Courtesy of Brian Kelly
With a stand-up comedy tour, an upcoming television series, a critically acclaimed podcast and a book in the works, Marc Maron has had a busy year.
“Life is crazy lately,” Maron said. “I’m never really not working. It’s not necessarily fast-paced, it just never stops.”
The comedian, author and radio personality is slated to bring his stand-up act to Columbus’ Capitol Theatre Friday as part of his “Out of the Garage” tour. The tour’s name is a nod to Maron’s popular podcast, “WTF with Marc Maron,” which he records twice a week from his garage.
The podcast’s success has helped Maron land a scripted TV series, “Maron,” which is scheduled to premiere in May on IFC, as well as a book deal.
But while it might seem there is no outlet Maron won’t use to share his humor with the masses, he insists stand-up remains his first love.
“For comedy, stand-up is still the great thing,” Maron said. “For just talking to people in general, the podcast is pretty great, but stand-up is still the best delivery system for the comedy.”
Maron said he knew since he was 10 years old that he wanted to be a stand-up comedian, after being inspired by comedy kings like Don Rickles, Steve Martin and George Carlin.
“I wanted to do stand-up, I think, just because laughing at stuff gave me such a handle on things and it just made things easier,” Maron said. “I just thought it’d be a pretty noble and amazing job.”
Maron, whose stand-up is inspired by “aggravation, obstacles and funny situations,” said his humor has changed, and probably improved, over the years.
“I hope a lot of things have changed,” Maron said. “When I was younger and doing stand-up, it wasn’t as funny as it could be. Now, there’s no real fear of the audience – I have a pretty good freedom of mind and I’m as true to myself as I could be.”
Kyle Tolliver, a third-year in biomedical engineering and member of 8th Floor Improv, an improvisational comedy group at Ohio State, said Maron inspires him as a comedian.
“He’s definitely a very honest and real comedian,” said Tolliver, who said he has seen Maron’s stand-up specials on Comedy Central and frequently listens to his podcast. “It takes a lot of courage to be that open not only with yourself, but with the thousands of people you’re performing in front of.”
As a stand-up comedian, Maron has appeared on Conan O’Brien’s talk show, “Conan,” more than 40 times, making him one of the show’s most-featured comedian. O’Brien, in turn, has been a guest on Maron’s podcast, in which Maron interviews his comedic peers. His past guest list boasts celebrities like Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, Robin Williams, Louis C.K. and Zach Galifianakis. C.K. once described Maron as “a startlingly honest, compelling and hilarious comedian-poet. Truly one of the greatest of all time.”
Tolliver said he thinks the podcast’s appeal lies in Maron’s ability to open himself up emotionally, as well as his guests.
“I really enjoy it because it takes him and another comedian and instead of just doing jokes, they talk about their lives,” Tolliver said. “It’s nice to see the behind-the-scenes of a comedian and what they do personally instead of just doing their material.”
Maron said he agrees the interviews are very honest because of his complete control over the series.
“I’m kind of addicted to engaging and having these kinds of conversations with people,” Maron said of the podcast. “I like doing it and it’s become important to me emotionally. I do it out of my garage, so I can talk freely and have control. It’s 100 percent mine. No one can really screw with it and that’s a pretty good feeling.”
Though it is now one of the most-watched podcasts on iTunes, averaging more than 2.75 million downloads per month, according to PBS, Maron said it was initially born out of “desperation.”
“I was in a bind financially and emotionally, and my career was kind of crapped out,” Maron said. “I had this job at a radio station but I got fired, so me and my producer just started f—ing around with that. It was really born out of the need to do something.”
More than three years after its September 2009 debut, Maron said the podcast is his proudest career achievement.
“Creating the podcast and watching it evolve into what it is now has got to be the most amazing accomplishment that I’ve done because we made it out of nothing,” Maron said.
But Maron is still reaching toward future career goals, focusing on his semi-autobiographical TV show, “Maron,” which he is starring in, writing and producing.
“I’d like to do more opportunities doing television,” Maron said. “This show is the first time I’ve been able to do that and I love being able to make it better.”
Tickets are available for $27.50 through Ticketmaster. Capitol Theatre is located at 77 S. High St.