Marc Maron’s WTF Podcast has largely become a standard bearer in the world of podcasting, which is actually quite a feat for a multitude of reasons. Last week, Maron put out the 800th episode of WTF, an astonishing accomplishment, even to Marc himself.
“Eight-hundred f****** episodes. That is crazy.”
Since 2009, Marc Maron has hosted his WTF podcast, with most guests coming to the garage – yes, the garage – of his two bedroom house in the greater Los Angeles area to be interviewed… including President Obama. When it began, Maron’s WTF seemed like most podcasts did at the time: like a flailing attempt to do something, to do anything, that might get traction. However, podcasting was something that Marc took to almost instantly. Maron – who started out as a stand-up comedian, something that he would no doubt profess as his number one occupation even today – spent several years on radio with both Air America (Morning Sedition) and on his own show (The Marc Maron Show) at WTLK in Los Angeles. And though his comedy and radio got him some well-deserved attention via multiple spots on Letterman and even more on the Conan O’Brien show, it wasn’t until WTF hit the air that Maron’s wings really began to spread.
As political as Marc was on his liberal Air America show, Morning Sedition, Maron backed off on the politics for the most part when it came to WTF. The original idea surrounding WTF was to have three different segments that might include movie talk, talk about random subjects, a short interview with a comedian, and some straight comedy shtick. It sounds simple, but it could have easily turned into nothing more than a morning zoo radio show that was listenable whenever someone had the chance to download it. But WTF quickly became something much more. When the show’s first guest, comedian Jeff Ross, came to the garage, some might have expected something akin to Maron’s self-named radio show to be present. Some might have expected zany antics between two comedians… maybe some amusing back and forth banter, followed by a list of tour dates. But what happened surprised those that actually knew what a podcast was.
From that first podcast, the root of Marc’s show is there. The back and forth comedy banter that was a morning radio staple is still prevalent, but there was the root of something else. It didn’t take long – only a dozen or so shows – before Marc almost took on the role of a counselor to his guests. By his own account, Maron has been a victim of his own anger and jealousy issues for a majority to his life. To this day, during the opening minutes of each of his podcasts, when he checks in with the listeners and tells them what’s going on in his life, Marc still sometimes references his own issues and how he continues to battle them. However, what’s interesting is that by simply asking questions about the lives of his guests, Marc seemed to be able to ask himself questions about his own life out loud on a microphone. No, it’s not the way that quiet introspection usually works, but then, Marc Maron is anything but usual.
Over the years the list of notables – and not so notables – that have sat down with Marc Maron on the WTF podcast is lengthy and extremely varied. From the most iconic guests that have included Louis CK, Robin Williams, Judd Apatow, Conan O’Brien, Keith Richards, Lorne Michaels and the aforementioned President Obama, to cutting edge comedians like Sarah Silverman, Chris Rock, David Cross, Seth Rogan and Jonah Hill, the collection of guests on Maron’s WTF contains a vast collection of wisdom and life experience on everything from comedy to acting to film direction to music to…
Marc Talked about what he wanted WTF to be in the very first episode.
“I know a lot of you have listened to me in many different forms over the years, and I think this [WTF] will be the free-est of all of them. This will be the most unfiltered and the most representative of where I’m at, and I’ll try to keep it as personal as possible, and also… I just don’t know what the f*** half the time.”
The fact of the matter is, a 54 year-old comedian that fell victim to not only anger issues, but drug and alcohol dependency, seems to have finally found himself. Marc Maron talks openly about his sobriety on his podcast, and has encouraged countless others to seek help for their own addictions, simply by talking about it. He has continued to be interested and curious about the world he lives in, and Maron has encouraged us to be interested in each other just by asking questions and listening to the answers. On last week’s 800th episode, Maron went back to the well, bringing back the guest from his very first show, comedian Jeff Ross. Bringing back guests that have already been on the show is something that Marc rarely does, but clearly 800 shows was something that Maron wanted to mark in a special way.
However he does it, Marc Maron should be lauded for his accomplishment, and we can all hope that he’ll continue to do it for years to come.
Between taping podcast episodes, Marc is currently crisscrossing the United States on his ‘The Too Real Tour.’
[Featured Image by Rick Diamond/Getty Images]