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Marc Maron on Mining His Real Life for Comedy

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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.

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Want the latest news on Maron? Like the show on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @MaronIFC

Maron airs on IFC on Thursdays at 10p.

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The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at IFC.com

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Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

It’s the final countdown to Christmas and thanks to IFC’s movie marathon all Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, you can revel in classic ’80s films AND find inspiration for your last-minute gifts. Here are our recommendations, if you need a head start:

Musical Instrument

Great analog entertainment substitute when you refuse to give your kid the Nintendo Switch they’ve been drooling over.

Breakfast In Bed

Any significant other or child would appreciate these Uncle Buck-approved flapjacks. Just make sure you’re not stuck on clean up duty.

Cocktail Supplies

You’ll need them to get through the holidays.

Dance Lessons

So you can learn to shake-shake-shake (unless you know ghosts willing to lend a hand).

Comfy Clothes

With all the holiday meals, there may be some…embigenning.



Get even more great inspiration all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC, and remember…