Sunday, November 28, 2010

I heart Marc Maron

This blog post is a long time coming and is the main reason I haven't written in a while, because I felt like I needed to give this post justice before I could talk about anything else. But then I realized that a blog post could never quite express all the thoughts and feelings I have about a complete stranger (wow, that sounds effing crazy). So I just built it up so much and couldn't do it. Now I just have to get it down and move on. Jeeze, that sounds nerdy. So this is mostly stream of consciousness.

There were two bad things about my trip to Los Angeles in October.

1) There are pretty much no photos of the wonderful weekend (particularly of Marc Maron in the hat I made him)
2) I drank my weight in sweet tea vodka, red wine and whiskey, resulting some uncomfortable cuddling and a hangover of epic proportions.

Other than that, the weekend was EFFING AWESOME. I went down to LA to visit my friends Adam, Linda and Nathan and to go see a live taping of the WTF Podcast with Marc Maron, my current total obsession. Now, I know Adam through Dan working with him a while back, and mostly Adam and I are friends through social networking sites such as Twitter. True, I had spent time with Adam and Linda while they lived in West Seattle, but not that much and I didn't know them very well. I'd met Nathan before, but I don't think I'd ever even had a full conversation with him. But somehow I became best-twitter-friends with all of them, so even though when I thought about it too much it seemed pretty weird, I went down and crashed on their couch. I shouldn't have thought about it too much, because they were great to stay with and we all got along as though we'd been friends for years.

Now, if you've read this blog before you are aware of my little obsessions. Never in my life have I gotten on a plane to go see one, though. I felt a little crazy the whole time leading up to it, and since I have crazy anxiety, I got all wound up. The night before my flight I went to a wedding event with a friend of mine who is also getting married and ended up having a lot of wine. I came home tipsy, had to finish packing and getting ready and then only ended up being able to sleep for about 3 hours because of my crazy nerves. My anxiety was running wild, and I also had a mean wine hangover. I woke up at like 2:30 AM and never went back to sleep. I just decided to go to the airport early because maybe that was why I was having panic time, that I was nervous about getting to the airport on time on the bus. That helped a little. By the time I actually got to L.A. I was just feeling tired. I honestly think that being so exhausted helped me not be so damn panicked, otherwise I'd have lost my mind that day leading up to getting to the live WTF taping at UCB.

I had a really great day with Adam and Nathan, too. Like I said, I really had nothing to be nervous about with them because they were awesome and we got along great. Oh, and they are completely hilarious. I also got to meet Nathan's sister Katherine who is awesome, and then Linda came home from work and we all went to UCB to see Marc Maron!

Did I mention that I had decided that I needed to bring Marc something? It's pretty common that his fans bring him stuff at shows, often times food items. I sort of find the concept weird since he constantly talks about his food issues on his podcast, so instead I decided to knit him a hat. Everyone needs hand knit hats, right? But I was super busy in the weeks leading up to my trip, so I ended up rushing to finish it about 20 minutes before we left for the theater. I never even got a picture of it, which makes me sad.

Traffic on the way to the theater was awful and I was screaming inside my head, but trying to just laugh it off and be normal around these people I didn't know very well. It's probably lucky that Dan didn't come with me, for some reason since I feel so comfortable around him I can unleash all my wrath on him when I'm freaking out. Poor Dan. But he wasn't there so I kept it in. Luckily we got there in plenty of time even with the soul crushing traffic and we got a fine parking spot.

My only celebrity sightings in LA were while we were standing in line - America Ferrera and Amanda Seyfried. I hate being one of those people impressed by celebrity, but I can't help it, it was pretty cool. But it did manage to make me even more nervous and freaked out. And then Marc Maron walked by and many things happened all at once. My friend Nathan has done artwork for Marc Maron for the podcast (he is very talented) and so he actually knows Maron. We decided before we got there that this was my in for giving Marc the hat, and that Nathan should say hello to get his attention and that was where I would come in. And that was pretty much how it happened. Again, no pictures, which is sort of depressing. I would have been cool to have a picture of Marc in the hat, it fit him perfectly! It was all too fast to get a photo and I didn't want to be a bother. I mean, I really admire the man, but partly because of that I didn't want to hold him up or annoy him too much. So I basically said I flew down from Seattle to see him and I knit him a hat. Even though there are no photos, I can still remember the big smile that spread across his face as he put the hat on. That is part of what is so great about him as a performer/entertainer, he really appreciates his fans and all they do for him and treats them like friends.

I was pretty much shaking from head to toe after that, but it was a huge relief too. So much build up for that small moment, but it was done and I could finally just relax already. Why am I such a spaz? Seriously? The show ended up hilarious,  he had on Charles Fleischer, the voice of Roger Rabbit and a very "out there" comedian. It was definitely a weird experience, but I laughed until I cried and then after I tweeted to Marc that I hoped he liked the hat and I got a response, which as you know from previous blog posts always makes me super happy.

I know, I'm like a 14 year old girl.
It's the little things, you know?

The rest of my trip was great. I got to spend quality time with friends I hadn't seen in a long time, ate food, drank too much, laughed too hard and generally had an awesome time. I wasn't there for long, but I did find out just how much of a home body I am. I was only gone 2 nights and I missed my cats and Dan a ton. Also? I hate flying. Ugh. But it was worth it, not just to see Marc Maron, but to connect with my friends down there.

Here is the part that is going to sound like a big old love letter to Marc Maron, but you know, I just want to convert you all to listen to the podcast and also go see him at Laughs in Kirkland with me in February, or if you are in another state he is touring around, so you should catch him near you.

I of course think that Marc is a hilarious comedian, but the reason why I enjoy him and  his podcasts so much is more than him just being funny. He is a very intelligent and well spoken person who conveys very relate-able emotions through his podcast. I came in late to the podcast, discovering it at Bumbershoot in August because Donald Glover was at the taping and we happened to have some time to kill. But I've gone back and listened to most of them and his podcast is like a revelation. It is amazing to listen to him turning his life around, growing and changing as a person. Starting out as a downtrodden man in the midst of a divorce and a stalled career and using the podcast medium to change things. He is open and honest and raw, and this honesty inspires his guests to open up to him. He has an amazing amount of empathy and that makes the interviews so much more personal feeling than anything I've listened to before. It touches me and others and makes us feel less alone, just having someone to listen to that struggles, but still gets it.

I also really find the subject of comedy and the behind the scenes of it all to be extremely interesting, so that is a big part of it as well. I've been a comedy fan since I was a kid, it was one of the few things that my dad and I really related on in addition to music. I remember watching Cosby specials, Seinfeld's stand-up, The Gary Shandling Show and The Tracy Ullman Show at a pretty young age. It was something we shared that I loved and have continued to love throughout my life.

Marc Maron is known for having a bit of a temper, which I can relate to as I have similar anger issues. But just as the guest at the live taping I went to Brendon Burns said during the podcast "I am losing my warmth" it seems a little bit like Marc is losing his edge. Or maybe his edge was exaggerated. He seems happier, and I don't think he needs to be angry to be funny. His evolution is inspiring.

He is also incredibly accessible to  his fans, responding on twitter to people regularly as if we're just a bunch of his friends. It helps this hopelessly obsessive girl a bit, gives me more of a connection. Something that is super rare. I remember a podcast where he talks about meeting Lou Reed and wanting to have his moment with him and how you can never really have the full connection that you desire from someone you look up to in that way, and he was right. I'm probably not ever going to actually be one of Marc's friends, but I do feel included in a community of his fans, and I feel like he tries as hard as  he can to make his fans feel like friends, and that is enough for me.

I'll probably continue to have crazy anxiety about crap like this, like how I agonized over which of 4 shows to buy tickets to when he comes to do stand up in February, but I used my better judgment and did not actually buy tickets to more than one show because I don't want to seem like a LUNATIC. I promise, other than a crazy case of anxiety, I'm pretty sane. I SWEAR.

If you've made it this far into the ramblings from my brain, you should totally listen to the most recent WTF Podcast that came out on Thanksgiving. Marc says some lovely things about gratitude and touches on a lot of what I've talked about here.


  1. Great blog post, which conveys most of my own feelings about Marc Maron. And yes, We are SANE.

  2. Jessica! That weekend was an absolute blast and looms large in my memories. I wish I could see Marc at Laughs with you in February. If my buddy @therightclique is at the show you're going to (he's also a big Marc fan) you two to say 'hi'.

    I think you really hit the nail on the head when you said Marc doesn't have to be angry to be funny (even if he thinks he does). I think Marc is best, in either stand-up or in his interviews, when he allows himself to be vulnerable. When he let's down his guard SO DO WE.

    And I love what you had to say about Marc treating his fans like friends. He is so respectful and appreciative to us. We are so lucky!

  3. I discovered Marc when he was a regular on progessive talk radio (I have no idea which branch)--sort of lost track of him until your post. Now he's back on my radar -- thank you! (And thanks for your enthusiasm and articulateness....a great combination -- you should blog more -- tweeting isn't big enough for you :-)