I think I am falling in love with Marc Maron.
During Pandemic 2020, I have been getting sucked into Marc Maron’s podcast WTF, a little bit after watching him on the excellent show Glow, but mostly because I began reading articles of how he tragically lost his girlfriend suddenly this year. He has decided to grieve publicly. He weeps on his podcast, he talks about what eats and how he’s up and down. When interview subjects express condolences, he breaks down. It’s very real and raw, and damn, I find it compelling. This what drew me to acting originally — that kind of honesty. It’s a realm where people can express themselves without adornment. And in most places of life, you don’t get that directness. That’s why theater lit me up when I encountered it decades ago. (Of course, as you travel down the road of being an actor, that might change and get more complicated, but still, that’s the original spark for me. Despite this, it’s not as if actors are my people necessarily, but I think they’re better at being vulnerable in person than a lot of writers I meet. But maybe I just have a different barometer. I’m very honest in how I express myself, which is why some acquaintances think we’re best friends. Husband point this trait out to me.)
This guy expresses himself truthfully. It may be the result of his life as a performer and writer, or participant of AA meetings. (Should I go to those meetings for my authenticity fix? I just like hearing how people are really doing.) He did a wonderful interview with President Obama in 2015, and I just so enjoyed it. You can hear how nervous and out of his mind he is to meet Obama, and of course, Obama is like a balm to our collective soul. (Volume 1 of his memoir just got released, which I am going to check out and am not being paid to plug here, ha ha ha.) I know Obama was not a perfect president, but he was decent, brilliant at so many things, and spiritual — and just, please, I don’t need to go on and on about how his presidency has paid dividends for us — or maybe I will just speak for myself since our country is so divided — me. This interview was just a nice happy spot in this endless pandemic.
But maybe you need to “earn” it. You can’t start with the pinnacle episode. You have to go through the ups and downs in order to be genuinely invested in this performer’s happiness and excitement. I’m relishing this experience after listening to a bundle of these episodes, some of which are dull, some fascinating, depending on the subject matter. (Cate Blanchette, utterly boring. Stacey Abrams, incredible. Did you know she has a law degree, has several romance books published, and adores physics? I adore her.) This podcast has been around at least ten years, during which I was blissfully unaware of its existence. But now, that we are cooking and washing dishes ad nauseum, and we are all together all the time, it’s really helped make pandemic life more pleasant.
Warning: there is a liberal use of the F word. My children have now heard every curse word under the sun when they walk through the kitchen, but they have assured me they have already heard all these words before.