, of course, and other stuff. On Thursday I talk to documentarian Louis Theroux about his new Scientology doc. Great guy. Great talk. Funny.

Enjoy! 

Boomer lives!

Love,

Maron

Connect

Bonjour, Folks!

Sorry. I was in Montreal. It felt appropriate. That’s the limit of my French as well. Impressive, huh?

I’m actually en route to Toronto as I write this. I’m on a huge plane. 777. I don’t think I’ve been on one. It seems like a good machine. Smooth flight. Spacious. I’m looking out over the Canadian expanse. It’s pretty up in Canada. Quiet. I used to think it was too quiet, maybe even a little dull. I have to be honest though. After the last few months in the States it was real relief to be out even if it was just for a few days. I felt the difference immediately upon crossing over the border. I’ve never felt that before. I’ve never felt relieved to leave America. The amount of instability, panic, anger, sadness and chaos that is permeating the culture and country has made it very scary. I needed the brief reprieve. All those things have infused northward but it’s different. There’s a bit of distance and a different order up here. I liked the calm.

The shows have been great. I want to thanks all the folks who came out to the Ridgefield Playhouse in Connecticut. It was a sweet show. Nice venue. It was an old school so it had that school auditorium feel to it. It has been around a while so I imagined there were plenty of audiences in that space over the years that were there because they had to be there. Assemblies, high school musicals, a history of bored students and supportive parents. Maybe some show biz dreams were born on that stage. I project though. Sometimes good, sometimes real bad.

After the show the women who runs the place said there were some people outside that said they were with me on a teen tour. I couldn’t believe it. I went on a Baron Teen Tour probably almost 40 years ago now but I remember a few of the guys on the bus with me. We played poker compulsively and I would always lose and I always wondered if they were playing me with a hustle they were working, a team cheat. I was in deep. I had to wire my aunt for cash to feed the sickness. Sure enough one of the guys that came back was one of those guys. They were there with wives. Middle-aged now. It was great to see them. I was happy I remembered them. It’s odd what your brain holds onto. I liked them but I had to ask if they cheated. He said no way. He said I was just a bad poker player with shitty luck. I believed him. That adds up. It’s still true. That’s why I don’t gamble. I’m a bad bluffer.

Portsmouth, New Hampshire was an amazing show as well. The Music Hall is a beautiful historic venue. I loved going back to New England. Had some fried scallops and haddock. It’s not what I’m supposed to be eating but I had to. I really like New England people. They are their own thing. Rough but real. My old friend Jim came down and hung out and the next day me, Jim and Ryan Singer drove up to Montreal. It’s important to spend time with old friends and remember who you were and realize who you are and be grateful for what you have and connect.

Great talk today with SCTV alum Eugene Levy. I loved hearing the stories about the Canadian comedy world that birthed so many amazing funny people. On Thursday I talk to Fred Melamed. Look him up. You’ll know him. Great actor and an interesting guy.

Enjoy! 

Boomer lives!

Love,

Maron

Moved By It.

Show biz, people!

Sorry. I’m watching the Oscars as I write this. I’m already crying for no reason. Just seeing everyone. Song and dance at the start always gets me. Kimmel is doing great. I don’t know, I just have a soft spot for the whole thing. Mind you, I’m in the first half hour here and it might be different if I was writing this two hours from now.

Given what is bombarding us all on a daily basis and what is happening to the political and cultural dialogue in this country it was genuinely moving to see artists owning themselves and what they do and the joy and responsibility of putting it out in the world. For the first time in years the Oscars felt relevant and important. Also, Kimmel was fucking hilarious. Did I mention that?

I’m not going to write too much here because I want to watch. I do want to talk about a couple of movies though. Yesterday, somehow, I got some reprieve from the assault of terror that my brain is putting me through in response to what is happening politically in this country. I was just okay for some reason. I went out with Sarah and had some Indian food. Then we went to see the film Kedi. I knew nothing about it other than Sarah said it was about cats. Obviously, we are cat people. She is a little more than me. I was not all in but I just wanted to be out and doing something. It was pretty amazing. It’s about the thousands of wild cats that have inhabited the streets of Istanbul for centuries and the people they affect. It was a beautiful film and actually celebrated humanity and spirituality through the city’s relationship with these cats. I was really entertained and moved by it. Of course, at this point, just waking up and not being consumed by darkness is moving so I’m an easy audience but it was a really beautiful film and it moved me.

The other film I wanted to talk about was actually directed by my guest today, Raoul Peck. The film is ‘I Am Not Your Negro.’ It is a documentary about James Baldwin. I knew very little about James Baldwin. I had recently watched a debate he had with William Buckley on YouTube and was drawn in and blown away by the depth, humanity, intensity and fury of his intellect. I was ashamed of myself for never having explored his work. I always knew about him but I didn’t rotate him in. My loss. There is still time to learn and be moved by his work because it is always here. The documentary is a life-changing introduction to his work or an elevation of his work if you already know it. It is prescient and disturbing and relevant. It is about the problems and struggles that have corroded the core of this country for generations. It has never been more important than it is now to witness and allow this film to punch you in the brain and change your perception and engagement. It was an honor to talk to Raoul about the film. It is a unique talk for my show.

On Thursday I talk to the very funny actress Jennifer Coolidge. I love her work. I always wondered what she was like.

Enjoy! 

Boomer lives!

Love,

Maron

I Still Remember That.

Okay, People!

Well, I have to say, performing in North Carolina over the weekend was pretty amazing. I haven’t been out too much this year and I seem to be perpetually nervous lately but we sold out The Carolina Theater in Durham and it was a beautiful show. Great crowd. It was the same in Charlotte with about 900 folks at The Knight Theater. Thanks for coming out, everyone. I think we all got a bit of relief. I needed to hang out with you guys. I think we all felt better for a bit.

I never really seem to know what to expect when I head out on the road. I rented a car in Raleigh, drove to Durham and spent a couple of nights there. The Durham Hotel was pretty amazing. My buddy Mac, who runs Merge Records, lives in Durham and his wife has the restaurant in the hotel. It’s always comforting to know people when you hit a town. Even more so if that person runs the restaurant in the hotel you are staying at. Amazing food. I went over to the Merge offices too and saw how that place runs. They’re putting out a lot of good vinyl over there.  

I had forgotten that my pals Stan and Laurie lived down there too. They showed up at the show and they knew me way back, late eighties. Back when I worked at The Coffee Connection in Harvard Square and lived in this weird, big house with a bunch of other people. One of them being Stan. Oddly, he used to run a record label out of his room back then that pretty much had one band signed to it—his band. Vanishing Point Records. Shit. I can't believe I remember that. Anyway, they have grown kids now and it's always great to see people still alive and doing okay after all these years. It’s weird not seeing someone for much for decades. I guess that's what happens when you move around a lot.

I’ve been to Charlotte a few times. I did the Oddball Festival there a few years ago and I’ve played the Comedy Zone there once but I wasn’t sure how I’d do in a theater. It was great. There’s a lot of good people in the South that needed a few laughs. I didn’t eat any livermush this time. Actually, it slipped my mind entirely. Better off. I have a cholesterol issue.  I did have some cheese grits and a slice of Lemon Chess Pie. Had to. Right?

I will be donating a good chunk of my pay for the gigs in NC to EqualityNC.org. I want to help out down there and in the country. Many people won't even work there but I’m glad I did and glad I can give something back. I’m also going to give some to carolinatigerrescue.com to help out the big cats.

Today I talk to liberal redneck comedian Trae Crowder about being that. Lena Dunham also stopped by for a few to talk about the new season of Girls and other stuff she has going on. On Thursday Norah Jones talks singing, her relationship with her dad Ravi Shankar and Texas. Good talks.

Enjoy! 

Boomer lives!

Love,

Maron

Try to Manage.

Back in the world, People.

I’ll be at The Carolina State Theater in Durham, NC this Friday and The Knight Theater in Charlotte, NC on Saturday if you are in the area and want to hang.

I am back from Kauai. It feels good to be home but it’s amazing how just being home a few days and back in the shit of my life and my surroundings consumes me. I didn’t handle the amazing spaces of Hawaii that well. It was almost too isolated somehow. I get that weird detached feeling that is kind of haunting to me. It was beautiful and at times relaxing but I kept fluctuating between ‘I should move here’ and ‘How the fuck do people live here and not lose their minds?’ I guess it requires acclimating to a different groove or just having a brain that interfaces with that lifestyle. I don’t know if I could get there.

Obviously everyday has become like a weeklong dangerous, unpredictable rollercoaster ride that most of us didn’t want to be on. Everyone at the park is scared except for the people that like to see things crash and burn and the guys who just inherited the park and are running it with a bold, combustible combination of amateurism, incompetence and anarchism driven by fury. I’m sorry. We have to keep connected and know that we are not alone. Take care of yourselves. Try to manage your minds and do brave and good things in the world when needed which is daily. We are all humans. I will keep talking to people.

It’s weird that I haven’t had Ryan Adams on the show until today. People love that guy. I always knew him and there were a couple of his records that I loved but I guess I wasn’t all in. His fans are all in. I knew that. I get nervous interviewing people who have very intense and dedicated fan bases because I never feel like I know enough about them. I have common friends with Ryan and I’ve heard he’s an intense complicated guy. I knew we would get along but it just never happened. We would exchange texts occasionally. I knew that the late Marc Spitz had written this great piece on Ryan for SPIN years ago and I was in touch with Marc about Ryan shortly before Marc died. 

What really made me believe that I should talk to Ryan was an odd bit of video. It looked like it was from a trade show of some kind and it was just Ryan and a guitar playing the Grateful Dead’s ‘Wharf Rat’ which is by far my favorite Dead song. It hits me deep. The way he was playing it made me think it hit him deep too. It’s a pretty specific tune. Because of that I felt we had to talk. So, we did.

On Thursday, if all goes as planned, I talk to Ice Cube. Hasn’t happened yet. I’m kind of nervous about that one too. Excited though.

Enjoy! 

Boomer lives!

Love,

Maron

Some Peace and Quiet.

Aloha, Folks.

I was sorry to hear about the passing of a former guest, amazing writer and friend, Marc Spitz. I was just texting with him last week about Ryan Adams. It’s very sad. He was 47. I have no idea what happened. We will repost his episode to honor his memory.

I’m still out in the middle of the ocean. I’m trying to relax a bit. It’s very difficult because I have a phone. I wish smart phones were smarter, more intuitive. If you open your browser or platform or email it can sense your emotional and psychological state and deny you access with screens like, ‘Maybe give it an hour,’ ‘its not a good time to see this,’ or ‘okay, that’s enough.’

Where I am is one of the most beautiful places in the world. The few vacations I have taken in my life I have come here. I have mental problems. I guess some of you know that. They are not debilitating but it can get close sometimes. When I isolate myself and surround myself with water and beauty and I’m with the person I love you would think that would be perfect and relaxing. But if I turn off the noise around me, the best I can, the noise inside me amplifies. It has always done this. Despite the current situation in the world I look back and I can remember dozens of times when I should have found some peace and quiet and could have been present for some real beauty and openness but my brain just filibustered it with fear and panic for mostly fabricated reasons, narcissistic spiraling, a gift from my father. Though the reasons are now very real the pressure to find a way through just to cope is intense and pressing. Working on it. Experimenting with the spiritual but that drifts immediately into the mystical and burns up into a hodgepodge of mythical and possible battles that can slip into slight psychosis.

The fish is so fresh here. I’ve had amazing poke.

I’ll be back in the world soon.

Today I talk to actor Bill Paxton, who I love. Great guy, intense, amazing energy and good talk. On Thursday I talk to Sex Pistols guitarist Steve Jones about the life. Great talk.

Enjoy!

Boomer lives!

Love,

Maron

I'm Speaking to You.

Too much terrible news, People.

This is no longer a right wing/left wing issue. It's not about Republicans or Democrats. It's not about conservatives and liberals. It’s about being an American.

I want to remind everyone who has the privilege to live in this country that we have a moral duty to protect oppressed people and to allow asylum to those who seek it.

If anyone who calls himself the President of the United States of America wants to prevent us from executing that moral duty, he is being a shitty American and it is our responsibility as citizens to override that moral transgression.

You should not be afforded the freedoms of this country if you can’t protect and uphold them for others.

If your anger or ideology or mangled religious beliefs have disabled you from being capable of compassion, mercy, empathy, charity and decency—I guess I’m not speaking to you.

If you are an autocratic loyalist or a totalitarian apologist—I guess I’m not speaking to you.

If your comfort and/or partisan hopes have insulated you or enable you to rationalize what is happening—I’m speaking to you. Step up. Be a good American.

If you are debilitated by your fear and turning inward or distracting yourself—give your fear voice through anger. I’m speaking to you. Step up. Be a good American.

If you're detached or despondent or feel hopeless or were never ‘political’ it's not too late to engage in some civic responsibility. Step up. Be a good American.

If you are angry and engaged in fighting the good fight in an active way. Thank you—Godspeed.

Thanks to everyone who protested at airports across the country. Thanks to lawyers from the ACLU who showed up and did their civic duty. We are obviously up against something new and terrifying and fundamentally un-American.

Also, if you are a celebrity and are planning to attend the Oscars next month - particularly if you are nominated - you need to think long and hard about that. One of your fellow nominees, Iranian filmmaker  Asghar Farhadi, is not attending due to this presidential decree.

If you are in the military and you served in the Middle East, many of the foreign nationals who were indispensable to U.S. military efforts are now barred from entering the country due to this presidential decree. Some of them have put their lives in permanent jeopardy by working with the
United States military and are now forbidden from seeking refuge.

Look, there is zero point in having a podcast, or going to award shows, or entertaining ourselves in any way if we’re not going to fight like hell to protect the foundational structures of this country that allow us to do these things in the first place.

I mean, are you telling me we Americans can't create jobs, rebuild infrastructure, have reasonable immigration and trade policies and health care without compromising the foundations of our democracy or disregarding the constitution. Come on!

I woke up on Saturday and called my Congressional representatives and made some donations to organization working to support war-displace refugees around the world and the ACLU.

Here’s a list of those organizations:

The International Rescue Committee
UNICEF
Mercy Corps
Doctors Without Borders

No one is helpless. If you’re angry, you can do things.

Are you angry? Good. Stay angry, but be focused. Focus. Focus. Focus.

This isn’t a partisan agenda. It is an American agenda.

Today I talk to Robbie Robertson about The Band, Bob Dylan and growing up on a reservation in Canada among other things. On Thursday I talk to the comedian Joe DeRosa and I have a short talk with John Hodgman and Jesse Thorn. Good talks!


Enjoy!

Boomer lives!

Love,

Maron

All We Have Is Each Other.

It's raining, folks.

You spend all year - years - waiting for water in LA and we are getting it. I mean, a lot of it. It’s strange living in a really old house. I’ve never really had any work done on it other than putting a new driveway in with a full drainage situation. That decision was compelled by rain. It doesn’t rain often here but when it does, holy shit. If I hadn’t put that driveway in this rainy season would have definitely flooded out the garage. So, maybe this rainy season will compel me to do some more work on my house. Like, get a new house. 

I mean, every time it rains like this I think the garage is going to slide down the hill, maybe with me in it. Or the entire roof of my house will just fall in. All is well so far but the garage is leaking a bit and I had to chisel a hole in a wall on the side of the house to drain the small lake collecting there. This house has been here for almost 100 years so I can look at that two ways: It’s been through earthquakes, arid dry waves, the Santa Ana winds over and over and torrential rainstorms—it can take it. OR this will be the last year that this house stays in tact. Time will tell. I am ready for it to stop raining.

Last weekend was amazing. I’m glad so many people took to the streets to be heard and seen and speak their minds and celebrate their anger. It was a women’s march but the streets were filled with all types and kinds of people. It was spectacular. All we have is each other. The reality that we are a community of people that want what America means: Freedom, liberty, equal rights, decency, respect, tolerance, diversity. These aren’t ‘liberal’ ideas. They’re American ideas. 

It’s very fucked up that there is so much anger and intolerance on both sides of this thing and the momentum of division is being stoked by the negligence and aggression of leadership. So, it’s on us to try to make this right for America and what we believe this country to be. Angry people in the streets PEACEFULLY protesting are necessary when no one really has our backs on a government level. It’s all we got—each other. 

There is a humility and vulnerability in not being able to pretend you are something you aren’t. It's awful to be scared of being hurt for who you are, but that’s where we are at and we have to stick together and take care of each other. We aren’t going to ‘get over it.’ It’s just starting. We don’t want to be erased or eradicated or gagged, not by our own fear or by anyone else. We can accept what has happened. Acceptance without submission. We need to speak up. A lot.

Great shows this week. Today, I talk to Martin Landau. The 88-year-old veteran actor takes me through becoming an actor in NYC at The Actors Studio with Marilyn Monroe and James Dean all the way to present day. Amazing talk. On Thursday I talk to my close friend Jonathan Daniel about his life journey from a hair metal band to being one of the most innovative music managers in the business. Good week. Good talks.


Enjoy!

Boomer lives!

Love,

Maron

I Cut Through.

Feel better, Folks!
 
I guess I’m just talking to you like you all have the same shitty cold that I do. It’s weird. I’m sick but I’m not that pissed about it. I guess there’s really nothing you can do once you are sick except the weird shit you’ve decided makes you better. I have those. Currently it’s vitamin C, oregano oil, aspirin and some weird Chinese herbal thing my girlfriend got from her massage therapist. Is it working? Sure. Why not? Ultimately it comes down to rest and water, I think. I have no idea if I’m actually getting better. I’m all Sudafeded up and Afrined. I think I’m ok. I had a good run with no sickness. So, I’ll take the hit without freaking out. I have the time to be sick right now. It’s kind of relaxing in a sick way.  If you don’t freak out and rest it gets better quicker. Right?
 
I can't write too much today because I lopped off a piece of my left index finger. I’m no wizard on the keys with all of my digits. So being hand hobbled is not great for me, writing-wise. It was a gift that did it. I like having sharp knives in the house. As you people who cook know, a sharp knife is an amazing thing. It makes cutting fun and satisfying. I guess I had gotten used to my dullish unsharpenable knives. I knew them. We understand each other. It’s important to understand your knife. 

I was given a brand new big sharp knife for Christmas. I had no relationship with it. When I used it a couple of times I knew is was a beast but I liked it. I was happy about it. Then, the other night I was cubing some tofu and when I sliced through the small loaf of curd I felt that unmistakable feeling of slicing finger. Its not painful at first and you don’t really know the damage until you say, ‘Fuck,’ and drop the knife and quickly look at the source of the feeling. There was a lot of blood and bloody tofu is not a popular vegetarian dish. I had sliced into my index finger at the tip and there was a little disc of skin barely attached. I had cut through all the layers hence the big blood letting and the lack of extreme pain. I’ve been through some serious slicing accidents from my days working the counter at restaurants. I knew it was too small for stitches and I knew that the skin disc would probably have to come off but I wanted to try to let it reattach. I hit the wound with some peroxide that Sarah ran and got out of the cabinet. I was actually surprised at just how many first aid supplies I had. We cleaned it, dressed it and I left the skin on and hoped it would press into place and connect. Sarah almost puked. Thankfully, enough of the tofu was left to finish making dinner, which I did because I’m stubborn. 
 
I’m happy to report that as of today the flap seems to be taking. It hasn’t turned black or purple and fallen off. I redress the thing twice a day and marvel at the miracle of skin. Hope it takes. It’s fucking with my ability to play guitar. Though I am taking it as an opportunity to strengthen my pinky and play anyway. Not well but it’s a good exercise. 
 
Today I talk to James Hetfield from Metallica. I’m no metal nerd or headbanger but I was married to one once and I’ve grown to appreciate it. Either way, it didn’t matter. We had a great talk. On Thursday I talk to B-movie king Roger Corman. Some of the greatest actors and directors ever started their careers working with Roger. Should be interesting. 

 
Enjoy!

Boomer lives!

Love,

Maron

Reconfigured.

It’s a New Year, People!
 
Here we go again. Hang on. 
 
I know I won't be pleasantly surprised but I don’t really want to be terminally surprised or surprised with horror on a daily basis. I am girding up, though. Emotionally, psychologically and spiritually girding up, somehow.
 
I’ll tell you how I entered the New Year. The day before New Year’s Eve I was told to watch a documentary called ‘HyperNormalisation’ by Adam Curtis. I know he’s done other ones but I wasn’t familiar with him or his work. I may have watched ‘The Power of Nightmares’ back in the day but I can remember it. It came out in a dark, tired time for me. I am told we did talk about it on my old radio show but much of that time seems like a haze of anger and caffeine. This new one is a mind blower. It is a journalistic exploration of the forces that have brought us to where we are: Technology, international terrorism, perception, economics, reality, detachment and the powers that rule and fight to maintain power over all. 

The movie is a feat of doc genius and the trajectories Curtis brings together successfully are daunting and haunting but there is clarity in it. The darkness spreads wider and over more time than I could conceive and there is light in knowing that. It is bleak but there is so much I didn’t know and so much he brings together that makes sense that it feels enlightening and there is always some hope in enlightenment. So, I watched that and it reconfigured part of my mind. Good way to enter the New Year. Reconfigured. 
 
It has become a tradition for me to do nothing on NYE. Just have a quiet evening with Sarah, not even checking in on the global time zone dropping dominos of televised celebrations and panic. We just made some dinner and watched a screener of ‘Hidden Figures.’ It’s a great story and an important one to be told and shared. The movie is a little hokey but the performances are great and I cried at the right places. We waited out midnight, had some sex, kissed and slept into the First. 

Now we’re here and I have changed nothing. I made no resolutions. I don’t need that pressure. There’s already enough. I feel pretty good, actually. It's weird to admit that. I know shit is real and hard and scary but my foundation is solid. I hope I have the fortitude not to personalize the shit storm that is likely and to keep doing solid work that has an effect. I have to find the holes with light shining through them and try to bore them out a bit, make them bigger. I am wary but oddly inspired. It’s kind of good to have something to push up against. It becomes essential to fight and figure out a way to express it. 
 
That said, I talked to Bruce Springsteen for today's episode. It seems my agenda was to connect with him personally. I had an hour and that was what I wanted to do. I feel like I did it. On Thursday Martha Plimpton gets worked up. She’s a real NYC character. Loved it. Great talks. 


Enjoy!

Boomer lives!

Love,

Maron

I Hope.

Hello, People! 

I hope you all are having as comforting a holiday time as possible. It’s hard not to be pensive. We should be. It is hard to know what is real and what isn’t.

We only have our own perception to rely on and how we load up that perception is on us: How we want to inform ourselves, what sources we draw from, what our priorities and beliefs are and how we buttress or question those priorities and beliefs. Do we detach entirely, thinking that focusing on our own business and life in the most morally responsible way possible is enough to be proactive? I mean, we have lives, right? It might not be enough because we have to be morally responsible citizens of a country we still believe in. We have to believe and we have to push back against an avalanche of anti-democratic psychological brutalization on all fronts, government-sanctioned. We can’t buckle and be defeatist and we can’t have blinders on. Which is a drag, because there are some really great blinder options out there. You can get them all on the Internet.

We might actually have to get involved, get our hands dirty and help others in a real way. I mean me, too. I am not saying any of this in a condescending way. I think about what I need to do all the time. I have to stop thinking and start doing. I can't think that talking about this in a broad and vague way is actually doing something. I guess it kinda is but I know there is more I can do. I’m taking time to reflect and get clear on what that may be. I hope you are, too. It’s easy to get overwhelmed and terrified and hopeless and then that becomes debilitating and can provoke a depressive state that becomes the focus. The bleak feelings of dread are not the pathology; the events you are reacting to are pathological. Your brain and body are doing the appropriate thing. Let’s relieve it by coming together.

All that said. I hope you got some cool presents. I hope you ate some good stuff. I hope you don’t feel too bad about yourself as we enter the new year. There are enough external things to feel bad about. Let yourself off the hook a bit with your interior attacks if you are waging those battles. Let’s externalize them, use that critical energy for things that need to be criticized that aren’t you.

A couple of outlier talks this week. Today I share a conversation I had in Las Vegas with Sammy Shore. If you listen to the show I am sure you have realized there is a sub-narrative that is a comic history of The Comedy Store. I have had an obsessive relationship with that place for decades, going back to when I was a doorman there in the eighties. Well, Sammy is the original owner of the place. He is Mitzi Shore’s ex-husband and Pauly Shore’s father. He is, what I’m sure he would categorize himself as, a somewhat failed comic. He had nothing to do with what The Comedy Store became when he handed it over to Mitzi in a divorce settlement in the early seventies but he has something to say about it and his life in show business. On Thursday I talk to David Bromberg. When I was a kid I had an album I inherited from somewhere. It had a sketch of a guy playing guitar on it. It was a David Bromberg album. It was a little too folkie for my taste at the time but I remember it. Then I got a new David Bromberg album in the mail a few weeks ago and I thought, ‘wow, this guy has been around a long time. What’s he been up too?’ So, I reached out to talk to this lifelong sessions player and I now know he is also the foremost authority on violins made in America, a passion he pursued during a 20-year hiatus from music. Interesting talks.


Enjoy!

Boomer lives!

Love,

Maron

A Special Experience.

Hey, Folks!

There are a slew of new tour dates up at wtfpod.com/tour. Check in to see if I’ll be performing in your area. Also, the signed Carnegie Hall posters are going fast. This is a limited thing. All I got is what I got. So, if you want one I would pull the trigger on that at wtfpod.com/merch. While I’m self promoting-- you can get my last special ‘More Later’ now on iTunes! Enjoy.

I wrapped. We finished shooting ‘GLOW’ for Netflix last Friday. It was emotional but I tried to keep it under control. I’m sure it will set in more in the next week. When you spend a few months working on something that is so collaborative as a TV show you get very attached to the process and the people involved. You live in the world of making the show more than the real world and it's very intense. 

Throughout the shoot I sort of kept my distance from the 14 women playing the wrestlers both for character reasons but also, I think, to preserve my energy and emotional stability. My personal boundaries aren’t great and maintaining them requires somewhat drastic action, like almost shutting down so I don’t spiral off one way or the other. So, I kind of minded my own business and stayed in the work. I wasn’t a dick but I was kind of self-involved. I was sociable but I think I was kind of guarded so I wouldn’t be too open and it wouldn't affect the guy I was playing. I couldn’t really be guarded around Alison Brie. She sort of had my number and could disarm me pretty quickly but that really informed our dynamic on the show and it was really good. I felt it. Our relationship is a primary one in the season so it was good that we had the rapport we had. It was also good for me because I’m no trained actor so having a real connection AND working with a great actress made me perform better. I felt very close to all of them whether they knew it or not. I had never been around that many women at once every day, ever. It was a true learning experience.

It was amazing watching all of them work. They really built a team, trained together, understood each other and real showed up for what were some pretty daunting scenes. I found it all very moving. Like, I would get choked up watching them wrestle and act and I had to kind of stuff it down because that was what the guy I was playing would do and also I didn’t want to lose my shit on set every other day as me, Marc.

Everyone involved with this show was amazing and did great work. I’m really excited for everyone to see it. I’m not sure when that will be but it will be a special experience to watch it. I really want to watch it. I have to wait, too. I have no idea how it all came together. There’s literally no way it can't be good.

Annette Bening is on the show today. We had a nice long chat about her life and acting and Warren Beatty and other stuff. It was nice. On Thursday I talk to guitar wizard Derek Trucks about being a child guitar wizard and evolving into a virtuoso as opposed to a novelty act and about all his mentors along the way. Great talks.


Enjoy!

Boomer lives!

Love,

Maron