Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!

Comedian Marc Maron Plays Not My Job

Marc Maron
Seth Olenick/

Comedian Marc Maron is a very funny man who talks to very funny people. His WTF podcast is where comedians go to talk about what they do — and often tell him things you can't believe they're telling anyone.

We've invited him to play a game called "A frozen iguana fell on my head on the way to the theater." For years now, Florida has been the primary source of our weird news items — the dumb criminals, the bizarre animal stories, the felon governors. Since we're taping the show in Tampa this week, we'll quiz Maron on three recent bizarre happenings in the state.

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PETER SAGAL, HOST:

And now the game where we invite on interesting people and try to hold their interest. Comedian Marc Maron is a very funny man and his business these days is talking to other very funny people. His podcast, WTF, to be brief about it, is where comedians go to talk about what they do. And in many cases, they tell Marc things you can't believe they're telling anyone. Marc Maron joins us now. Welcome to WAIT WAIT...DON'T TELL ME!

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

MARC MARON: Thank you, a pleasure to be here.

SAGAL: So tell me about WTF, your podcast which you started a couple of years ago and has brought you some success and fame.

MARON: Well, it started out of complete desperation and bankruptcy and I had nothing else to do.

SAGAL: Really?

MARON: Yeah, that is the heart of it. And I basically sit out here in my garage with a couple of microphones and have people over. There's a lot of clutter and books, it's cozy and usually the cats don't pee in here.

SAGAL: Right.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: What's amazing about your podcast and why it has become so popular is you specialize in talking to other comedians. And I don't know what it is about them, about you able to do this, but you get them to admit things and talk about things in such an honest way that it's absolutely riveting, if you care at all about comedy or these people, or even if you don't, just listening to these people unburden themselves is pretty amazing. Do you have a trick for doing this?

MARON: Well, I don't know. I guess it is pretty surprising that comedians want to talk about themselves.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Yeah, it's kind of amazing.

ADAM FELBER: Yeah.

MARON: Yeah, I don't know what the trick is. I think generally I tend to offer up way too much information than necessary in almost any interaction, whether it's talking to somebody or buying a soda. And I think that it actually provokes people to meet me about halfway with their own stories. And it seems to just work. I think it has something to do with the garage too.

You know, I had Ben Stiller over here and I was first taken aback that - yeah, I offered to go to his house but he said no. And then I thought, well why doesn't Ben Stiller want me in his house?

SAGAL: Right.

MARON: And that made me insecure. And then I got insecure about my house because, you know, my house could fit in Ben Stiller's bathroom. And, you know, he came over here and he said wow, this is really an amazing place. And I thought, really, do you want to switch lives?

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

MARON: So, I think on some level the intimacy of the environment makes people forget that they're actually on mic or that anyone's ever going to listen to it.

SAGAL: But it is true that you reveal so much of yourselves, I mean all the time. I'm imagining that when you go into a Starbucks you're like, yeah, I'd like a grande and my parents hated me, or something.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: That's part of...

MARON: Well, if it'll comfort you in any way, I'm naked now.

SAGAL: That does.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: I appreciate that.

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

MARON: And...

FELBER: So are we.

MARON: I'm actually standing outside. So...

SAGAL: That's great.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: That's great.

FAITH SALIE: Marc, you know, as Peter said, you do get comedians to be so forthcoming. Have you ever had somebody call you after being interviewed by you and say to you, "Man, I can't believe I said that, will you please edit it out of the podcast?"

MARON: Well, it's interesting that given the type of things I've talked about with people on the show, that really hasn't happened, other than with Andy Dick and it was for legal reasons.

SAGAL: Oh well...

FELBER: Right.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Pretty much anything Andy Dick does is for legal reasons.

SALIE: For legal reasons.

SAGAL: We understand.

MARON: He said, like, you know, I'm not sure there's a statute of limitations on a felony.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: One other theme we've picked up is you have a, shall we say, an abiding interest in food. You talk about it a lot on your podcast.

MARON: Well, you know, it's interesting. I come from an anorexic household and I don't know that people say that. I was made to be quite frightened of food throughout my life. And now, you know, I'm fairly compulsive about it. I like to cook. I have - I cry during cooking shows. I don't know what that's about.

SAGAL: Really?

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Like, oh my God, he's boning the chicken.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: I don't know if that's tragic or rather sweet.

MARON: No, it's primarily around the show "Chopped." I've built a relationship and going through the struggle and the weird challenges of creating things out of horrible ingredients and then you have the moving finish. I don't like admitting to this stuff. Is anyone going to listen to this show?

SAGAL: Yeah, probably not.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Really, it's just us talking. Go ahead.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

MARON: Yeah, I cry during food shows and I eat compulsively, between me and you.

SAGAL: All right, it's our little secret. So, your show is airing on some public radio stations now, in an edited version. Can you talk about, like the difference of the sound when you're on public radio?

MARON: Yes, in the middle of sentences, I make a weird bleeping noise.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: You probably, because of your work, have more insight into comedians than anybody I know. Do you think that all comedians come out of, like, emotional dysfunction and neediness, or is it just all the ones I've met?

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

MARON: I don't know that - I used to think that, that you needed a sort of dark past or some sort of, you know, dysfunctional upbringing. But I have found that there are plenty of people that had at least one good parent that are pretty funny.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

MARON: I think all you need for effective self-esteem in a genuine way is one good parent.

SAGAL: Really?

MARON: I think the great ones had, you know, two crappy parents.

SAGAL: Really?

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: So kids, if you're out there today and want to grow up to be a great standup, you look around and as long as one of your parents is crazy and hateful, you have a chance?

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

MARON: Absolutely.

SAGAL: Speaking of parents, the holidays are coming up. Are you going to be spending time with your parents?

MARON: Yeah, sadly, I am.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

MARON: I'm going to go down to my interesting and needy mother's house, who has now taken it upon herself to - she's gone on a little bit of a crusade for me not to say how old I am in public for how it makes her look. So, that should be fun. I'm going to go down there for the Christmas Hanukkah/yearly maintenance of parental relationship.

SAGAL: Right.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: See, I know your feelings about your parents because I listen to your podcast. Do your parents listen to your podcast?

MARON: My father has actually appeared on the podcast two or three times and has no idea how to listen to it.

SAGAL: Really?

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

SAGAL: Marc Maron, we are delighted to have you with us today. We have asked you here to play a game we're calling...

CARL KASELL, HOST:

A frozen iguana fell on my head on the way to the theater.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

MARON: Great.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: So, for years now, Florida, as I have said, has been the primary source of our weird news items: the dumb criminals, the bizarre animal stories, the felon governors.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Since we're here this week, we're going to ask you three questions about bizarre things that happened in Florida just this month.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Answer two questions correctly, you'll win our prize for one of our listeners. Carl, who is Marc Maron playing for?

KASELL: Marc is playing for Chris Loy of Tampa, Florida.

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

SAGAL: Chris has a lot of friends here. You ready to play?

MARON: I am ready to play.

SAGAL: Here we go. First question: on November 6th, Sheila Lederer of Wellington, Florida called 911 and demanded that the police do what? A: arrest her mailbox? B: paint her fingernails? Or C: explain the appeal of Herman Cain to her?

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

MARON: I'm going to go with arrest her mailbox.

SAGAL: You're going to go with arrest her mailbox. You're right, that's what they...

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

SAGAL: ...came to do. When police arrived at Ms. Lederer's home, she was arguing with a tree in her front yard.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: She apparently had overdone it a little on the Xanax.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: All right, next question. On November 3rd, a New Port Richy, Florida woman was arrested for assault with a what? A: a My Little Pony shaped rubber band? B: a bowl of spaghetti? Or C: a Snuggie?

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

MARON: Snuggie.

SAGAL: No, it was the bowl of spaghetti.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Police reported that spaghetti was all over her boyfriend's head.

MARON: Oh, she should try a Snuggie.

SAGAL: Really?

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Can a Snuggie be a deadly weapon?

MARON: If you hold it right.

SAGAL: Absolutely.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

FELBER: You just got to know how to tie the sleeves.

SAGAL: Exactly. All right, this is exciting. If you get this one right, you win. Here we go. One of these was a real headline in a Florida paper on November 1st. Was it A: Zombie Attacks Guard In Nudist Resort Scuffle?

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: B: Invading Iguanas Battle Invading Senior Citizens? Or C: Drunken Transvestite Attempts To Ride Manatee?

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

MARON: That sounds like any weekend in Florida.

SAGAL: Pretty much.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

SAGAL: They switch. Sometimes the zombies ride the manatees, you know.

MARON: I'm going to go with C.

SAGAL: You're going to go with the drunken transvestite attempts to ride the manatee.

(SOUNDBITE OF BOOING)

SAGAL: They are unhappy with that choice here in Florida. I mean, I think they're point is that if a drunken transvestite were to try to ride a manatee, say here in Tampa Bay, the people looking out would go "Oh look, it's another drunken transvestite trying to ride a manatee."

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Nobody would care, I think is their point.

FELBER: We're talking about a headline here.

SAGAL: Yeah, yeah, something that made the newspaper. I'm sorry, Marc, what was your choice?

MARON: The zombie.

SAGAL: The zombie, yes, it is the zombie.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

SAGAL: The hint was that it was November 1st, the prior night was Halloween. Zombie Attacks Guard In Nudist Resort Scuffle. A man dressed as a zombie behaved in appropriately at the Caliente Nudist Resort here in Florida.

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

SAGAL: Apparently...

FELBER: How do you dress as a nude zombie?

SAGAL: I was wondering about that.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: I don't know how you dress as anything at a nudist resort, but nonetheless, he accomplished it.

FELBER: Worst costume parties ever.

SAGAL: Really.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Carl, how did Marc Maron do on our quiz?

KASELL: Well, Marc had to correct answers, Peter, and that's good enough to win for Chris Loy.

SAGAL: Well done, Marc.

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

MARON: I have to thank the good people of Tampa for their help on that one.

SAGAL: They did, they helped you out. They helped the people.

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

SAGAL: Marc Maron hosts the WTF podcast. You can find it on iTunes and he is performing live at the Neptune Theater in Seattle on November 25th. Go see him. Marc Maron, thank you so much for being with us. Great to talk to you.

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

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Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!