Success is hard – even after it’s attained. That’s what Marc Maron, both the character and real person, has come to realize. On the second season of IFC’s Maron (premiering Thurs, May 8 10p), the comedian and podcast pioneer must deal with fame and the baggage that comes along with it: anxiety, doubt and a hostile appearance on The Talking Dead. Here’s Marc, in his own words, on the show’s evolution, this season’s guest stars and what it was like stepping behind the camera.
Many of the season-two guest stars (Conan O’Brien, Michael Ian Black, Sarah Silverman, etc.) have appeared on the WTF podcast. Was there something about their appearance that made you think they’d be right for the show?
Maron: Well, when it comes down to that, some of the guests on the TV show Maron playing themselves, some of them integrate into the stories that we had conceived. The stories come first, and then sort of the guests—I kind of figure out who would be best to kind of amplify or accentuate the story. So a lot of those decisions are made later like, let’s say, Caroline Rhea, for example. That story about the nostalgic sex-buddy episode, it’s a very funny thing about Caroline because Dave Anthony, who was a writer on this season and also plays Dave in several of the episodes as my friend, both Dave and I had both dated Caroline Rhea 20 years ago.
So we had both been with her, so the idea of using her to play the part of the person that I decide to have sort of a sexual tryst with at this age—it was great that we could get her because it was all very founded in reality. A lot of times it has to do with availability, but mostly it’s sort of how would this guest playing themselves kind of accentuate or fit into the story, and that was mostly the decision. It was based on my knowledge of them or my friendship with them, but it was really usually about the story.
You directed an episode this season. Did you enjoy that experience, and if so, do you hope to direct other projects in the future?
Maron: Yeah, it was a great opportunity that I’m happy I took. I did enjoy directing. Knowing the process, being in front of the camera and writing and everything else, to try directing was a real thrill. I learned some stuff, and I would love to do it. I’d like to direct a show or an episode where I’m not in every scene. It does make it very tricky to direct and be in every scene, especially on the time budget that we had in terms of getting the show done.
But it was a great experience, and I was surprised to find that so much of the directing television experience happens in the editing room and just getting the coverage you need and then getting and editing and sort of trimming it down and making those choices. It was something I never really thought I would do, and I would love to do it again. It was great.
And that episode is very important to me. That is the episode called “The Joke” that stars me and Joey Diaz, and the story revolves around me accidentally doing someone else’s line on the Conan O’Brien show, and I really needed to get the emotions and the narrative of that thing exactly right where I wanted them, and I was fortunate that that was the episode that I directed.
What is it about Bobcat Goldthwait’s directing style that fits so well with the show?
Maron: Well, have you seen his movies? Bob has got a very acute sensitivity to how to play and move our comedy forward. He has a very unique vision around comedy that is not mainstream or predictable. He’s got a great feel for essentially the type of comedy that the show is, and it’s always great working with him. It’s nice having him on set.
Maron airs on IFC on Thursdays at 10p.