The mind of Marc Maron may not be a pretty place, but it is a funny one.
Like many comedians, Maron has weaponized his self-doubt, turning it into the material that propels a TV show, two memoirs, the chart-topping “WTF Podcast” and sold-out, stand-up shows around the country.
Fans of his work who want to see the man in person will finally get a chance at his first real stand-up show in New Orleans at the Joy Theater on May 17.
Maron’s anxiety may fuel his comedy, but the inner voice telling him that he’s going to screw everything up is a little quieter these days, at least for now.
“It’s still there, but I trust myself a little more. But I don’t necessarily trust the rest of the world. The inner voice is not as bad as it used to be, but sometimes when I get uncomfortable or get too comfortable, I start acting out and saying stupid s***. There’s always the fear that the other shoe is going to drop, but there’s less of a fear that I’m going to cause it,” Maron said.
Like his stand-up, the IFC TV series “Maron” is based on the comedian’s own life, though the upcoming third season is based around the theme of “what if I let that voice have its way?” and deviates more than ever from its source material.
“There’s some completely unique episodes that departed from my life physically because we’ve gotten comfortable writing for the character, Marc, that’s on the show. … The seeds of the story were rooted in reality, but we took some liberties creating entirely new narratives, which was exciting and fun.”
None of Maron’s recent success would be possible without the “WTF Podcast,” which boasts 4 million downloads a month and features interviews with Conan O’Brian, Louis CK, Robin Williams and more. “WTF” was born during the tumult of a bitter divorce and recently terminated radio gig at Air America.
“After the first 11 episodes, I moved back home to my house here in L.A., which I managed not to lose, and set up the equipment in the garage and started doing the show here … and it evolved into the show it is now. It was really out of desperation more than wanting to do radio my way or any real plan. I didn’t have a lot of options at that point. ... It was a dicey time.”
Say you’re Marc Maron, and something funny happens to you. Do you tell the story in a book? A podcast? Or as stand-up? Maron is wary not to cannibalize his own material too much.
“I try to hold back some stuff. I’m more aware of not doing stuff on the podcast so I can do it on the comedy stage. … If you really look at the stuff, it’s not that similar other than it may be based in a common experience. … The mediums are all very different. And because I live my life very publicly, I don’t think it’s that surprising.”
Fans of the podcast will be familiar with the kind of material Maron will bring to his stand-up show at the Joy Theater, but all the uninitiated need to know is that he’s a lot like you. An angrier, more self-conscious you who loves cats a little too much and who has turned laughing at himself into a career.
“I talk about my anger, I talk about relationships, I talk about my weaknesses, I talk about religion a little bit, it seems like. I talk about animals. Y’know, if people know me, they know my topics, but it’s funny. It’s a solid hour and a half of stuff. It’s good. I don’t think I’ve ever been funnier, really.”
Maron takes the stage at the Joy Theater at 9 p.m. Sunday. Information about the show can be found at www.thejoytheater.com The first two seasons of “Maron” can be found on Netflix, and the third season premiers on IFC on May 14.