Marc Maron's Podcast has emerged to the mainstream as one of the most listenable interview forums in the media, so much so that standing President Barack Obama appeared on the show.
His willingness to break down and deconstruct his own flaws and vulnerabilities has led to some incredible one on one conversations with some of the most popular figures of our time, and if you've been listening, you know he has a way of drawing genuine, real talk from his guests.
Since we like to listen to podcasts while we work, and WTF with Marc Maron is one of our favorites, we wanted to share some of the episodes we think you must listen to if you haven't yet taken the dive into listing to his podcast.
5. Lorne Michaels
To understand why the Lorne Michaels interview is so significant, you're going to need a little context.
Once upon a time, Marc tried out for Saturday Night Live. He did not make it onto Saturday Night Live, after trying out with Lorne. Since that failed tryout, it seems, Marc has been bemoaning his rejection from SNL, to anyone who broaches the subject of SNL.
Every guest who has been a cast member of SNL has had their perception of Lorne Michaels prodded and examined by Marc, in some attempt to make Lorne out to be some sort of emotional powermonger. Years of interviews are peppered with Marc talking about Lorne Michaels.
And eventually... Lorne Michaels agreed to an interview. It was a landmark episode for the podcast, with Marc seeming to finally get a better idea of why he hadn't made it onto Saturday Night Live. Without spoiling the results of the interview, they do get into Marc's rejection, and there is an explanation.
The rest of the interview is also interesting, as Lorne Michaels has been behind some of the biggest comedy careers since the beginning of Saturday Night Live, and as such, it's remarkable to hear his perspective on the industry. It's also curious why he's so dry when he's such an important figure in comedy.
4. President Barack Obama
While many argued that Marc was relatively soft on the POTUS, Marc is also very openly overwhelmed by the opportunity, and I think he draws a very human conversation from one of our more measured political figures of the last several centuries.
What is perhaps more fascinating is what you can hear happening in the interview, which Marc later points out: Barack Obama puts Marc at ease. He's such a good politician that he manages to put his nervous interviewer at peace.
Perhaps my favorite moments of the interview are hearing the President at his most exasperated about some of the domestic terrorism that has faced us in the past several years, and you can hear the person behind the position. He does seem to have genuine anguish over being the person who has to speak after each school shooting, and this is one of the more vulnerable moments in the interview.
Yeah, the guy who smashes the watermelons. That prop-based stand-up comedian that preceded Carrot Top. Is he an important figure? No. Is he relevant anymore? No. He probably wasn't terribly relevant back then either.
So why is Gallagher in the Top 5?
Well Gallagher is a little off his rocker. Unfamiliar with the intimacy involved with Maron's interviews, Gallagher gets progressively angrier and more delusional throughout the interview, convinced that he is some type of comedy god, all the while making himself out to be a racist, homophobic curmudgeon.
It's an important interview just because it's another example of the kind of thing that happens when Marc tries to actually have real conversations with celebrities. Many aren't prepared to have their public perception broken down, and want to keep a wall up between themselves and Marc.
Because Marc is such a good interviewer, this typically doesn't last long, and Gallagher's watermelon sized explosion culminates in a walk out of the garage at the end. Classic.
2. Robin Williams
Marc's interview with Robin Williams has become more notable since Williams' death. In the interview Williams opens up about depression and addiction, and is notably more calm and out of character than he is often seen in television interviews.
For many people who grew up on Robin Williams, this episode really does a great job of showing why the man who was so capable of making us laugh in family comedies was also so great at getting into our hearts in serious films. He is brimming with truth.
I feel it would be unfair not to note that while Williams does talk about depression in this episode, long time friend of William's Bobcat Goldthwait has spoken on Joe Rogan's podcast about the fact that it was not depression that caused Williams to take his own life, but the disease and dementia from which he was suffering. Robin Williams' death is often perceived to be the result of a long fight with depression, while from closer sources, it seems that it was not the true cause of his death.
1. Louis CK
Oh man. This is the interview. It's almost better to just let the episode unfold, but to give you the slightest amount of background, Louis and Marc used to be friends, and then they drifted apart, or pushed each other away.
Most of the interview is fairly straightforward, if a bit guarded and minorly combative. But when it gets specific about their friendship and how the events unfolded, things get incredibly compelling. Better drama cannot be written.
Listening to two comedic powerhouses discuss their dirty laundry so candidly is what makes podcasts beautiful. If you talk to someone for long enough, things eventually get real.
Easily the best episode of all time. Those are our favorites, let us know what your favorite WTF episodes are in the comments below!