The Craft.

How’s it going. Folks?

Everything okay-ish?

Saturday was exciting. I did a big Comedy Store benefit for the firefighters at The Fonda Theater. I saw Nikki Glaser, Attell, Jeselnik, Segura, Fitzsimmons, Frazer Smith, Jeff Ross, Bobby Lee, Byron Bowers and Dr. Drew. I guess it wasn’t that much different than a night at the Store but it’s always kind of sweet to see a bunch of us in one place just hanging around in a backstage area, talking. I didn’t stay long but it makes me feel good. It’s my community. They’re my peers. Sometimes when you do a thing that is really just you it’s easy to forget that you have peers and friends and a world that has some cohesion and sense of family somehow. I don’t hang out enough. Need to make time for friends.

I really can wrap my brain around the fact that I basically started with some of those guys. Attell and Ross and Fitzsimmons. I mean, I’ve known them for like 30 years. It’s crazy. Time doesn’t fly, it disappears. And most of what you have to show for it is scars and aches and ticks and gray hair—the physical surrender. Unless you are Dr. Drew, who seems to think that no one notices he’s aging. I don’t know what he’s doing but the effort that goes into keeping it at bay eventually becomes its own indicator. It’s cool, we all do what we can. I mean, Jesus, I’ve been exercising so compulsively that I could barely walk the other day. Oh, and starving myself a bit, in a healthy way.

Also, you would hope to attain a bit of calm and wisdom as the years evaporate behind you. At the very least, you give less of a shit about a lot of dumb shit that used to consume you. Kind of. On a good day.

Went out with Sarah the Painter to a ceramics sale in Pasadena. I have a thing for handmade ceramics. I’m sure I’ve talked about it. This was at a private home. It was a bunch of people that must know each other from the ceramics community selling their stuff. Practical clay stuff and art stuff. I bought a few things from almost everyone there. I just like having handmade things around the house.

I bought a stunning tea pot. The women who made it seemed a bit attached to it. She said it was perfect. Doesn’t drip and it’s weighted just right. She spoke like an engineer in a way. I wish I had a craft like that. You make something that others can use that is beautiful and it exists in the world. Her tone was focused and that of a professional craftsperson. She initially didn’t want to part with it. I guess that’s the emotional risk of making stuff, art. You have a connection to it. Some part of you in is in it. The grieving process lasted about 22 seconds. I was there for it. Then she wrapped it up.

Today I talk to Adam Horowitz and Michael Diamond of The Beastie Boys. It’s always tricky with two people but I loved a lot of their music and the new book is great. I’m not in any way a hip-hop oriented guy and I was just trying to get a bit of insight and talked to them about what they added. On Thursday I talk to comedian Fahim Anwar. Great comic talk. Funny guy. Good guy.
 

Enjoy! 


Boomer lives!

Love,

Maron

Boxes.

Happy Chanukah, People!

Damn. Did I miss it? I’m a bad Jew.

I knew it was Chanukah. I got one candle lighting in. It was late in the game so it was more exciting. Day 7. Seven candles. No build up. Boom.

I tried to do stuff around the house over the weekend. Even if I have a list I can’t seem to do any of them all the way through. I circle around. I start some of the stuff on the list and other things are folded in and the rotation becomes bigger. Then, a box is delivered or I get distracted. Have to open it and whatever is in there has to be rotated in.

The idea was to get the office in the house set up. By set up I mean file all the stuff that is in piles on the floors and get that out of the way and neat. Then, start putting stuff in my desk. This is so the room looks like it functions and doesn’t just become a storage room for a growing pile of papers and things that are in ‘do I need all this shit’ limbo. That stuff is all over the house. I don’t really know where it all comes from. People and companies send me shit. Books, records, weird gifts, big ideas. I look at them. Put them on a table or the floor and they enter the realm of ‘do I need all this shit’ limbo. Stuff can stay there for years. 

I guess my point is I started filing things and I got lost in ‘do I need all this shit’ limbo and that can be overwhelming. Looking at papers. Bank statements. Insurance shit. Pay stubs. Receipts for stuff that happened a long time ago. Birth certificate. Deed to old house. Two marriage licenses (both void). A folder of panic papers and aggressive documentation of the actions I had to execute when my identity was stolen. Song lyrics. Notes from interviews. Can you feel what I was feeling?

DO I NEED THIS SHIT?

What can or can’t I throw away. I filed what I could and then stepped away. Need another file box.

Then a box came. A new litter box. I didn’t think my cats would go in a covered box and they did so I got another one. Then I entered the litter changing, box set-up, wonder if they’ll still go in there if I put a mat out on the floor in front of it loop. Settled that. Broke down some boxes. Then I remembered I wanted to glue something.

Some old Mexican hand-carved winged monkey tchotchke I’ve had forever lost its wings. They were just lying there. Had to glue that. I had two winged monkeys. One I threw away. Irreparable. Artifacts from trips with women who are no longer in my life. Wives. They aren’t triggers. They are barely reminders at this point. Just stuff I am afraid to throw away. I feel like I go through this every few years.

Another box came. It was an old-style steamer I ordered. The kind that opens like a metal flower that you set at the bottom of a pot. I had silicone one but it smelled like dishwasher soap and I couldn’t get it out and I couldn’t handle it anymore. Kale with a hint of dish soap. Not great. The new one was the wrong size. Had to angrily order a larger one. Not pricey enough to return the other one. More stuff. I’ll have two now. See. It keeps coming.

Physical representation of mistakes of different kinds around the house. Throwing them away doesn’t erase the mistake but at the very least you aren’t reminded of them every time you see it. Keep them around. Sometimes you need to be reminded.

Just ordered a new file box.

Today on the show I talk to Jeff Daniels about Aaron Sorkin’s adaptation of Harper Lee’s ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ that is now on Broadway. We talk about other stuff. Great talk. We did it in an old beautiful office upstairs at The Shubert Theatre in NYC. On Thursday I have an engaged, meandering conversation about life and art and stuff with Maggie Gyllenhaal. Great talks!
 

Enjoy! 


Boomer lives!

Love,

Maron

The Elements.

Let it rain, People!

Torrential downpours here in LA last week. Thank god. We could’ve used them a few weeks ago but they are here now. Maybe the entire city won’t burn, at least for a while longer.

I was becoming afraid to go on my hike because it just felt like I was walking through miles of kindling. The dryness here is relentless. Like it all could burst into flames any minute. Everything really starts to feel brittle and dead. Dryness. I’m afraid to touch my cats because of the static electricity. They’re old and I don’t want to kill them with my finger.

Then, the rain comes and as glorious as it is (I don’t care how hard it comes down), within minutes, everyone in a car in this city becomes a moron. Instant stupid. Wet dumb mobiles careening down the highways until one of them slams into another and stops traffic everywhere within a twenty-mile radius. It’s unreal. I’m sure it’s a common complaint and I am not without empathy. Obviously, I don’t want anyone to get hurt but for fucks sake it’s just rain. I’m not even sure what skill set is necessary to navigate rain. Either you have it or you don’t. I guess it can me learned but it seems hopeless and consistent. Angelenos can’t handle their machinery in water coming from the sky.

You would think it was snow. I mean, I get the roads are slippery, but some cars seem to just stop working in the middle of the highway here when it rains. Baffling. What kind of upkeep did you neglect in order for rain to stop your car cold? I am fortunate to have had to drive in most weathers. I’ve lived a lot of places. I have dug my cars out of snowbanks that were created by snowplows. Is that a conspiracy? If you are parked and there’s an overnight snowstorm, the plows come and just create a five-foot mound/wall of snow that locks your car in, maybe in hopes you’ll just say, ‘fuck it, I’ll wait until spring to go anywhere.’ Safer for everyone.

I have to remember that there are people in those cars. I was heading to a GLOW location about forty-five miles from where I live. It was six in the morning. Still dark. Ten minutes into my drive I hit standstill traffic. I admit, I didn’t reroute when my phone told me to. I’m a rebel. I wanted the autonomy to make my own decision rooted in baseless instinct. I sat there for an hour, not moving. Livid. Eventually I settle in. I was late. I had no idea what was up. Miles of traffic. Once it started moving and we were all funneled into one working lane and the causal event revealed itself to be a semi-truck that had jackknifed and tipped over and on its side and laying across four lanes, a literally unmovable wall across the highway. There is that feeling of horror, closure, relief and concern. Horror at the event. Closure that it was actually something stopping the flow. Relief it isn’t you. Concern for whoever was in that truck. It didn’t look like anyone was injured and that had to be a pretty shitty phone call to whoever was waiting for whatever was in that truck.

Gratitude. Luck.

Today I talk to the actor Tim Blake Nelson. It was one of the most surprising talks I’ve had. You make assumptions about people based on their work, looks, way they sound, whatever and it’s always exciting to be totally wrong. Great talk. On Thursday I have a great comic conversation with Ted Alexandro. I’ve known him a long time and much of that time I thought he didn’t really like me. Turns out he’s just kind of a serious fella. Another great talk.
 

Enjoy! 


Boomer lives!

Love,

Maron

Family.

How’d you do, folks?

I hope it was all as good as possible, if not just good.

Thanksgiving at my mother’s turned out to be great. First off, for those of you keeping up, I decided not to mash. I left the yams that replaced the kabocha squash with the garam masala and coconut oil intact, little mush cubes. Other than the turkey, it was the most popular dish. Even surpassing the highly rated stuffing I’ve been making for years. 

The turkey was amazing this year. I’m not even sure why. It’s always pretty good. It’s fresh. We get it from Delaware Farms in Hollywood, FL. I think they are put out within a day or two of being killed (horrible, no other way to say it). I didn’t overcook it and it cooled for two plus hours. It was just great. I have finally really figured out how to pace out the prep over two days so I can have most of it done and the only thing I have to do is warm everything up while the turkey cools. Once it’s served I can actually hang out and eat.

All the food aside it was the best gathering I can remember having with that side of the family. The primary reason was—it was really just family and slightly extended family. There was only sixteen people there and we arranged the tables so everyone could engage. Maybe it’s because we’re all getting older. I don’t know. It just felt very connected. My brother came down and I don’t think he’s ever been down for Thanksgiving. He’s 53! It was the first time him and my mother and I were together for the holiday I guess since we were kids. 

Bottom line was there was no weirdness, really. No fighting. Very little politics. Just sharing memories and catching up over good food. And I think being grateful. If we weren’t, in retrospect I can say I am, for myself and my family.

I hope your time with yours was in some way cathartic or elevating or tolerable or surprising or nice. Anything but the same old thing. Wait, even that is okay. Consistency can be good. It is what love looks like sometimes.

Today on the show I talk to Martin Mull. He is a musician and comic who was very big back in the 70’s. Influential, even. I’m sure you’ve seen him in something. You may not have heard his comedy but you can. He was part of the cast of ‘Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman’ and ‘Fernwood Tonight.’ Both very influential shows that you may not know anything about. Great talk. Nice guy. On Thursday I talk to Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy. It happened. It was good. He has a book out and a solo album and of course all those Wilco records. I know a lot of you were waiting for this one. I hope it meets your expectations. I enjoyed talking to the guy.
 

Enjoy! 


Boomer lives!

Love,

Maron

The Menu.

You can deal, People!

It’s here again. The beginning of the have-to-deal-with-your-family season. Maybe for some of you that’s a great time of year. Weirdos (said with love and a little envy).

For those of us who have to buttress our sense of selves and unplug some receptors in our heart and brain machines to get through, it takes a bit of prep and a few tools. The good thing is everyone is getting older so you would hope a little less volatile or insecure. You would hope.

I focus on the food.

It’s been a couple of years since I’ve been down to my mother’s for Thanksgiving. I do most of the cooking. This year there are going to be less folks, just family. Which is better actually. When there are too many people it tends to just break into groups and there isn’t a sense of community or family. Just different camps of people, usually separated along ideological lines. Fuck that shit this year.

She’s in Florida so there’s always the chance that most of the state will be covered with rising seawater overnight. That would be exciting. Old people on rafts and iguanas everywhere. Assuming that won’t happen, I look forward to immersing myself in the cooking. I’m also flying my brother down. We haven’t hung out at a Thanksgiving together with my mom in probably decades.

I’m switching up the menu a bit. I’ll see how that pans out. I’m generally not a health-oriented cook for that day. I figure it’s one day a year, let’s kill ourselves a little. But I am going to replace the somewhat hackneyed sweet potato thing with the brown sugar on top with something a bit more exotic. Here it is:

I’ve been cutting up kabocha squash into triangles. Like 2-3 inches at the bottom and along the sides. I coat them with ghee. Then sprinkle them heavily with garam masala and some salt and roast them until they brown.

It’s amazing and includes some of the American holiday spices like cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg with some more exotic spices like cumin, coriander and sometimes some other stuff depending on the blend of the garam masala. I’ve been thinking about the squash a lot. Obsessed a bit.

It’s good to focus on the food and use it as a grounding force as you engage with aging, sadness, maybe difficult relatives and situations, maybe even some happiness. Maybe that’s the whole idea of the holiday. Being thankful is one thing but being empathetic, tolerant, giving and connected is the main thing. Oh, and full of food.

Today I talk to playwright/screenwriter/director Kenneth Lonergan about his amazing work. Manchester by the Sea, Margaret, You Can Count on Me and his plays. On Thursday I talk to comic Annie Lederman about her life and insanity. Great talks!
 

Enjoy! 


Boomer lives!

Love,

Maron

Fun Trip.

Heading home, People.

I’ve been away for a few weeks. I’m writing this on a plane. I’m excited to get home, see the cats, sit in my house. The trip was actually great. The fall weather was perfect almost the entire time I was there other than a few days of rain. It seemed to turn to winter the day we left NYC. Got out just in time.

Yes, I did see me on SNL on Saturday. Well, it wasn’t me. It was Alex Moffat doing me as a character in a sketch. I think that is the closest I’ll get to actually appearing on the show. He did a good job. He didn’t make me look like an idiot and he seemed to get my walk right. It looked like he put some time into getting me right. I’m still doing that. It was very flattering to be depicted. They were talking the piss out of podcasting a bit. It had it coming.

Last week I went up to Boston to do a couple of days work on a Pete Berg film called ‘Wonderland’ with Mark Wahlberg. I play a cynical, angry ex-crime reporter. It was a stretch. I had to get Wahlberg’s character up to speed after he was in prison for five years. I live on boat. I don’t think I’m really cut out for boats. We were docked and I was getting seasick. I did two scenes with Wahlberg and Winston Duke. They went well, I think. It was fun, actually. Mark Wahlberg is very Mark Wahlberg-like.

The show at the Beacon Theatre went very well. It’s amazing how crazy I get before big shows. I hadn’t done a long set in a couple of weeks. I wasn’t sure I had the flow of the bits in place. I make myself nuts thinking it won’t come together. There was about 2500 people there. My mom and Sarah the painter were there. Brendan McDonald was there. A bunch of family I don’t see much was there. Friends were there. None of that really makes me nervous anymore. My biggest fear is that whatever kicks in when I get on stage to make me who I am on stage won’t kick in and I’ll be all alone up there. Which I am. I mean all alone with no help from the audience. I’m afraid that the crowd will sit there and wonder why what I am saying isn’t coming out funny. I mean, it can happen. I could just not connect somehow. Fall into myself. It has happened.

It didn’t happen.

It was a great show from the moment I got out there. It’s a beautiful theater. The crowd was great. I worked through all of my new stuff and it was very productive. I saw how it could all come together into one piece in a way. I see a through line. I was feeling that all the bits were kind of disconnected but after doing it again and riffing through some new stuff I’m all excited about the new hour-plus. I was distant from it before I did it. Now I’m in it again. Thanks for coming out if you were there.

It was a productive, fun trip all around. We went to the Warhol show at the Whitney which was surprisingly great. You think you’ve seen all that stuff before but then a good curator brings in some new stuff and reframes the whole arc of the work. Great show. We saw the Hilma af Klint show at the Guggenheim which was astounding. We saw Aaron Sorkin’s ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ in previews on Broadway which was moving and resonant. We ate at Mogador and Veselka. I did a few interviews with great guests. It was really an all-around exciting trip. I want to sit and listened to records for a few hours now. Pet Monkey, LaFonda and Buster.

Today on the show I talk to DL Hughley. I’ve been wanting to talk to him for years. I’ve always been a fan. It finally happened and we had a fun talk. It’s really good. On Thursday me and Michael Douglas talk about Michael Douglas. He’s sharp and has been around a while. It was fun talking to him. Feel like I’ve been watching him my entire life because I have. Great talks.
 

Enjoy! 


Boomer lives!

Love,

Maron

Vote.

My fellow Americans,

You know what you need to do.

That said, if you don’t, and it doesn’t go the way it should, it’s your fault. All your fault.

I’m sitting here in my new hotel room. It’s smaller but it’s a better location. I’m in the heart of the Lower East Side, just down the street from where the Luna Lounge was, which is where my comedy defined itself in the mid-90s. Sweaty Marc did many sweaty performances there for people sitting on the floor. There’s now a hotel where it once was. 

I’m also near Katz’s Deli. I can actually smell Pastrami wafting over as I write this. Katz’s is an institution. It’s always been there. Since 1888. This was where the Jews were. Where many came first when they came to America. The shells of old synagogues are around every few blocks around here. My family came from Russia and Poland and migrated to different parts of New Jersey. Katz’s, Russ and Daughters and Yonah Schimmel’s Knishes are what remain here of the food. The same foods that have been eaten for generations. Obviously, you can’t eat that stuff every day but it is nice every once and while to have a few bites of the history of the Jews in America. A sandwich is a time machine. Connective tissue.

When I was younger all I wanted to be was an old Jewish man. It’s happening. I’m not the kind I wanted to be but I am my own kind. Most of the ones I wanted to be were comedians of a certain type. I am my own type. It’s happening naturally!

There’s something ingrained in me, almost genetically, about deli food. I was a Deli Man, briefly, when I was in college in Boston. I worked the counter at the last real Jewish deli in Boston. West Roxbury, Gordon’s Deli. I was pretending to be an old Deli Man Jew. I was maybe 19.

It has an allure that was maybe planted in me when I was about eight or ten. I was visiting my grandparents on my father’s side, Ben and Eleanor. My grandfather decided he needed some tongue, the meat. I remember it was night. He decided to make a Katz’s run. I certainly know what it’s like to have a craving and follow through with it. Never for brined tongue but I know the need is genetic. I just remember driving into the city to Katz's, which was at least a half hour run, and walking into that place with my grandfather. He got the meat, some pickles, Dr. Brown soda and we got back in the car and drove back to Jersey with the goods. Tongue is an acquired taste, mostly because its tongue. It’s good. Specific kind of fatty. Center cut, not the tip. I sliced it at Gordon’s.

I was walking down the street here the other day and some guy runs out of Katz’s. He works there. Stops me in the street to tell me he’s a big fan and he has a podcast about being a drug addict called Dopey. Wants me to do it. I waffled. He told me he’d get me breakfast if I came in the next morning. Lox, eggs and onions. Hard to turn down. I went. He served me that, some pickles, sour tomato, a little meat plate with pastrami, corned beef and brisket. He’s a good negotiator. Figure I have to do his show. For the addicts and the Jews. A mitzvah.

Today on the show I talk to a great comedian, Rita Rudner. On Thursday I talk to a great comedian’s son, Sandy Hackett (Buddy’s kid). Good talks!
 

Enjoy! 


Boomer lives!

Love,

Maron

Humans.

Hey, People!

My heart goes out to everyone feeling the heartbreaking weight of what is becoming of our culture and country. Our president is leader of several American terrorist organizations whether he claims to be or not. Some only have one member.

Shitty week last week for decent, caring humans. For horrible, shitty people I guess it was an exciting week. How many of those horrible, shitty people are there, really? More than we thought. I guess it’s good that we can see them all now. Encouraged shamelessness brings them out of their holes. The problem is, they may never go back in.

Vote. Maybe that will work. It won’t solve it but it will at the very least make us feel like there may be hope for the system.

I’ve been on the set of the Joker movie all week. The first day I was to work on my scene with Robert De Niro was the day they found a bomb at his restaurant. I was driving into Brooklyn and the Teamster driving me was the one who gave me the news. We didn’t know whether or not he was going to come in but we hadn’t heard anything else so we drove to the studio. De Niro was there already. He was dealing with it in his trailer, on the phone. When he came out to set he wasn’t flustered or distracted. He had resolve. We talked about it a bit as we got comfortable with each other in between takes. I don’t want to say what we talked about because he doesn’t talk much publicly, or with me, really. So, I don’t want to give anyone anything that he wouldn’t want to give them himself. Respect.

It was a horrible day and a great day. We talked about Johnny Carson, Ray Liotta, and Scorsese a bit. Not a lot. A little. Just making small talk between takes. I think I did ok. It all happened so fast. I didn’t really say much to Joaquin. I did not feel like it was my place. He was in it. There was a bug light intensity around him and I didn’t want to be a bug.

I’m here for another week. I’m not doing much on set now other than standing there in character and watching Phoenix and De Niro do take after take but it’s a learning experience. It’s also exciting to see them as just people doing their job. One thing show business is doing to me, at least my small part in it, is ruining my ability to keep anyone up on a pedestal. I guess that’s good. Humans.

Today I talk to human being Zoe Kazan about the film she and Paul Dano wrote and produced called Wildlife. I talk to her about growing up in the biz a bit and her evolution as an artist. On Thursday I talk to The Who frontman Roger Daltrey about being Roger Daltrey, one of Rock’s archetypal performers. Great talks.
 

Enjoy! 


Boomer lives!

Love,

Maron

The Pros.

Rock, Folks.

It happened and I can’t say that I was that nervous.

I guess when you’ve spent more than half your life taking the stage in all situations whether or not you have a guitar strapped around your neck doesn’t matter that much. Being on stage is being on stage. The expectations are different and that made me nervous but I was comfortable up there.

I hosted the benefit show for The Blues Foundation and The Americana Music Association. As some of you know I had the opportunity to sit in with the band lead by Jimmy Vivino. We did an old Bluesbreakers tune called ‘Steppin' Out.' I had done a few bars of it on Conan with the band but this was different. We did the whole song and Slash sat in as well. Me, Slash and Jimmy. I talked to Slash on the podcast a little while ago. Great guy. He knew I played guitar but I don’t think he registered me as a ‘guitar player.’ I was just a guy who plays guitar. I mean, who doesn’t at some point. When we rehearsed the tune a few days before the show I did alright. Slash texted me that I sounded good. That was amazing. Of course, I didn’t believe it because I’m me and I never think I’m good enough. At guitar. Some things I know I’m good at. I mean, I’m 55. I can’t think I suck at everything. That would be annoying to me and everyone else.

I know I am not a professional musician. I do know I can play a few things pretty well. I practice. The thing I always seem to learn over and over when I am around real musicians is they have committed their lives to a magical art. I am always amazed and excited at how consistently they nail songs and take you on that journey. I play to play. Not to do the job. I practiced for the song. I didn’t just play. I ran it. My fingers hurt by the time I got to the show. I did my hosting job for a bit and when it was my turn I took the stage with my guitar strapped on and brought out Slash and we all laid into it. I wasn’t freaked out. I just wanted to play well. To nail it. One take. Like a pro. The great thing about playing with great musicians when you are not one is that you have a little room to be clunky. They’ll carry you. It’s not on you. I thought I was a little clunky in parts but it sounded great. I was happy with my playing. It was pretty fucking cool to be standing there trading riffs with Jimmy and Slash. I don’t really have a bucket list but that was certainly something I didn’t ever think would happen in my life and it did and I am grateful and excited to have done it. I want to do it more. Don’t worry. I’m not starting a band but I want to get better. I don’t want to be a pro but I’d like to sit in with pros on occasion. It’s just fun as hell.

Watching everyone that night was just mind blowing. Larkin Poe. Lucinda Williams. Shemekia Copeland. Tash Neal. Leigh Anne Womack. Joe Louis Walker. Doyle Bramhall II. Tal Wilkenfeld. John Prine. Spectacular.

And Bob fucking Weir. He broke it open into that space that only the Dead can create. He’s a portal into the space the Dead created and he keeps it open. It was beautiful to watch and listen to.

Unforgettable night all around.

Today I talk to John Cleese. We recorded it a while ago in a studio before I got the new garage set up. Thursday, I talk to Eric Idle. Python week. Great talks.
 

Enjoy! 


Boomer lives!

Love,

Maron

Opening Up.

Hola, Amigos and Amigas! 

How are you? Holding up?

I have to say I’m always a bit hesitant about performing in Phoenix because of… Arizona. I love Arizona as a geographical place. I’ve been going there for years. Not just to perform but I have family there. Sometimes I just can’t wrap my brain around the people. Politically. I FORGET that there are DECENT people everywhere in this country. Rational, good hearted, concerned, properly informed folks. They may be surrounded by bamboozled wrong-minded hostile morons but they live their lives and fight the good fight.

It’s not that politics should define what I think of a place but at this juncture in history I can’t keep silent. I know what I am saying about the current situation is funny but funny is subjective. I can deal with outbursts of intolerance and I usually can make it funny or, at the very least, disarm the situation but, beyond a certain point, babysitting adult children of wrong-minded beliefs is a draining bummer for grownups who can listen and enjoy without making it about them while I am being paid to make it about me.

That said, there was an amazing crowd at Standup Live and it was nice to see and meet my Phoenix people. Thanks for coming out if you were there.

My brother lives in Phoenix and it was good to spend a day with him and his son. I don’t see him enough. As I get older I’m realizing its important to see and spend time with family. Whatever was stopping me or making me not prioritize that, i.e. selfishness, is shifting. Whatever reason you may have for not showing up or spending time with your family make sure it’s really worth it because you can’t get time back.

I’m softening as I get older or opening up more or some shit. I think it’s good.

Today on the show I have a very engaged and exciting talk with Busy Philipps. Liked her before I met her. Now I like her more. Which is usually the case. On Thursday I talk to character actor Richard E. Grant. You know him. He’s great. The talk was really good. I like meeting people who you’ve seen as a lot of different people over the years.
 

Enjoy! 


Boomer lives!

Love,

Maron

We're All We Got.

People!

Rise up! Or, don’t fall into a massive depression, give up and not get out of bed. If you can’t handle that, at the very least, set your alarm to wake up and vote on Nov. 6th. Maybe even get up and about on Nov. 5th in case you have muscle atrophy.

It’s hard when bullies and douchebags keep winning. Makes you feel like there’s no justice in the world. There very well may not be. We do know that everyone dies. Cold comfort. I would just prefer it not be at the same time at the hand of a sociopath or because we just let it all slip away slowly. Being complacent or detached from what is happening is not the way to go.

Bullies with power push vulnerable, rational, righteous and decent people to a breaking point. When they break and lose it in anger the bullies laugh and laugh at the raw pain of emotions. There is no shame in losing it. Anger is the proper response. They will gloat and keep bullying and pushing from all sides in hopes we crumble into ourselves in a hopeless depression and/or until we start taking it out on each other.

I did a couple of shows last week at Dynasty Typewriter. They were intimate shows. Thursday’s show was an amazing improvisational riff night. I got a lot of work done on bits and stories I’ve been working on. The audience was engaged and connected and gave me freedom of mind. On Saturday night it was different.

As many of you already know, the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court was itself an assault on women and on the integrity of the court and our constitutional standards. The emotional, spiritual, psychological and political assault on women is really at the center of it. All women. The women who support him are doing something else with their trauma. It was probably already there in a ‘Daddy knows best’ kind of way. Or a ‘Daddy was mad all the time, now I’m like him because I don’t want to make him mad' Laura Ingraham-ish kind of way. They aren’t my immediate concern. It was also an assault on progressive men and people without power in a general sense.

While I was waiting to go on stage Saturday, the day of his confirmation, I could sense a very specific quality to the laughter that my opening act, Ryan Singer, was getting. I had heard it before. It was traumatized, desperate, scared laughter. The only other time I have heard it was working in NYC the weeks and months after 9/11.

People come not to lose themselves or for distraction but for some kind of relief. A human interaction that could provide a little release of the toxic reality that has infused us. It is laughter that comes in explosive, clipped outbursts that recede quickly. It was painful but the show was great and I expressed my sadness and hopelessness in the moment and we moved through it together with humor.

The fact is, political shifts towards dictatorship, authoritarianism, tyranny, and fascism have all happened in many countries all around us, all the time. We just thought we were the exception. Why wouldn’t we? This is America. I guess we took too much for granted. It’s here. Now.

I know I feel heavy-hearted and angry and powerless. It would be easy to draw inward. Internalize that anger and become paralyzed with depression or defeat, but l wont. We shouldn’t. It is still America. We have lives better than most people anywhere. And we can focus our energy on what we can do, getting other people to step up, speak our minds and fucking vote and help each other. We’re all we got.

Great talk today with Charles Demers. He’s a comic from Canada who has opened for me a few times. He’s sweet, smart guy. He’s also a writer and political activist in Canada and able to speak personally about politics in a way we don’t here. Great talk. On Thursday I talk to musician Kurt Vile. Quirky guy who makes great sounding records. Good talk.
 

Enjoy! 


Boomer lives!

Love,

Maron

A Unifying Magic.


Okay, Folks.

For those keeping up—I might not lose my nail. We’ll see.

Writing the Sunday afternoon. Thought it would be a quiet Sunday morning here as I slowly plod through my Sunday jobs. Recording the intro and ads for today’s show. Writing this. Then I retweeted a political cartoon which stirred up a shitstorm on both sides. It wasn’t even my work. I just thought it was disturbing and powerful. Deep cutting satire that could facilitate mind blowing realizations.  Which apparently it was and did.

I realized that this country doesn’t need to be like Russia to stifle voices though it’s heading that way. It happens almost organically now through troll culture and immediate and available emotional reaction portals. Faceless and nameless vigilante mobs and chaotic reactionary clusterfucking. Why say anything? Why not just walk with your head down? Not out of fear of Big Brother or the secret police. Just out of fear of the annihilation that comes from social media for having an opinion or liking something provocative. Good times. End Times.

Now I’m listening to Sun Ra which is not relaxing in any way. Its provocative and difficult and challenging and genius. I’ll hang in with it. It’s not supposed to be relaxing. I think it’s supposed to do the opposite. A journey through aggressive creativity.

Speaking of music, I hosted the Silverlake Conservatory of Music benefit again last night. I did it last year because Flea needed someone to do it at the last minute. This year I was in ahead of time and it didn’t freak me out as much. Benefits are kind of tough. You’re performing for people who spent hundreds of dollars to eat, which they are doing while you’re up there. It was good though. Mo Ostin was honored and he spoke about the importance of music education and how music can change the world. Lately I’ve been so cynical I see almost all entertainment as distractions from the urgent crumbling of our culture, country and our environment. I can’t see it saving the world. It can barely raise awareness anymore let alone facilitate actual action because most people just consume and move on in a shark-like manner, swimming away from self.

Then I saw these kids playing all kinds of instruments and singing and realized I would be lost in a sea of darkness if I didn’t have a musical outlet. It’s not about a career or even being good. It’s about appreciating music and the elevating effect it has on the heart and others around. Dancing, swaying, singing along, rocking, drifting, whatever it brings is a celebration of being human with other humans as well as a soul salve for the players and singers as they engage their creativity and expression. It is a unifying magic. So, I was wrong. It can change the world. I used to believe. I didn’t. I do again. Kids.

We’re going to need a lot of soulful fiddlers to hedge the burning.

Today I have an exciting, funny, weird talk with Anna Faris. She brings those things out of me. On Thursday I talk to the amazing Sissy Spacek. Good talks!

Enjoy! 


Boomer lives!

Love,

Maron

The Scary Monster.

Morning, People!

Never a dull moment during this cultural/governmental clusterfuck under the reign of President Fuck You (Dumpster Fire) Shit Magnet. But I hope you are managing your mind and doing what you can and are prepared to stay the course and vote and keep speaking your mind.

Phew. There.

I’m worn out. I got back from Denver today. I did four sold out shows at The Comedy Works there and they were cathartic and, I hope, exciting to witness for all the folks that came down. I have to girder up a bit for Denver because even though my audience comes out it can be a pretty drunky zone. The weed-beer-altitude combo makes a bit of a loopy environment sometimes. And there was a giant craft beer convention in town which I didn’t know about. I walked around the city and it was just filled with doughy, bearded beer nerds ambling around in their brewery tribal alcoholic jerseys. It all turned out well. Great shows. Great crowds and only one drunky problem.

She was fine all the way through the show until literally the last seven minutes of the set when she started wooing after everything I said which, as some of you know, is actually worse than saying shit to me of any kind. Woos are hard to work with. I told her assertively but nicely to stop because I saw her having fun the whole show. She said she would. It was my last bit which requires some space and to build the tension. Right after I told her to stop she did it again immediately and my monster came out. I told her she had to ‘Get the fuck out.’ Assertive, again, but full of the bile that erupts from me in the face of glib drunken belligerence. They asked her to go. I felt bad but I just regrooved back into my bit and it went great. I don’t it like it when the nice audience sees the scary monster but I think they understood and I didn’t let him out for long.

After two shows on Saturday I’m pretty wiped but also amped simultaneously. It’s a good feeling, really. It feels like I did the job. That second show can be work. It’s not that the audience is bad or anything like that. It’s just late and they’re drinking and you have to possess that earned sense of pacing and how to lean in when necessary. I know how do comedy. I do the job. I’m good at the job. I don’t always register that because I’ve been doing it a long time. But to stay in it for an hour and half, take chances, be present, find new things and stay funny and engaged is the job. I’ve worked a lot of years to master it and be at the point where I can enjoy it and still evolve. It’s a good feeling when I let myself have it—being happy and proud of what I do up there.

I’m grateful people appreciate the work.

Today on the show I talk to Joan Jett and a bit to her producer/manager Danny Laguna. It was great to see her and hear her story. It was also something to witness the dynamic between the two of them. It’s funny and sweet. On Thursday, blockbuster producer Gale Ann Hurd talks to me about her journey from Roger Corman’s world to producing things like Terminator and The Walking Dead. Great history.
 

Enjoy! 


Boomer lives!

Love,

Maron

Still a Fan.

People!

“It’s all happening.”

It’s always amazing to me when people find out I’m in the movie ‘Almost Famous.’ I think that’s common knowledge by this point. Particularly because I use the clip of me from the movie in the opening sound montage of WTF. It wasn’t a major part, but I’d like to think it was memorable. It’s a few seconds longer in the director’s cut. Much more substantial.

I thought everything was going to take off for me after that. It did not. That was filmed in 1999.

I guess it’s amazing that I am still in show business when I really think about it. I wasn’t really in show business for most of my career. I was trying to succeed in show business. I was getting by on the margins of show business. It now seems like I am in show business. I still cannot shake the fan part of myself or the awe and excitement I feel when I see certain celebrities. I still see myself as a guy who does comedy and has a little following and I talk to people in my garage.

I went to the Netflix Emmy party last night. I am in an Emmy-nominated show. GLOW. You know that. I had a few realizations at that party.

I realized that I am, indeed, in show business.

I realized that I don’t really feel like I am most of the time. I didn’t take a limo to the party. I could’ve. I drove AND parked on the street. It’s just easier to me. 

I realized that I am still a fan and I get excited to see certain people and nervous to meet them if I even can. As we were walking up to the party I ran into Carol Kane and Diane Keaton. I had met Carol before. We did a movie together. I had never met Diane Keaton before and I couldn’t really believe I was. She knew who I was! I asked her to be on the show. She said, “Why? What would I talk about.” So, I don’t think that’s happening.

In the party I spent about 20 minutes trying to figure out the right moment to introduce myself to Jeffrey Wright. I did finally. Apparently, all I had to say was “I love your work. Great job.”

I got very excited to see Jodie Foster there. Could not get the nerve to introduce myself.

I met Tina Fey for the first time. Asked her to be on the show. She said, “I’m around.” We’ve tried before. We’ll see.

Met Hannah Gadsby for the second time and for the second time asked her to be on the show. She said she wants to. She wrote my number down in a pad she had. We’ll see.

Said hi to Lorne Michaels. Talked for about 45 seconds. We had a laugh. I walked away. Seemed like the right amount of time.

Had some laughs with Norman Lear.

Made Leslie Jones laugh.

Finally ended up hanging out a bit with Jason Mantzoukas and Nick Kroll. We had a lot of laughs. I like hanging out with the funny people. Then…

I thought, ‘Where are all the guys I came up with?’ And I realized that the ones that made it already had their time. They may still be around, working, but they had their breaks and their high points in their careers years ago. I saw it happen. I resented it, usually. Now is my time. If you are lucky enough to have a ‘time’ you just have to work as hard as you can before that window closes.

Most of the people from the world of comedy who I see at parties are at least ten years younger than me. I’m like that uncle they think is cool, or maybe their parents' funny friend.

I also realized I’m grateful to be doing what I want to be doing and earning a living and known by and friends with such talented, funny fucking people.

Today on the show I talk to Kristen Bell. The conversation happens after I made her lunch with some leftovers I had because she was starving. Felt like we’d been friends for years. On Thursday I have a great talk with Slash. Lot of guitar talk. Great guy.

Enjoy! 

Boomer lives!

Love,

Maron

I Came In Hot.

Hello, Folks!

L’Shana Tova, Jews! Happy 5779!

How are you all holding up? I miss Minnesota already. I was just there. The weather was perfect. What a relief to be in the nice cool breeze of the Midwest. What a relief to be on the road.

It’s almost impossible to clear my head when I’m home. There’s always something to do. Something coming at me and when there isn’t, I find something. I guess it’s just my nature or maybe it’s just the nature of being self-employed and basically having three or four jobs. Podcast, standup, writing and acting. Shit never stops. I’m not complaining because I love the work but I can’t get a break. Because if I have an hour-and-a-half of free time each day there’s still a ton of routine maintenance and house shit and errands and food stuff to do. So, getting out on the road gets me some space. Physically and mentally.

That’s not always great either. My mind can get pretty out there, but then I reel it all in and see what’s at the end of the hooks and fillet those monsters on stage.

The crowds in Minneapolis are great. Smart people, cultured people, polite people, sweetly passive-aggressive people. I’m sure there are plenty of assholes there but I think they are polite.

I’ve been aggro, short-fused, ready to pounce for a week or so. Not sure what is going on. Maybe I just feel over-extended. When I got to Minneapolis I just wanted to get my room set up and lock in, relax, write, think. I came in hot. Told the guy at check in I wanted a water kettle so I can make my tea in the room. He said they didn’t have one. I thought, what kind of upscale hotel doesn’t have one? I don’t always stay at upscale places but lately I’ve realized that I have no wife or kids and I’m not sure why I’m not spending money on nice things. It pissed me off that they didn’t have one. I told him they should get one, they’re cheap. He said it wasn’t his job, basically. That just pissed me off. So, after I checked in, I walked to Target and bought one. Fifteen bucks. I stomped back to the hotel with it under my arm, not in a bag, to make a point. I was so ready to just righteously, aggressively but causally, go in there, tell him it was cheap and they could keep it. I had even planned to tweet a pic of it and tag the hotel with some snotty, snarky bullshit remark. I had my cause.

It's sad when the world is out of control and scary that the battles we chose to fight can be stupid and petty just to feel like we have control of something, anything.

I got back and he was gone. A pregnant woman was now behind the counter. She saw me walk in, steamed, carrying the box, and she said, 'Oh you bought one. I found you one. It’s in your room.’ Defeated and humbled I say, ‘Thanks.’ Then the killer line. She says, ‘I can return that for you.’ It was perfect. Polite and annihilating. Masterful passive-aggression but genuine. She would’ve done it. I said, ‘Nah, I’ll do it tomorrow.’

I was in Minnesota for 24-hours and I had been to Target twice and returned something. That’s the life I’m living. 

I need to be humbled a bit. Taken down a notch. It grounded me. Got me level for the shows.

Thanks for coming out Minneapolis.

Today I talk to Billy Eichner about how he became Billy Eichner. On Thursday I talk to comic/writer Adam Cayton-Holland about his memoir which moves through his sister's suicide. Heavy but also funny and sweet. Good talks.

Enjoy! 

Boomer lives!

Love,

Maron

Nice and Slow.

People! 

Back home for a minute. I’ve been out there doing the road jester thing pretty hard the last few weeks. I’ll be doing it for few weeks more. It’s good. I like the time away sometimes. There’s something about being in a hotel room in a strange town that is relaxing.

I was in Bloomington, Indiana. That town is not strange to me. I’ve been going there for years. It is a strange town in general, though. I’ve never been able to quite figure out why but it is. Something weird always happens when I’m there. Not this time, though. It might be me. I think I'm less of a magnet for weirdness than I used to be. I’m a bit more grounded. I think if you exude the weird, needy vibe, the weirdness will come try to fill it.

I had a very productive, relaxing time there. I got work done. Big work. Did the thinking. I wandered around scribbling the thoughts in my notebook. Stopping on sidewalks and parking lots when they were being delivered. I finally got some reading done. Just the act of sitting and reading. I read almost an entire Baffler which is not light fair generally. Great magazine. Just thinky. I locked in though. Felt good to put new ideas in the head. It lights up my creativity. Spreads my mind out. I also have an advance copy of the new Sam Lypsite book ‘Hark.’ It's fucking hilarious. Very excited for him. He’s my pal.

I had no car there so I was just walking around in heat and rain. Smoking cigars. Thinking. Processing. Pulling things together for the shows I was doing at night. I would push my brain pretty far out there and try and hold it out there and get on stage in that place. Riffage. I’ve been to the Comedy Attic many times. I can’t quite explain why but for me it’s a magic space. It’s a tight little room and I can one-brain it on a good night. Get into the deep groove. No filter. No second guessing. People come there from miles around, literally. Fans were there from Detroit, St. Louis, San Diego, Chicago, Cincinnati, Philly. One guy was seeing me for the 11th time. He brought his kid who was finally old enough to come to the show. It’s crazy. Very humbling. Some of them know though. They know that’s where shit happens. A small, tight room. Best kind of space to do real club comedy. The deep stuff. Taking the risks.

The crowds are amazing. It feels like I’m visiting friends I haven’t seen in while when I work there.

It’s a totally different pace there. It’s nice and slow. I napped, ran, went to a local gym in a corrugated steel structure. Walked back and forth to the Kroger to stock up my mini fridge with shit I can eat. I ate good food at The Farm. Bought some wax at Landlocked Records. It’s nice knowing a town a bit. How to do it.

Today I talk to a behind-the-scenes guy. Dan Schlissel has been running Standup Records for years. He’s put out two of my CDs and re-issued another. He’s recorded so many great comics. Today he talks to me. On Thursday I talk to guy who was in a great band back in the day, The Beatles. I was able to talk to Paul McCartney at a Capitol Records event in front of a crowd that didn’t know he was the surprise guest. The deal was I’d do it if we could release it as a podcast. So, dig that on Thursday. Great talks!

Enjoy! 

Boomer lives!

Love,

Maron

That Guy.

Hola, People!

How’s it going? I’m okay. I’m all strung out on cigars again but I guess there are worse things. I can kick any time. Tomorrow.

It’s just that I have a porch now. I love sitting on the porch. I’m sitting here now writing this. Cigars and porches kind of go together. Cigars, porches and never-ending nicotine addiction all go together. Beers and summer cocktails go with porches too. That’s not an option for me. I guess just sitting here with an iced tea would be good. I do that too. With a cigar. Sometimes. Goddammit.

Some housekeeping—I’ll be on Conan tonight. I believe it is a full-on comedian show. My pal Dean Delray will be making his television debut doing standup and I think Bert Kreischer is the other guest on panel. He’ll be on WTF on Thursday too. My Bloomington shows and Minneapolis shows are sold out but I believe there are still tickets for The Denver Comedy Works, September 21-22 and Standup Live in Phoenix. There are still seats for the big show at The Beacon in NYC for the NYC Comedy Fest in November on Nov. 10. Please go to the festival site for tickets before you complain that $1000 is too much for a seat because you went to a scalper site and didn’t realize it. Pay attention, people.

I had an amazing time shooting in Chicago. Love that city. It will be the last time I play Jacob Malco in Joe Swanberg’s Netflix show ‘Easy.’ I worked with Jane Adams again. She’s always amazing. We went deeper this time than the other two episodes we did together. I also do a scene with Melanie Lynskey who is one of the best actors ever. It’s all improvised, so the entire process is one of discovery. It was profound stuff.

Also, I like to keep you up to speed on some of my personal life. I’m sure you sometimes wonder if I ever become friends with people who I interview. Most of the time it’s a one-time thing and I don’t know the people before and I don’t really follow up. There are some people who I really hit it off with and I still don’t follow up. I’m a professional and I don’t want to be a pest or ‘that guy’ from the podcast reaching out. But… I knew Tracy Letts lived in Chicago so I asked him if he would have some deep dish with me and we did it. It was a blast. Love that guy. Good hang. Lou Malnati’s. He was skeptical at first because it’s sort of a tourist joint but they nail that pie. Had some laughs over a Classic—double cheese and sausage.

Today I talk to Jo Koy. I’ve known about him for years but only met him recently. He’s a worker. Real road comic. Good talk. On Thursday I talk to comic Ian Bagg. I’ve known him for years, just seeing him around. Since back in the day in NYC. Got to know him too. Also, Bert Kreischer and talk-jam on that episode. Great shows!

Enjoy! 

Boomer lives!

Love,

Maron

Gritty.

What’s up, Folks?

How’s it going. I’m okay. I’m in Chicago. I love Chicago. Gritty people here who give zero fucks about their health, it seems. I like that though. It’s commitment.

I just took a walk along the water and there is some kind of massive air show going on. This was the second day of it. When I got here I went up to my room at the hotel, eighteen floors up, and saw a profoundly menacing jet rocketing along the edge of the lake, way too low. Sadly, my first assumption wasn’t ‘air show.’ It was ‘uh oh.’ I guess I operate at that level of fear and panic that some kind of military action could just unleash at any moment. And, sadly again, I would assume that it would be our own military attacking our own city. I know, crazy, right? Could never happen. Right? I was thinking this is how the president is showing his dissatisfaction with the Chicago police. Strafing the South Side. Crazy, though. Right?

It was interesting to see the thousands of people lakeside watching planes and jets do tricks. All kinds of people. It seemed like every ethnicity was represented. Every size and shape of human showed up. All types of food were being grilled on many types of grilling apparatus. People brought chairs and tents. It was messy, gritty, half-nude and sweaty. Just relaxing and watching the gutted menace of jets with no agenda other than to entertain. I jogged past all these people of all kinds half giving a shit about the planes, out for a day in the sun on the beach. I wondered what the contrast would be between this crowd and whoever would show up at the military parade that the president wanted but couldn’t have just yet. Because what I was jogging past, in all its sweaty diverse beauty, was what America looks like. I can’t imagine that an audience for a military parade assembled by this president would look like what America looks like. I assume it would look like a nationalistic aspiration of intolerance and dominance by a narrow ideological swath of a minority of this country. Angry monsters who failed the test of tolerance out of a core fear of the other and submersion in paranoiac mythology.

Anyway, it’s nice here in Chicago. Weather is great.

I’m not entirely out from under my own reading of the eschatological signs that I make up. The water creeping up. The skies full of smoke. The land burning. The bees dying. The explosion of ticks and lizards. Coyotes out during the day. The new nature. Just the scary things will remain. I talked to my mother the other day and she got off the phone by saying, ‘I have to go feed my Iguanas.’ It wasn’t code. My mother doesn’t own iguanas. My mother is not losing it. After a little research I found the there is a massive Iguana problem in South Florida and I guess my mother is just helping it along. It’s my favorite end times tableau to date. My weird mother out in back of her house feeding dinosaurs. Hail Satan.

Today I talk to the eclectic and country Shooter Jennings about experimenting with music, country western and his dad Waylon. Also, a little chat with Rob Riggle today. On Thursday Belly’s Tanya Donelly and I catch up after 30 or so years. We worked at a restaurant in Boston together back in the day. The new Belly album is great. Also a little bit of Jason Bateman on Thursday too. Good talks!

Enjoy! 

Boomer lives!

Love,

Maron