Marc Maron craves good conversation. Since 2009, he has had hundreds of them from his garage, where he hosts his popular WTF podcast. In Waiting for the Punch (Flatiron, Oct.), Maron and his longtime producer, Brendan McDonald, have arranged hundreds of excerpts from his conversations with such celebrities as Lena Dunham, Bruce Springsteen, and Kevin Hart.
“This type of one-on-one, two-people-talking conversation is lacking in culture,” Maron says. “I found that people who listened to my show were getting something out of it. It enabled them to feel less alone, [to feel] nourished intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually.”
“There are so many elements of the human condition that just come up organically on the podcast,” Maron continues. “Brendan and I always thought that if you could create a weaving conversation in a book through all the themes that seem to recur, and through all these different voices, it would be fascinating and amazing.” In the book Louis CK reflects on failure; Leslie Jones on mortality; and President Barack Obama on identity.
When Maron and McDonald transcribed the interviews, Maron says he was surprised by their immediacy. “There’s something very different reading people talking rather than reading people writing,” he says. “The actual tone of the [book]—because it was first done in a conversation—is very emotionally connected.”
A longtime comedian and writer, Maron says he launched the podcast, “by virtue of desperation.” His career was unraveling, and his divorce from his second wife left him suicidal.
“I was in my garage. I was in a desperate place. And I needed to talk to people,” he says. As the show blossomed, Maron and McDonald realized that the big-name guests invariably talked about issues that many people find difficult to discuss.
Maron attributes some of his passion for conversation to his longtime friendship with Albuquerque, N.Mex., bookseller Gus Blaisdell at the Living Batch bookstore, who died in 2003. “He was a local wizard,” Maron says. “He had this level of comedic insight that was sourced in this vast intellectual reservoir that he had in his head. He was always able to render things down in conversation to the purest bead of satire, where everything comes unhinged.”
Today, 1:30–2:30 p.m. Marc Maron and coauthor Brendan McDonald provide a glimpse into the WTF podcast as they discuss their book in Room 1E14.
Today, 2:45–3:45 p.m. Maron and McDonald sign in the Autographing Area.