Marc Maron – Interview @ Wellness Day 2011
After presenting at this year’s Wellness Day 2011, the WTF with Marc Maron podcast host took some time for a one-on-one interview. Always insightful, candid and very perceptive – Marc answers some very personal and revealing questions.
For over fifteen years, Marc Maron has been writing and performing raw, honest and thought-provoking comedy for print, stage, radio and television. A legend in the stand-up community, he has appeared on HBO, Conan, Letterman, Craig Ferguson, Real Time, The Green Room, two Comedy Central Presents specials and almost every show that allows comics to perform. He has appeared on Conan O’Brien more than any other comedian (a record 46 times and counting).
His podcast WTF with Marc Maron, featuring compelling monologues and in-depth interviews with comedy icons like Conan O’Brien, Louis CK, Robin Williams and Ben Stiller – premiered in September 2009 and is a complete phenomenon. The show hits #1 on the iTunes comedy charts regularly, boasts over 24 million downloads to date and has been called a “must-listen” by Vanity Fair and New York Times, among many others. Select WTF episodes began airing on public radio stations across the US in June.
Please bookmark our YouTube Channel and keep checking back here often. Many innovative minds in the recovery world were interviewed at this year’s event and footage is being rolled out gradually over the coming weeks to the greater community.
Transcripts and links to the remainder of Marc’s interview are available below:
QUESTION 01 – Please tell us a bit about what you do and why? (link to video)
I’m Marc Maron. I host the WTF podcast, which is a monologue, followed by a one on one interview with a comedian for an hour, where we talk about everything. It usually gets pretty dark and deep. Sometimes not, but generally. Everything is talked about: Addiction. Sex, parents, gender issues, race issues, jokes. The good stuff. I started the podcast because I was at the bottom of my life and my career. I was broke and divorced but sober and I didn’t know what else to do. This medium afforded some sort of freedom and control and we just started doing it twice a week and I reached out to my community and really focused on having authentic conversations with people who I think are innate philosophers and psychologists and cultural critics whether they know it or not.
QUESTION 02 – How did you come to your field of work? (link to video)
I always wanted to be comedian since I was a little kid and then at some point I realized that it was possible. I don’t think I had a plan b. Not even sure I had a plan A. I was just compelled and once I started doing it I never stopped doing it. It’s got a lot of different waves and it ended up with me in my garage talking to people.
QUESTION 03 – How do you approach addiction directly or indirectly in your field of work? (link to video)
Well I have 12 years sober. Many of the people I talk to have addiction issues. Some more than others. Some not at all. But the way I approach it is straight up recovery, 12-step program. But when I talk about that with other people who are still active or not I don’t judge. I try to offer my help to them or my experience at least. But its sort of interesting talking to people about anything that has some emotional heft to it or any sort of problem or any sort of trauma. That’s especially talking to people who are used to talking and getting laughs or won’t let anything sit too far deeply in a conversation where it becomes bleak. I think there is a lot of strength in that. So talking to my peers about something heavy whether its addiction or not there’s a certain levity to it. There is a processing of it in the immediate moment that I think provides some people with relief.
QUESTION 04 – What role do you think creativity has in achieving wellness? (link to video)
Well depending on whether or not your creativity comes from your wellness or not is something everyone has to decide for themselves. I think that transcending the struggles of life or at least interpreting them through any individual’s creativity is really what creates proactive movement towards resolution, relief, and overcoming. I think my field, humor can be an incredible tool for keeping darkness at check and for creating a worldview that affords some levity.
QUESTION 05 – How do you think your contribution to healing people intersects with some of the other things that are going on today? (link to video)
Well I think that all I do, is have authentic conversations or I try to, in as open a way as possible. with a certain amount of instinct and trust. I think that because we have become so distant from each other even though we are among each other, whether its technology or fear, there is a lot of obstacles between the simple connections between 2 people having a conversation. And to stay in that and be an active listener is incredibly rewarding. I think its become lost and I think in a therapeutic environment a lot of times we talk about the problem and we’re addressing the problem and we all have the same problem but sometimes being just open enough to have a genuine conversation about anything, is frightening for some people because they think “what if I’m not cool? What if I don’t know what they are talking about,? What if I have a different opinion than them?” So there’s a lot of manufacturing of shields that people go through ,but I think we are all innately equipped and capable and want to have comfortable conversations and its very rewarding. It’s the core and basis of community.
QUESTION 06 – How do you think your own sobriety impacts what you do and the way you see things? (link to video)
It stops me from destroying myself. That struggle alone has fueled a lot of my perception and my stand up. And also allowing things to be what they are without hating what they are, because I think they could be something else. My brain manufactures the worst possible scenarios all the time and I react to it as if it’s real. I don’t think I would have been able to stifle that without sobriety. So I think the self-acceptance possible through being sober has changed everything because it means that at least some of the fear goes away.