All aboard the podcast hype-train.
Podcasts have been around for more than ten years, but lately they’ve been picking up steam. This is no surprise, podcasts are superior to radio programing in nearly every way. There’s no censorship, there’s no forced advertising and the creator has much more artistic freedom.
Radio is dead, and has been for quite sometime.
And there’s plenty of great podcasts out there. Some of my favorites are “Revisionist History,” with Malcom Gladwell, “Popcast,” by the New York Times and my current obsession, Marc Maron’s “WTF Podcast.”
Maron began his podcast long before the hype train left the station. If you’re unfamiliar with the WTF Podcast it’s recorded in Maron’s garage in Los Angeles and he’s conducted more than 840 interviews guests. His subjects range from comedian Ray Ramano to the sitting president Barack Obama. (The later was the first time a president had been featured on a podcast.)
I admire Marc Maron’s consistency and dedication to publishing content. I know first hand how difficult it can be to create something and stick with it. I enjoy interview technique which further emphasizes the creative freedom within the podcast medium. He simply switches on the recording midway through a natural conversation, often times without telling the subject.
“You’re so good at just slipping right in,” Lena Dunham, creator of the HBO show “Girls,” said before giggling about the double entendre. “We just got into it on a friendly level and suddenly we’re doing the podcast.”
It’s this type of intimacy Maron shares with his guests that provide a personal and authentic quality to the interview.
One of my personal favorites was an interview with Donald Glover, creator of the FX show “Atlanta” and brainchild behind recording artist Childish Gambino. Maron opened the interview by apologizing for the ants in his garage and the two began discussing their battles with ants in their homes.
If you listen closely, you’ll also notice how many people enjoy his garage-turned recording studio.
“You’re garage is the shit,” actor Danny McBride said. “It’s even more magical than I imagined.”
Aside from being an amazing host, a pioneer of a new medium, I also admire the struggles Maron has endured and kept pressing forward. He’s a stand up comic with more than 17-years of sobriety. His soberiety is even more impressive given the group of comics he ran with and the people he looked idolized. The fact that the comic who looked up to Keith Richards and survived running with Sam Kinison in the ’80s, managed to remain sober, is a beacon of hope for the hopeless.
And it’s not just staying sober that counts. To anyone who’s suffered similar struggles, Maron’s attempts to remain positive and battle self destruction – even while sober, are a reminder that even though remaining sober should be your top priority, life will inevitably come crashing down around you, leaving you with handfuls of broken glass and a mangled frames. Even though you’re remaining sober, you’ll still be amazed with how gracefully you disappoint people that depend on you. Even if you’re sober, you’ll still want to smack the stars out of your neighbor and tell him there’s no sensible reason to spend money to make his truck louder and more obnoxious.
Marc Maron is a reminder that “living sober” is almost as important as remaining sober.
So what does Marc Maron have to offer? To me, it’s a sense of survival and hope. It’s great to be hopeful, but you’re going to have to survive the journey along the way.
You can check out his WTF Podcast on iTunes and Spotify. His newest special “Too Real,” was just released on Netflix and you order his book “Attempting Normal” and preorder his newest book “Waiting for the Punch: Words to live by from the WTF Podcast” on Amazon.
Images via marcmeetsobama.com and Netflix