DID YOU READ

SXSW 2013: Marc Maron on podcasting, poetry and the joys of having a really invested audience

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As you may have heard, we are bringing comedian and podcaster Marc Maron to the small screen and we couldn’t be more excited. The show, “Maron,” debuts this spring with ten episode all based on Marc’s life and, of course, his successful WTF podcast (which you should just subscribe to already.) Each half hour episode chronicles Marc’s day-to-day struggle to maintain relationships other than the ones with his podcast audience and his beloved trio of cats. “Maron” premieres Friday, May 3 at 10:00pm ET/PT on IFC. We talked to the podcasting legend, author and soon-to-be television star about high school, poetry and what to do when an interview gets away from you.

I put out a call on Twitter for questions for you and for some reason the number one thing people wanted to know was when you were going to propose to your girlfriend. Is it strange having people be so involved in your personal life?

Sometimes it’s very strange, yeah. But I don’t really know what else I would talk about. People knowing that much about my personal life is a little weird, but I try to temper it a little bit. It’s tricky, but …I don’t know when I’m going to propose to my girlfriend. I think they are asking that because I was talking about rings and what not, so I have to go find out what she wants. Apparently that’s the way it’s got to work with this one. Her biggest fear is that I would go out and buy a ring that she doesn’t like. But, yeah, it’s a little bizarre, but I think it’s exciting to have that many people co-dependently involved in your life.

How does your girlfriend feel about the casting of her on the TV show?

She felt alright about it. She saw most of the audition reels and this Nora [Zehetner (Mad Men, Grey’s Anatomy)] seemed to look more like her and in the reel there was a nuance to what she was doing that my girlfriend definitely approved.

Did you aim for realism in casting in general?

Yeah, I think we did. The assistant character doesn’t really exist. My assistant is part-time and she’s a woman, but my dad certainly. Judd Hirsch looks like he could be my dad. Sally Kellerman kind of looks like my mom and Nora looks a bit like Jessica. But it’s weird. You can’t have the same expectations out of someone portraying somebody as you can of a real person. It’s always sort of weird to sort of judge her behavior against the real girlfriend. We were more performed with the performance than looks.

What is one awkward high school experience that you’re willing to recount in public?

It feels like that there are a lot of them.

Where did you go to high school?

Albuquerque, New Mexico. Highland High.

What’s their mascot?

The Hornets. I wasn’t very invested in all of that. I never went to a game or anything. But one awkward experience that I remember is when I was probably a senior in English class and we were writing poetry and it was an assignment and I had a job down by the university so I was very on the pulse of what intelligent grown-up people were doing. Being an artist and whatnot. I just remember that I wrote these poems about my love and my heart and virginity and stuff and we read them out loud. The teacher was like, ‘Well, that’s very good, Marc.’ He was this funny little guy. But the class was like, ‘What is he doing? Why is he talking about that?’ But in retrospect I think it’s pretty true to what I do and what I’m still doing.

Do you still write poetry?

Sometimes. If necessary. Sometimes if you can knock out a good poem while you’re trying to “get in.” I think poems still work for courting with certain gals.

Is that how you got your girlfriend?

Not this one. This one was …well, not that kind of poetry.

Have you ever had an interview just get totally away from you?

Yeah. [waits a beat] Did you want more information than that?

Yes please. Were you trying to get something out of someone and they just wouldn’t budge?

It’s not really about trying to get something out of someone. It’s more like not being able to engage in conversation. If people are kind of filibustering you and really dictating the narrative of the interview it’s hard to stop it, depending on who it is. Sometimes, with the people I interview, it can be very entertaining, but sometimes you just need to engage a little bit. It’s never a negative thing, but it’s not a conversation. It’s more like you turn them on and they go. But some of those have been great interviews, but they weren’t necessarily conversations. Like JB Smoove he just goes. Henry Rollins just goes. Bob Zmuda just goes. Then it becomes more challenging. You have to look for the gap to send them down another thing. If they continue to dictate it, they might just have that sort of personality where they just go but then you try to get them to go over here instead.

You recently had Mel Brooks and Carl Reiner on your podcast? Was that a dream come true or am I projecting?

It was pretty amazing, but you start to wonder how you’re going to have something authentic happen. I’m always afraid that there’s going to be some sort of narrative with public especially those who have been public people for years they have a series of stories. They have stories that they like to tell and some of those stories you want them to tell, but other times you want to get it into the moment. It becomes tricky. When I’m entering an interview situation, I’m not that starstruck. I don’t know why that is ’cause I am outside of the interview. In general, I put celebrities on pedestals. I still do, I always did. But once I’m there it’s like ‘he’s a guy, he’s just a guy and we’re going to talk to this guy,’ which helps. Yeah, it was a dream come true, but the challenge for me is that I wanted it to be authentically my conversation with them.

Did you feel like you were able to accomplish that?

Yeah, I do. More so with Mel but enough things happened during the Carl Reiner thing– phone calls and whatnot – that it worked with both of them.

What did you do before you had Twitter and podcasting to fill all your time?

I don’t know. Napping, driving around, writing things down. I find it a little disconcerting that I don’t write as many things down. I think Twitter eats up a lot of that impulsive idea thing. I just thought of that just now. I should probably pull back a little bit. You’re dumping so much of yourself in all these different mediums, what are you really keeping for yourself to try and make more of? I used to constantly have notebooks that I used to scribble in. I don’t really scribble any more. It must be because of Twitter. I really want to save every one of my tweets. I guess you can save them, but I can’t seem to get them all the way back. I actually asked a guy at Twitter, ‘Can you get me all of my tweets in a book?’ and he never did. I imagine they are all in there somewhere.

In between the podcast, your new book and your upcoming TV show, what’s next? Are you one of the people who thinks about what’s next?

I am more content than usual. I’m trying to get my hour together to tape a standup special. I’d like everything to start having its own life and hope that people dig it. Maybe pull back a bit and take it easy and figure out what I want to talk about. I don’t have a big what’s next. I don’t have a big project. It would be fun to do some more acting, but I really need to focus more on the standup again, specifically. Free my mind up to do that. Maybe get a new house.

I heard you say last night at the Q & A about “Maron” that you like the house they built for you for the show more than you like your own house.

It just had better furniture. I really like my house, but the truth is that it’s a small house and I’m living with somebody. Apparently women, I don’t want to be specific, but apparently women like their own bathroom. I run my show out of my house and she’s got all her shit in there and I have Ben Stiller over and I don’t think Ben Stiller is going to go through her shit, but something’s you just want to keep private. I get it. I get that it might be nice to have a bathroom that would just be for us. But I love it. What am I going to do move my garage? Maybe I should purge everything and Feng Shui that shit. I have no idea what that means, but it sounds good, though.

You should pre-order Marc’s new book “Attempting Normal” and

Want the latest news from IFC? Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter@IFCtv

“Maron” premieres on IFC on Friday, May 3 at 10/9c

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Hard Out

Comedy From The Closet

Janice and Jeffrey Available Now On IFC's Comedy Crib

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She’s been referred to as “the love child of Amy Sedaris and Tracy Ullman,” and he’s a self-described “Italian who knows how to cook a great spaghetti alla carbonara.” They’re Mollie Merkel and Matteo Lane, prolific indie comedians who blended their robust creative juices to bring us the new Comedy Crib series Janice and Jeffrey. Mollie and Matteo took time to answer our probing questions about their series and themselves. Here’s a taste.

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IFC: How would you describe Janice and Jeffrey to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?

Mollie & Matteo: Janice and Jeffrey is about a married couple experiencing intimacy issues but who don’t have a clue it’s because they are gay. Their oblivion makes them even more endearing.  Their total lack of awareness provides for a buffet of comedy.

IFC: What’s your origin story? How did you two people meet and how long have you been working together?

Mollie: We met at a dive bar in Wrigley Field Chicago. It was a show called Entertaining Julie… It was a cool variety scene with lots of talented people. I was doing Janice one night and Matteo was doing an impression of Liza Minnelli. We sort of just fell in love with each other’s… ACT! Matteo made the first move and told me how much he loved Janice and I drove home feeling like I just met someone really special.

IFC: How would Janice describe Jeffrey?

Mollie: “He can paint, cook homemade Bolognese, and sing Opera. Not to mention he has a great body. He makes me feel empowered and free. He doesn’t suffocate me with attention so our love has room to breath.”

IFC: How would Jeffrey describe Janice?

Matteo: “Like a Ford. Built to last.”

IFC: Why do you think the world is ready for this series?

Mollie & Matteo: Our current political world is mirroring and reflecting this belief that homosexuality is wrong. So what better time for satire. Everyone is so pro gay and equal rights, which is of course what we want, too. But no one is looking at middle America and people actually in the closet. No one is saying, hey this is really painful and tragic, and sitting with that. Having compassion but providing the desperate relief of laughter…This seemed like the healthiest, best way to “fight” the gay rights “fight”.

IFC: Hummus is hilarious. Why is it so funny?

Mollie: It just seems like something people take really seriously, which is funny to me. I started to see it in a lot of lesbians’ refrigerators at a time. It’s like observing a lesbian in a comfortable shoe. It’s a language we speak. Pass the Hummus. Turn on the Indigo Girls would ya?

See the whole season of Janice and Jeffrey right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

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Die Hard Dads

Inspiration For Die Hard Dads

Die Hard is on IFC all Father's Day Long

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection, GIPHY

Yippee ki-yay, everybody! It’s time to celebrate the those most literal of mother-effers: dads!

And just in case the title of this post left anything to the imagination, IFC is giving dads balls-to-the-wall ’80s treatment with a glorious marathon of action trailblazer Die Hard.

There are so many things we could say about Die Hard. We could talk about how it was comedian Bruce Willis’s first foray into action flicks, or Alan Rickman’s big screen debut. But dads don’t give a sh!t about that stuff.

No, dads just want to fantasize that they could be deathproof quip factory John McClane in their own mundane lives. So while you celebrate the fathers in your life, consider how John McClane would respond to these traditional “dad” moments…

Wedding Toasts

Dads always struggle to find the right words of welcome to extend to new family. John McClane, on the other hand, is the master of inclusivity.
Die Hard wedding

Using Public Restrooms

While nine out of ten dads would rather die than use a disgusting public bathroom, McClane isn’t bothered one bit. So long as he can fit a bloody foot in the sink, he’s G2G.
Die Hard restroom

Awkward Dancing

Because every dad needs a signature move.
Die Hard dance

Writing Thank You Notes

It can be hard for dads to express gratitude. Not only can McClane articulate his thanks, he makes it feel personal.
Die Hard thank you

Valentine’s Day

How would John McClane say “I heart you” in a way that ain’t cliche? The image speaks for itself.
Die Hard valentines

Shopping

The only thing most dads hate more than shopping is fielding eleventh-hour phone calls with additional items for the list. But does McClane throw a typical man-tantrum? Nope. He finds the words to express his feelings like a goddam adult.
Die Hard thank you

Last Minute Errands

John McClane knows when a fight isn’t worth fighting.
Die Hard errands

Sneaking Out Of The Office Early

What is this, high school? Make a real exit, dads.
Die Hard office

Think you or your dad could stand to be more like Bruce? Role model fodder abounds in the Die Hard marathon all Father’s Day long on IFC.

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Founding Farters

Know Your Nerd History

Revenge of the Nerds is on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection, GIFs via Giphy

That we live in the heyday of nerds is no hot secret. Scientists are celebrities, musicians are robots and late night hosts can recite every word of the Silmarillion. It’s too easy to think that it’s always been this way. But the truth is we owe much to our nerd forebearers who toiled through the jock-filled ’80s so that we might take over the world.

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Our humble beginnings are perhaps best captured in iconic ’80s romp Revenge of the Nerds. Like the founding fathers of our Country, the titular nerds rose above their circumstances to culturally pave the way for every Colbert and deGrasse Tyson that we know and love today.

To make sure you’re in the know about our very important cultural roots, here’s a quick download of the vengeful nerds without whom our shameful stereotypes might never have evolved.

Lewis Skolnick

The George Washington of nerds whose unflappable optimism – even in the face of humiliating self-awareness – basically gave birth to the Geek Pride movement.

Gilbert Lowe

OK, this guy is wet blanket, but an important wet blanket. Think Aaron Burr to Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton. His glass-mostly-empty attitude is a galvanizing force for Lewis. Who knows if Lewis could have kept up his optimism without Lowe’s Debbie-Downer outlook?

Arnold Poindexter

A music nerd who, after a soft start (inside joke, you’ll get it later), came out of his shell and let his passion lead instead of his anxiety. If you played an instrument (specifically, electric violin), and you were a nerd, this was your patron saint.

Booger

A sex-loving, blunt-smoking, nose-picking guitar hero. If you don’t think he sounds like a classic nerd, you’re absolutely right. And that’s the whole point. Along with Lamar, he simultaneously expanded the definition of nerd and gave pre-existing nerds a twisted sort of cred by association.

Lamar Latrell

Black, gay, and a crazy good breakdancer. In other words, a total groundbreaker. He proved to the world that nerds don’t have a single mold, but are simply outcasts waiting for their moment.

Ogre

Exceedingly stupid, this dumbass was monumental because he (in a sequel) leaves the jocks to become a nerd. Totally unheard of back then. Now all jocks are basically nerds.

Well, there they are. Never forget that we stand on their shoulders.

Revenge of the Nerds is on IFC all month long.

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