If, in the last three or four years, you have happened to see me either at work, cleaning my house or mowing my lawn, you have then also seen an earbud or two in my ear(s). I discovered a few years back that I can curb my incessant need to talk by having something to listen to. Almost every lab I have ever worked for allowed music to be played… not so in the last two labs I have had the pleasure to work in. Eventually I realized I could get away with having one earbud in whilst allowing my other ear to listen for chatter, gossip and destruction if that were to befall me. I began with music… and it helped me to shut up and focus to a certain degree. The only problem with that was I can certainly still chat away and have the music going in the background and although it helped to fill the empty spaces between chats…. I was still talking too much. I then discovered the joy of podcasts. With a podcast, I am focusing on what I am doing, while also having to actively listen as opposed to the passive listening of having music going. Why am I telling you about this? Because I have been wanting to share which podcasts I am listening to and hopefully get some of you to listen in as well. Also, I hope this will get people to stop explaining why I will go deaf if listening to loud music all the time. I’m not listening to music… just some folks talking…. usually.
I thought the first in my “What’s In My Hear Hole Today?” feature would be what has quickly become a favorite of mine… WTF with Marc Maron. This podcast has been getting a lot of attention over the past few months… first a mention in Entertainment Weekly, followed by a large piece in the NY Times and many other publications now picking up on what may be the funniest, most revealing and heart felt podcast available. Marc Maron is a comedian with issues. And he shares his issues… in intimate detail. The format of the show is that he invites a comedian, musician, actor or friend over to his studio (aka his garage, aka the Cat Ranch) for a chat. Somehow or another he gets people to open up. And we are granted a rare and wonderful inside view of what it is to be a comedian or a personality in show business in a way that I don’t imagine we could have seen before. I’m not talking open mike comedians…. I’m talking, Robin Williams, Patrice O’Neil, Patton Oswalt, Henry Rollins (not a comedian obviously), Kevin Smith and many others.
The combination of the highly neurotic and self loathing Maron together with others who share or exceed his issues allows something I don’t think I’ve ever heard… real honesty… or at least the amazing veneer of honesty. In a fabulous episode he talks with Ira Glass of This American Life… to get Ira Glass to talk about his process of what he does is simply enthralling. To hear Maron go on and on about his past drug and alcohol habits, his troubles with women and his two ex wives, his resentment of other comics…. and he will tell these comedians to their faces that in the past he resented them! It’s just revelatory in so many ways.
And in the end…. we feel we get to actually know this man, warts and all. Perhaps he will rub some the wrong way… but if you open yourself up to try to understand another human and what they experience it can be like sitting in a group therapy session and at the end of the hour you may come out feeling better. Even if you didn’t feel bad before… you will feel better for having either shared a laugh or a cry. As a fan, I do feel I know the guy…. and he readily admits this. Since opening himself up, and getting others to do the same, we are granted a fabulous gift of seeing the inner workings of the very people who make us laugh. Even when he’s plugging his WTF blend of coffee and punctuating a sip of said coffee with “wait for it…. POW! I just shit my pants!”… you have to laugh.
Available through iTunes or his website, download the podcast, subscribe and enjoy the twice weekly interviews and occasional live shows and jump on the WTF train.
Wait for it… POW, I just….
Cornelius J. Blahg