Hoping and Doing.

Sad, People.

My new little guy, Buster Kitten, is really sick.

It came out of nowhere. He was throwing up the other day. That happens when you have cats. I brought him in before for the puking and the vet didn’t find anything. I thought it would be the same this time. It wasn’t. 

I took him in the next day. The vet did some blood tests and came out and told me that Buster was in kidney failure. It was devastating. The cat is only 2 ½. I’ve been through a lot of shit with many different cats. It’s just so sad. I have no idea what caused it. It could be an infection, a toxin, cancer, congenital. I had to take him to the animal hospital and he’s been in the ICU over there for two days now. Getting fluid, antibiotics and care. He has energy and is peeing but he’s not really eating and his kidney numbers aren’t getting better. I’m getting an ultrasound for him tomorrow. Maybe we can get a few more answers. Maybe its treatable. Maybe things will turn around. I was blaming myself. Maybe I left something around that he ate and poisoned himself. Maybe I should’ve brought him in earlier. I guess that’s what some of us do. Blame ourselves. I don’t think I had any control over what happened. I just hope he gets better. 

I know people say that cats to cat people are like their kids. They aren’t quite but for those of us who aren’t great at relationships with people all the time and/or don’t have kids, our pets are what we can handle and emotionally manage. I’ve never really felt bad about not having kids. I know in my heart that I’m not cut out for it. Emotionally. For me, my cats are caring, emotional relationships I can handle and manage. There’s a consistency to it. They don’t grow up to be doctors or make millions of dollars but they are there, relatively steady, individual in personality, loving enough—consistent. My relationship with my two old cats Monkey and LaFonda is the longest I’ve ever had. We all understand each other and show up for each other in the ways we can and it’s good. It’s not sad. 

All that being said, I really hope Buster makes it. He’s a unique cat. I love the guy. I understand the limitations of the relationship and I’m doing all I can to see if I can help him.

Today I talk the lovely Tony Shahloub about his career and the new season of Mrs. Maisel. Sweet guy. On Thursday I talk to Yeardley Smith who is the voice of Lisa on The Simpsons. We talk about her interesting life and career. I also reveal a surprise guest appearance on my show and on another show that I was part of. Great stuff all around.

Enjoy!

Buster, live!


Love,

Maron

A Close Call.

I believe, People!

Thankfully, I let the truth disassemble and crush those beliefs as soon as possible. Sometimes it takes longer than I like. 

A little business up front here. The Dynasty Typewriter residency here in LA this month is mostly sold out. So, if you want tickets you better grab them. Same with the UK and Ireland dates in April. Get on them, if you want them. All ticket links at wtfpod.com/tour.

Back to the power of belief. I am always amazed at some people’s commitment to their beliefs over fact. Obviously, the line between fact and fiction is being intentionally blurred by the many brain-fuck machines engaged in the current agitprop insemination of the grey matter of angry lost ones. Beliefs are satisfying. Why not cling to them? They make sense of things that are complicated without having to deal with annoying facts and process. 

Without getting political, I try to assess how things happen from my own vantage point. From my own experience. It’s the only way I can understand things most of the time. It’s how I engage my empathy. I had an experience with some wild steelhead trout that I’m a bit hung up on. 

I bought a pound of the fish. I pan sautéed half of it the day I got it. It was amazing. A couple of days later I was looking forward to eating the other half. I spent the whole day thinking about cooking it up. It was actually all I had in the fridge for a protein for dinner. When I got home I pulled the fish out of the fridge and unwrapped it. I was heating up the pan simultaneously. Now, steelhead is the color of salmon. This piece had a definite grey spot on it. I was looking at it and, in my mind, I thought that’s probably a normal discoloring. I just didn’t notice it. Or it was fat. Yeah, that must be it, fat. There was also a spot of something on it that looked like it had grown there. Somehow in my mind it was a blemish. Natural thing. I smelled it. Smelled okay. The point was I wanted to believe it was fine. I mean, there was no way it was fine but, in that moment, I was bending this rancid piece of fish into something that was going be good and tasty. 

I put the slab of fish into the pan and I actually sliced off the weird spot. It’s fish, NOT CHEESE. What the fuck was I thinking? And I cooked that thing all the way through, plated it, took a bite and I immediately spit it out because it was nasty as fuck. It was bad from the beginning but I wanted to believe, despite what I saw with my own two eyes. That’s a little scary. I could’ve eaten it, gotten some horrible food borne illness, then a fever that gave me brain damage and within a few weeks I’d be a believer in the ‘Pizzagate’ conspiracy.

Dodged a bullet. 

Great week of talks. Today I talk to hip hop artist Anderson .Paak. I didn’t know much about him other than I once was hosting a show he was on an I brought him on stage as Andrew Paak. I felt bad about that. I listened to almost all his stuff and it’s great. It’s a really good talk. On Thursday I talk to director Yorgos Lanthimos about all his films including his latest, The Favourite. Good week.
 

Enjoy! 


Boomer lives!

Love,

Maron

Turning a Corner.

People!
 
Winning? Overrated. 
 
Who doesn’t want to win? I guess. 
 
I’m just not always sure what game we are playing. I mean, if you are actually playing a game with rules and a context, that is different. If it’s not established that we are in a game other than staying alive and trying to be decent humans you have to decide what you are competing for and why. It’s probably mostly bullshit. Bored, bitter, shitty people are constantly trying to pit people against each other. To frame your journey through life as winning or losing is empty and shallow and to pit people against each other for kicks is craven. Hard not to judge yourself against others but it’s kind of a waste of time. You’re probably just using what you see as other people’s success as a bat to beat your yourself with. Avoid the bat boys. 
 
If you’re okay with yourself and you try to be better at the things that maybe only you know are struggles to be better, that’s winning. 
 
Okay, enough self-help. 

I’ve posted some UK and Ireland dates in April at wtfpod.com/tour. Come see me. 
 
I’ve had a couple breakthroughs. Don’t get crazy. Nothing that major. I realized that sometimes I immediately overreact and then panic about things I am confronted with which leads me to make reactive and not great decisions without really understanding what is necessary. I need to stop that. (I guess self-help time wasn’t over.)
 
The other breakthrough is that I may be turning a corner on Steely Dan. Those of you who have listened to the show for a while know that I’ve been pretty dead set in my aversion to Steely Dan. Mostly because it’s some of the only music I’ve listened to that is actually tonally condescending. Seems to be produced that way. I couldn’t get past all that. And I couldn’t stand the never-ending fawning of Steely Dan acolytes who are also tonally condescending. I’m having a change of heart because I recently just, all of sudden, heard them differently.
 
I went to see Tracy Letts’ new play Linda Vista here in LA at the Mark Taper Forum. It’s a great piece of work. Funny, raw, challenging but not in a snobby way, relatable and current. It deals with relationships, selfishness, men and women, youth and age, bitterness, joy, defeat, delusion, honesty, America, sex… it’s all there AND there’s tasteful aggressive nudity, too. Go see it. Great shit. Anyway, the main character likes Steely Dan and some of their music was played during set changes. I don’t know if it was how I related to the character or the sound system or just time but I heard Pretzel Logic in a way I hadn’t before—as a blues song. It opened the portal. I’m not going to convert but I appreciate it a little more now. I came home and listened to it differently. 
 
Today on the show I talk to the truly amazing Allison Janney. I’m am so glad she decided to do the show. Love her. On Thursday we navigate the darkness with writer Allan MacDonell and talk about his new book Now that I’m Gone. We talk drugs, LA, punk rock, death, the slow grind of life and what makes it worth living, kind of. Great talks. 
 

Enjoy! 


Boomer lives!

Love,

Maron

Changes and Choices.

Hello, People


I’m losing my mind. You?

I’ve gotten myself all strung out again. Nicotine lozenges and about a gallon of black tea a day. I’m sitting around wondering why I’m so anxious and jacked up all the time. Aggravated. I just refuse to acknowledge what’s causing it. Like being a caffeine and nicotine sponge that I have to keep soaked all day, every day would have anything to do with my mental disposition. Nah. Must be the world, the weather, the amount of work I have to do. That’s the beautiful denial mind in the addict head. Anything to protect my desire to stay jacked.

Why keep doing it if its clearly uncomfortable? Well, I guess it’s the consistency. The habit. The ritual. The festering then the relief. The getting well. Earning that by needing the stuff.

Damnit. Round and round. Patterns of life. The widening gyre.  Circling the drain and I’m the drain. The hole.

Do we really change? Can we really change? I think yes. Eventually we get tired. Tired of repetition, tired from age, tired from the distractions and eventually something gives or we give up. Then we change. Or we just don’t do things anymore. We stop ourselves from taking the action, saying the thing, making the face, we stifle ourselves. That’s a learned thing. Its called behaving. So, you can change by knowing your choices and making the right one, but that can get exhausting too. Indecision. Back to giving up. The letting go.

The longer you live the clearer it becomes that change is sometimes gradual and it has nothing to do with anything but age and being humbled by time. Which is good. Conserve that energy for the last few laps.

Today on the show I talk to Aaron Sorkin and we didn’t talk as fast as I thought was expected. On Thursday me and Brad Garrett do the comic talk thing. Good times. Good talks.

Enjoy! 


Boomer lives!

Love,

Maron

Brain Sparks.

Hola, People!

Hope all is well by you. Everything is okay over here. Processing information. We are all information processors and repositories and dumpsters and sieves.

‘You have a brain like a sieve,' my mom would say to me.

Maybe I do. Maybe all the good stuff just flows through and is forgotten and I’m left with the sediment and chaff and boney bits. The good stuff. The stuff that sticks. The stuff you want sift through. The answers.

What the fuck am I talking about? Dunno. Just followed the thought and that was what was left. See, my mom was right.

Sarah Cain the painter had a big opening the other night here in LA at Honor Fraser Gallery and I have to say it was some of her best work ever. Big, colorful canvases, smaller pieces, a stained-glass piece and a massive painted floor. The art world is like another planet to me. Visual artists of her ilk open their brains and hearts and put it on a wall in a pure articulated form, open to interpretation, and it attaches to something primal in the looker, yet touches all the memories and thoughts and sparks them up a bit. It flowed out in movements and colors and objects that give the sediment in our brains spark again. Reconnects the husks of feelings with a little life, a bit of spirit, some soul. As you walk away from it, it settles back but differently. Reconfigured. Loosened. Malleable.

Fuck the wall.

I propose a hedge. Build a hedge. Build a hedge. The wall is an expensive, daunting, hideous and medieval plan. How about a nice eight-to-ten-foot, well-manicured, thorny hedge with some cameras here and there? That would be deterrent enough and create some gardening jobs and save some bread that can be used for making the country better in tangible ways like education, infrastructure, and health care.

The hedge.

Today on the show I talk to comedian Howie Mandel. You can think what you want about old Howie but he is a show biz survivor. Huge star to has-been to different kind of huge star. You never really know how a career in show biz will pan out, if at all. On Thursday I talk to  Linda Cardellini. She’s a great actress and oddly intense in a very charming way. Great talks.
 

Enjoy! 


Boomer lives!

Love,

Maron

Optimism.

Back to work, People!

Sorry. Maybe some of you have been working all the way through. I know a few people are going back today. Kinda sucks, but it’s kinda good. I go crazy with too much time to thinky. Also, my heart goes to all you folks who the President is denying a living because he’s a big baby tyrant and doesn’t know how to do his job. We’ll all get through it…maybe. Geez, we’re seven days in and I’m already back to the same old, same old terrified cynicism. Sorry. I’ll perk up. Yay! New year.

The best thing that could happen is that he finds the money somewhere for his wall but not enough and his legacy is this big, dumb half a wall or a third of wall. For generations it stands a monument unintentionally honoring Trumpian incompetence. People travel to see it and laugh and laugh and talk about how the country turned on him and he resigned and died in prison. Then they walk back and forth over the border a few times celebrating a diverse America. See! Optimism.

I joined a gym. I belonged to the YMCA but I hadn’t been going. For like two years. Sarah used it sometimes. I did not. I’ve been going to a smaller training gym. Now, I have a nice gym right down the street and now I have to go. It’s weird. I didn’t feel bad about not going to the Y and still paying. I guess I figured it was a Y, the money had to be helping somehow. I will feel bad if I don’t go to this gym. So, I’ve been there twice already this last week. New gyms are always odd. Figuring out where everything is. What kind of people are there. This one has a steam room. Figuring out what’s going on there. Is it on the level? Is there a time of day that maybe it’s not just for steaming? Maybe not everyone has that concern. I did live in NYC for many years. You don’t want to interrupt a party that you didn’t know was going on or be sucked into one (I know what I did there) that you don’t want to be at. If that’s not your thing. Not judging, just trying to get the lay of the land. Seems on the level.

I do feel better lately. Been keeping the eating under control and exercising a lot and I feel almost good about myself. Weird how that works. It won’t last. Wait. Damn. Yay! New year.

I’m very excited about the show this week. Today I talk to Steve Coogan who is a comedic genius. And I have to say that this new film Stan and Ollie is beautiful. It was a stunning exploration of characters that we only remember from black and white bits or pictures. Laurel and Hardy were people and Coogan and John C. Reilly both deliver Oscar-level performances embodying these men. It’s a sweet, touching movie about show biz and friendship. On Thursday my friend Sam Lipsyte and I have it out. He’s also a comedic genius. His new novel ‘Hark’ is his best yet. You can preorder it here: https://www.simonandschuster.com/books/Hark/Sam-Lipsyte/9781501146060

It’s a cutting, hilarious book. Really.
 

Enjoy! 


Boomer lives!

Love,

Maron

Happy New Year.

Try not to die tonight! No car crashes, drunk driving, overdoses, alcohol poisoning. Try not to be too close to people involved in any of those activities if possible. Maybe stay at home and reflect a bit. That’s what I usually do. I think I’m getting old. Just be careful, will ya?


I’m sitting here looking out at the Jemez  Mountains from my room in Santa Fe. It’s been a good trip. I head back to LA tomorrow. I like coming back to my home state. It’s a complicated bunch of feelings that come up in me being here. There’s nostalgia and a grounding feeling from the air and space I grew up in but there’s also the reality of time passing. I see it in the city and in the faces of people I knew growing up. I think it’s good to sit in that. Assess where I’m at. What I’m thinking. How do I want to live the rest of my life or, at the very least, the next few days? I like being here. I’d like to be more in line with the space here. Turn down the noise in my head and the noise I fill it with and the noise of the life I have chosen. Seems like those are all areas where choices can make a difference. I have no choice about time passing and whatever that is doing to my heart and mind and body but I can choose how I want to maneuver those things in the future. I guess I’m reflective. Always trying to figure out what’s important. It’s different when you don’t have kids. Probably too much Me Time. Me and cities of dread I’ve built in my head.

I’ve eaten a lot of chile here, both red and green. I’m leaning towards red as I get older. Green was my thing as a younger man. Red seems to be my thing (conscious of not using the word ‘jam’) now. Though I do both when I’m here. Watched a few screeners. Here some quick reviews.

Green Book –  Okay. Satisfying. Not great. Predictable.

A Star is Born – Watched the first 15 minutes. I get it. 
Boy Erased – Great story. Well acted. Efficiently executed. 
Bohemian Rhapsody – About as a good as a biopic can be. Little schlocky. Satisfying.
The Favourite – Mind-bending genius assault that may have lasting a effect on what you are made of.
On the Basis of Sex – Didn’t know the story. Glad I do now. 
Destroyer – Gritty solid depiction of LA. Couldn’t get past Kidman’s wardrobe and make up. She did great though. Didn’t love the story. 
Vice – McKay doesn’t always seem clear on whether he’s making a comedy or drama. Great parts. Acting is solid. 
Mary Queen of Scots – Watched about 15 minutes of the middle of the movie. Seems good for that kind of thing. 

I’ll watch more later.

Oddly, the two films that have moved me the most recently were not ‘up for consideration.’ One was the doc  Eric Clapton: A Life in 12 Bars. I watched it on Showtime. I have always had a bit of inner conflict with how I feel about Clapton. I think he was amazing early on, through Derek and the Dominos but after that, scattered, if not boring. This doc reveals who he is and where he comes from. Struggles public and private. It’s deep and moving. A real recovery movies and a deep look at the blues from a very personal point of view. The other film was a 25 minute doc I saw at The Museum of Indian Arts and Culture here in Santa Fe. It’s called Maria Martinez: Indian Pottery of San Ildefonso. It’s on YouTube too. Blew my mind. The organic process and tradition and authenticity and commitment to history and craft just moved me somehow. Seemed to indicate almost everything we’ve lost and/or destroyed as a culture. Made me want to pull out. Get into the real dirt and out of the dirt dirt of our garbage culture.

It lead me to some of my resolutions. Which I will keep to myself here. I think I said them on the show.

Today I talk to Reinaldo Marcus Green about his film Monsters and Men which is great. On Thursday I talk to Seth MacFarlane about a lot of things. Both great talks.
 

Enjoy! 


Boomer lives!

Love,

Maron

Truth.

Merry, Happy Thing, People!

It’s the holidays for a lot of you. Try to keep it together. Some of you have to deal with people you don’t like that much, again. You know who I’m talking about. Try to be giving. Do some contrary actions. A little resentment fuel kindness might actually ease the tension. I don’t know. Just trying to be helpful.

I’m going to see my dad. I’ve carved out about a three-hour window. Perfect.

I hope you get at least some of what you want in terms of presents. I hope all of your relationships survive the gift giving. Sometimes misreading that can be the beginning of the end. That moment when you give someone close to you that gift you think is perfect and it isn’t received well because you were WRONG. Looking back, being on both sides of that equation, I realized sometimes I bought a gift for who I wanted that person to be. My conception of them. Which doesn’t always match who they are. It’s a very awful and powerful moment. That transaction. ‘Here, love it. Like me. I got you this. Wait, what?’ And I’m not talking about lingerie. Could be a lot of reasons for shitty gifts: not thoughtful; last minute; something you liked; too practical; not practical enough. So, I hope that doesn’t happen and ‘you can return it if you don’t like’ works sometimes.

I have a confession to make. It’s not heavy and only a little revealing and only seven of you will give a shit and judge me for a minute or two. I was watching Casino in the middle of the night the other night and one of the songs on the Scorsese-layered song montage in the background was Howlin Wolf’s ‘I Ain’t Superstitious.’ It was a riff I heard before but for some reason I couldn’t identify who was playing it. I had to find it. Jeff Beck Group. The album is Truth. I have never been that much of a Beck fan although I know he’s great. He just never really moved me but that record is killer. Rod Stewart singing and Beck’s guitar is just out there. It’s 1968. So, that’s it. I’m a 55-year-old man and yesterday was the first time I ever listened to that record. I know, right? Not a big deal. Just feel silly.

Another confession: I can watch almost anything. But I can't watch the scene in Casino where they have the guy’s head in vice. Can’t do it.

There. I have unburdened myself. My heart feels lighter.

Today I talk to Topher Grace about a lot of things. Including playing David Duke in‘BlacKkKlansman. Good dude. On Thursday I talk to comedian Kyle Dunnigan. He always makes me laugh. Great talks.
 

Enjoy! 


Boomer lives!

Love,

Maron

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