The Turnaround: Marc Maron

The Turnaround
Marc Maron

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Marc Maron is a standup comedian, actor, and host of one of the biggest podcasts ever: WTF with Marc Maron. Recording in his garage in Highland Park, Los Angeles, Maron has long, free-wheeling conversations with every kind of famous person you can think of, from comedians, to actors, to musicians -- even President Barack Obama when he was still in the White House.

When you listen to WTF, though, you aren't just listening for the guest. Maron has a big personality, and it shows in his interviews. He's not rattling off a list of questions, but instead he's having a really intimate and revealing conversation. It doesn't always go great, but it always reveals a lot about the guest, even if they aren't into it.

Marc and Jesse talk about what it's like recording his very popular show in his garage, his tactics for getting people to open up to him, and the differences between his standup and podcast personas. They also discuss two very different people who loom large in their consciousness: Terry Gross and Chris Hardwick.

Marc's podcast WTF with Marc Maron comes out twice a week. He also has a book called Waiting for the Punch coming out this fall.

The Turnaround is a production of Maximum Fun in partnership with the Columbia Journalism Review. Visit their website to learn more about their "mission to encourage excellence in journalism in the service of a free society," and to read edited transcripts of our other Turnaround episodes.

Hosted and created by Jesse Thorn
Produced by Kara Hart and Nick Liao
Senior Producer: Laura Swisher
Managing Director: Bikram Chatterji

Music for The Turnaround provided by Mobius Van ChocStraw.

Special thanks to Kyle Pope and his team at CJR, Darrel Frost, and Emilie Erskine.

Marc Maron, Stand Up Comic and Host of WTF: Interview on The Sound of Young America

Marc Maron

Marc Maron is a podcast host and veteran stand up comic known for his frequently emotional and neurotic comedy. He's hosted several stand up specials and frequently appears as a guest on late night television, including a record number of appearances with Conan O'Brien.

Marc began his broadcast career by hosting Morning Sedition on the now-defunct progressive radio network Air America. He started hosting his podcast WTF with Marc Maron in 2009, interviewing fellow comedians about their careers, road stories, and occasionally delving deep into personal struggles.

Marc's new comedy album is called This Has to Be Funny.

Maron returns to The Sound to pick up where we left off in our last interview, discuss how things have turned around -- and talk about how a cynic deals with success.

WTF Starts on WBEZ This Sunday!


WTF on WBEZ from WBEZ on Vimeo.

For you Chicagoans out there, WTF is coming to WBEZ starting Sunday at 8PM. Mark your calendars!

All Around Town


I've had some fun doing some friends' and colleague's shows lately, and talking up our new WTF project, so I thought I'd share some of what we've done.

Jordan and I were guests on the Ann Arbor Library's podcast, and talked about where JJGo comes from, and about how new media has changed our careers and those of the people around us.

I visited with past Sound guest Oliver Wang on his new podcast, and we talked about the history of The Sound, and about music that doing the show has introduced to me.

Our pal Matt Belknap from Never Not Funny visited The Wolf Den podcast, which is about the business of podcasting, and Marc Maron dropped in to chat about WTF on public radio. Jeff Ulrich, the show's host, described me as a poet, a player and a pimp, iirc, so I feel obliged to link that up.

Also, the Nieman Journalism Lab at Harvard followed up on their previous long interview with me with a little piece on WTF on public radio that I really enjoyed.

So, we're all caught up! Enjoy.

WTF: The Public Radio Show!


For about six months now, Sound of Young America editor Nick White and I have been working on a secret project. Now, the secret can be revealed... please welcome WTF with Marc Maron, the public radio series!

We've taken the hundreds of episodes of the WTF podcast and boiled them down to what we think is ten hours of exceptionally compelling radio. We've chosen the best stories and the best guests and made a ten-episode public radio series, produced by Marc, Nick and me.

Thanks to the kind support of Torey Malatia and Ira Glass, our first station commitment came from WBEZ and Chicago Public Media. We've got lots of other stations on tap, but feel free to let your station know it's available on PRX and that you love it. We hope that stations will air it this summer and early fall all over the country. (It was Torey and Ira's insistence, by the way, that led us to keep the name "WTF".)

If you want to hear the show, you can check it out, share it and review it on PRX. Our goal was to capture what makes WTF special and communicate it to folks who aren't comedy nerds - or even necessarily comedy fans. I think they sound wonderful.

Here's the first episode:

And here are the great promos Ira made out of the kindness of his (very kind) heart:

Jesse on WTF and TBTL. OMG!


A couple of my favorite podcasters invited me on their shows recently, and now you can check out the results.

I stopped by The Cat Ranch in beautiful Highland Park, California on a sweltering day recently and visited my friend Marc Maron. Marc visited the Sound of Young America last year, and I was repaying the favor. We talked about all kinds of stuff, including the feud Marc's insecurity was trying to start with Jad Abumrad, nerd identities and more. You can download the show from this link, and you can find iTunes info and more at

I also visited my pal Luke Burbank's live show at the Troubador in Los Angeles. I was by far the least significant person on the bill, which also featued folks like Garfunkel & Oates, Rob Corddry and Dana Gould. You can grab it in iTunes by going to, or listen to the embed below. Luke had me play a game in which I was tricked into critiquing the outfits of his producer and engineer. I come in about half an hour into the show, but the rest is pretty great, too.

More audio at

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