60 Trivia Tidbits About Marc Maron on His 60th Birthday

#54: Sam Kinison once peed on his bed
60 Trivia Tidbits About Marc Maron on His 60th Birthday

Marc Maron’s career has been one of ups and downs. While hilarious, his regular appearances on shows like Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn and Late Night with Conan O’Brien failed to lead to larger success. Then came 2009 and a new medium to try: podcasting. Starting the WTF podcast out of his garage, Maron has since become one of the most respected interviewers in entertainment, revitalizing both his comedy and acting career. 

Maron turns 60 today, and we’re here to celebrate with 60 trivia tidbits about his life and career…

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Jersey Boy

Maron was born in Jersey City, New Jersey, on September 27, 1963. As a child, he moved to Alaska for a couple of years but primarily grew up in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

He Was an Overweight Child

In his act, Maron shared that, “For the first nine years of my life, I was a fat kid.” 

Being an Entertainer Didn’t Interest Him

In an interview with Howard Stern, Maron admitted, “I don’t know that I ever got into it initially to be an entertainer. I think I got into it because, when I watched comedy when I was a kid, it was like, those guys got an angle on things, they can understand — they’ve got a way of managing the world.”

He Was Terrified of Doing Stand-Up

Of his early stand-up, Maron said he was “terrified all the time. I tell people that for however long it takes, about 80 percent of your energy goes into pretending you’re not afraid. That, for me, went on for years.”

Doorman at The Comedy Store

In 1987, Maron went to Los Angeles to do comedy and got a job as the doorman at The Comedy Store. “Being a doorman at The Store was a sort of rite of passage,” Maron has explained. “It meant that you were there and that you could find your way on stage.”

Maron Meets Sam Kinison

Maron met Kinison at The Comedy Store just before Kinison hit it big. On Howard Stern, Maron recounted their first meeting, which resulted in them doing drugs all night. 

They Became Fast Friends

Kinison became a friend and mentor to Maron. Kinison also, at one point, peed on Maron’s bed.

They Eventually Had a Falling Out

Maron has explained that, “By the time I left (The Comedy Store), I was fairly well out of my mind and had a big fallout with Sam. I was moving toward cocaine psychosis. It took a long time to shake the power of that place because you enter this kind of dark mythology that’s always been part of The Store. Sam, being somewhat of a Satanic warlock, was really capitalizing on any darkness. I’m lucky I lived through it, really.”

He Bounced Around A Lot

“I hit the wall in like ‘87, ‘88, and I went back to Albuquerque and cleaned up,” Maron recalled in an interview. “Then I went back to Boston, where I had gone to college, and that’s really where I started doing comedy. The boom was over, but Boston had a regional comedy scene, so I started working. I moved to New York in ‘89 to try to make it in a legitimate comedy scene, to get some TV attention and stuff. And then, in ‘92, I was fucked up again, and I left New York. I went to San Francisco for a couple years. I was chasing the dream, you know? I was desperately trying to work as a comic.”

Maron’s Favorite Music

In 2011, Maron was a guest DJ on KCRW out of L.A. His song choices were “Heroes” by David Bowie, “Beyond Belief” by Elvis Costello, “American Girl” by Tom Petty, “It’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll” by the Rolling Stones and “Hell Ain’t a Bad Place to Be” by AC/DC.

Regular Guest on Conan

Maron appeared on Late Night with Conan O’Brien more than 40 times. His first set was on January 25, 1994, and covered earthquakes, being in New York, and using the StairMaster.

Comedy Has Helped Him Survive

“Comedy disarms things. It protects you. There’s a defensiveness involved in it. I think it helps me survive,” Maron has said.

An Animation Cel from ‘Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist’ Hangs on his Wall

In the mid-1990s, Maron appeared on the Comedy Central show Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist. For our oral history of the series, Maron told us, “The format of Dr. Katz was unique, and that’s why the show worked. I knew Jonathan as a stand-up, and he’d found this thing that totally honored his style. Also, the context of the show was just comics talking about themselves, which many of us do as an act. The nature of the format of being in therapy was brilliant because we could do what we do — talk about ourselves and how we see the world. I really enjoyed it. I’ve still got a cel of me on Dr. Katz hanging on my wall.”

An Early Hosting Gig

After Jon Stewart and Mark S. Allen, Maron was the third person to host the early Comedy Central show, Short Attention Span Theaterbeginning in 1993.

He and Jon Stewart Don’t Get Along

Although Maron and Stewart started in comedy around the same time, Stewart’s career took off much faster, and Maron reacted with jealousy and resentment. He called Stewart a sellout and talked about him on stage. Years later, Maron asked Stewart to appear on WTF to set things right, but Stewart declined.

Tough Crowd

From 2002 to 2004, Maron was a regular on Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn, along with comics like Patrice O’Neal, Keith Robinson, Jim Norton, Judy Gold and Greg Giraldo.

He Almost Quit Comedy After the Chevy Chase Roast

“I did the Chevy Chase Roast, and it was one of the worst nights of my life,” Maron told Howard Stern. Maron bombed so badly, particularly in front of fellow comics, that it made him consider quitting comedy.

Air America Led to ‘WTF’

In 2006, Maron took a job hosting a late-night radio show on the liberal talk radio station Air America. While it lasted just six months, he credits the show with leading to his podcast.

‘WTF’s Hits the Airwaves

Maron dropped the first episode of WTF on September 1, 2009. The guest was Jeff Ross.

Why He Started His Podcast

Maron said he began WTF because “I needed to keep doing something. I was looking down the tunnel of being a B-room headliner or a headliner that didn’t have a following, and that’s a hard life.”

‘WTF’s Early Guests

Maron primarily booked comedians as guests on early WTF episodes because he always wanted to be known as a comedian first, not a podcaster.

He’s Still a Comedian First

Years into his podcast, Maron was asked if he still sees himself as a comedian first. Maron said, “That’s what I always was, and when everything falls apart, that’s what I end up being. It’s in my heart. I’ve certainly been doing a hell of a lot of stand-up lately. That’s what got me here. That’s what possessed me, and that’s what drives me still. I think I’m doing the best material of my life right now as a comic. I still see it that way. Even if people see me as more of an interviewer, that’s fine; I can accept that. But for me, I’m still a stand-up.”

The Meaning Behind ‘Boomer Lives’

Maron ends his podcasts by saying, “Boomer lives.” When explaining the catchphrase, Maron said, “Boomer was a cat I had years ago that disappeared. It was traumatic, and it became this rallying cry at the end of my podcast as a sort of homage to my missing cat. We never knew what happened to him.”

What He Gets Out of the Podcast

“The real initial momentum of the podcast was that I needed to reconnect with my peers and learn how to laugh again and be part of something,” Maron has said. “I had gotten very bitter and very marginalized. I was not in a good place. A lot of the initial episodes were me needing to talk for a lot of personal reasons. Some of that still carries, only I’ve learned how to enjoy conversations again and just listening and sort of lending an empathetic ear and trying to connect in a genuine way. I get a lot out of it.”

Maron’s Famous Garage

After doing nearly 1,000 WTF episodes out of his garage, Maron moved in 2018. His podcast was temporarily relocated to a bedroom in his new house before finally moving to his new garage.

He Was a Member of Dethklok on ‘Metalocalypse’

Maron appeared on three episodes of Metalocalypse, the Adult Swim show about a death metal band named Dethklok. He played Magnus Hammersmith, the band’s original rhythm guitarist.

He Interviewed Krusty

He appeared as himself on an episode of The Simpsons and interviewed Krusty the Clown. Krusty revealed to Maron that he has a phobia of pies.

He Voiced Lex Luthor

Maron played Lex Luthor in the 2022 animated movie DC League of Super-Pets despite telling Variety that he’s not a fan of animated films. “They wanted me to be dry and sarcastic,” Maron said of Luthor. “So I played it kind of like me, but with a little more of a bite. That one, I didn’t even realize it was a big movie. They were just like, ‘Do you want to do this voice for Lex Luthor?’ and I was like, ‘Yeah!’ I thought it was a TV series, but now it’s going to be a huge movie. I should probably research more.”

He’s Vegan

At the beginning of 2023, Maron became a vegan. “After my forced, jarring cleanse for a colonoscopy last weekend, I’ve decided to go plant-based for as long as I can take it,” he said in January. As of September, he’s stuck with it.

Though He Has Mocked Vegans in the Past

In a 2014 set, he joked that veganism is an “ideological eating disorder.”

Maron Does Hold Some Stuff Back

Being a comedian who shares a lot about his personal life, Maron was asked if it’s strange that people know so much about him. Maron responded, “Of course I do, but that’s sort of the world I’ve chosen. It can get dicey. I know I put a lot out there, and I know that some people do know a lot about me, but I try to keep a couple of things inside. I try to hold back. It’s a very little bit, but there might be one or two things.”

From Bleak to Dark

In a meeting for a would-be FX series, an executive gave this note to Maron: “Great story, great writing. I have no specific notes, but is there any way we can get it from ‘bleak’ to ‘dark’?” Maron later named his first HBO comedy special Marc Maron: From Bleak to Dark

He’s in ‘Almost Famous’

Maron played an angry promoter in the Oscar-winning film Almost Famous. He and Noah Taylor — who played band manager Dick Roswell — largely improvised a fight in a parking lot.

He Once Played a Squirrel

Maron appeared as a talking squirrel on the iconic cartoon Adventure Time

Maron in ‘Maron’

In 2013, Maron starred in Maron, an IFC show about a fictionalized version of himself. It lasted four seasons and was nominated for a Writers Guild of America Award for Television: Episodic Comedy.

‘Maron’ Was Less Autobiographical than People Thought

About Maron, Maron told The Hollywood Reporter, “Obviously, there is creative license taken. Nothing happens exactly as it did in real life, (but) it’s just sort of this weird thing that people want to believe about me: that this is some sort of reality show. But it’s a very scripted half-hour comedy that sometimes gets emotionally gnarly. I would say that most of this season, outside of small events and emotional drive, is all fictionalized. I don’t mind that people want to believe that this is my life on the line here, but it’s really a 22-minute TV show.”

Why He Did ‘Maron’

When asked why he wanted to make Maron at that point in his career, Maron said, “I wanted to work as a stand-up comic, and that’s what I set out to do when I was 20 or 21. Then, as time goes on, part of the deal is that you try to build a show around yourself. But by the time I had started podcasting, I’d really given up on a lot of things because they just sort of crapped out on me. When I met with Apostle, the production company — just a general meeting with Jim Serpico over there — we started talking about the podcast. ‘Well, what can we do with the podcast?’ I basically said, ‘Well, I got this great idea for a TV show about a guy who made a lot of mistakes in his life and now runs a show out of his garage where he talks to celebrities and tries to get his shit together.’ (Jim) was like, ‘Well, that’s a good idea.’”

‘Maron’ Ended After Four Years

Maron decided to end Maron after Season Four. When asked why, he said, “IFC gave us a lot of creative freedom, but I feel like it’s done, and I’m proud of it. And I don’t see any reason to keep going. I’m just glad that I am able to say I’m done, and it could be my decision.”

Maron in ‘GLOW’

Maron played exploitation film director Sam Sylvia in GLOW, about the “Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling.” When asked what drew him to the role, Maron said, “I thought he would be a fun, sad character to play. I liked his disposition and brokenness.”

Working with Maron

When describing working with Maron, GLOW co-star Betty Gilpin said, “He is exactly how you would picture him. In one moment, he’s the curmudgeonly sea captain, and in the next, he’s the sweetest little boy on Christmas morning.

He Wants to Finish ‘GLOW’

GLOW shut down during production of its fourth and final season due to the pandemic, with Netflix later deciding to cancel it. In response, Maron publicly asked Netflix to “Let us wrap it up in a two-hour Netflix movie. Give the showrunners and the cast and the writers the chance to finish the story in a movie.”

His Cut Scene from ‘Joker’

He appeared in Todd Phillips’ Joker in 2019 as the producer of Robert De Niro’s character’s talk show. In addition to his dressing room scene with Joaquin Phoenix, Maron also filmed a walk-and-talk scene with De Niro, which was cut. “(Phillips) didn’t want to have anything in the movie that Joaquin wasn’t in,” Maron said, which helped the film maintain its feeling of whether or not it was real or just the Joker’s perspective.

But He Doesn’t Like Superhero Movies

Despite appearing in Joker, Maron has often been critical of superhero movies, saying they are made for “grown, male nerd childs.”

Carlos Mencia’s Back-to-Back ‘WTF’ Interviews

In 2010, Maron questioned comedian Carlos Mencia about stealing jokes. Dissatisfied with Mencia’s reluctant responses, Maron had him on again just a few days later, and Mencia better addressed the issue.

Robin Williams’ ‘WTF’ Interview

One of Maron’s most beloved WTF guests was Williams, who came onto the show in 2010. Williams noted that his act wasn’t deeply personal, like Maron’s, but was still therapeutic. There was also an exchange that, in retrospect, after Williams’ death, was unsettling. As Slate describes it, “At one point (Williams) mentioned a comic named ‘Freaky’ Ralph Eno who lit himself on fire. ‘To close?’ Maron asked, thinking maybe this was the concluding flourish in Eno’s unusual stage act. ‘No,’ Williams said, briefly taken aback by the question. ‘To end his life.’”

Patrice O’Neal Got Personal on ‘WTF’

Maron had O’Neal on WTF about a year before he died in 2011. Among the many topics discussed was a statutory rape conviction O’Neal faced when he was a teenager and serving time in prison. 

Bourdain on ‘WTF’

In 2011, Anthony Bourdain appeared as a guest on WTF. He and Maron discussed their mutual struggles with mental health and substance abuse.

Gallagher Walked Out of an Interview

In 2011, Maron also had on the late comedian Gallagher, who walked out of the interview after Maron confronted him for telling bigoted jokes.

Maron’s Biggest Fish

After countless big-name guests on WTF, Maron snagged an interview with President Barack Obama in 2015. Obama came to Maron’s basement to discuss racism, gun control and smoking cigarettes.

WTF Is the Deal with…

In June 2020, Maron interviewed Jerry Seinfeld, with things getting contentious. The two were discussing the deeper meanings of comedy, and Seinfeld fundamentally disagreed with Maron’s take that comedy can be meaningful. The interview served to show the vast difference in the styles of the two men, with Maron being a deeply personal comic and Seinfeld’s comedy being strictly observational and never personal. 

‘WTF’ Is an Award Winner

In 2021, WTF won the first-ever Governors Award from the Awards for Excellence in Audio.

Maron on Grief

Maron’s partner, director Lynn Shelton, died of an undiagnosed blood disorder in May 2020. Two days later, Maron decided to record his podcast as scheduled: “I thought that if I go on the mics in this state — because people knew she passed — that it would speak to something that’s never spoken to. Those feelings that I was having are usually had alone or with close family, but I thought it would help people to go on in that state.” 

He Would Sometimes Cry on Stage

Following Shelton’s death, Maron would occasionally cry on stage. He said, “I would cry on stage, and I wouldn’t know how to get out of it, but (because) of how I write, I knew, eventually, I had to make it funny because crying’s not that entertaining.”

Opening Up On Stage

Maron said he’s more willing to open up on stage than in his own life because it’s “less risky.” 

Maron’s Stand-Up Audience

Maron admitted he’s not an “arena act” comic, and audiences have to really “lock in” to what he’s doing to enjoy him. He’s often said, “I don’t have a demographic; I have a disposition.”

No End in Sight for ‘WTF’

In 2022, Maron signed a deal to bring WTF to Acast but promised there wouldn’t be any changes to the show. Maron added that while the deal was for three years, he sees no end to the podcast in sight: “We’ve released two episodes every week for almost 13 years, and we don’t plan on stopping any time soon.”

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