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"If you tell me you care about something, I'm gonna smash it."
February 2, 2011 3:58 PM   Subscribe

Marc Maron — comedian, former Air America host, and now podcaster of WTF fame — attempts and fails(?) to interview prop-comedy bête noire Gallagher. Total batshit insanity ensues. (Interview starts just after the 20-minute mark; WTF podcast is of course NSFW.)

Previously (and previouslier) on MeFi.
posted by Strange Interlude (58 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite

 
I saw Maron that night at Helium Comedy Club -- he said Gallagher had lectured him, saying, "You do that kind of personal comedy, you'll never be able to get booked at State Fairs!!" His response, of course, was "Who wants to perform at state fairs?"

Gallagher also asked for a guest set at the show (no), then agreed to perform at a new local open mic -- where he paced around on the sidewalk but refused to go inside or perform.
posted by msalt at 4:04 PM on February 2, 2011


Maron also went in depth about this interview on a recent Adam Carolla podcast.
posted by aerotive at 4:12 PM on February 2, 2011


Would have loved to seen Gallagher at the Boiler Room and get heckled by a ladies night out pissed that Karaoke won't start until the 2 hours of open-mic comedy are done.
posted by wcfields at 4:15 PM on February 2, 2011


Ah, Boiler Room. So many traumatic nights there....
posted by Philipschall at 4:17 PM on February 2, 2011


Watching Gallagher get older and go supernova is totally awesome.
posted by phaedon at 4:17 PM on February 2, 2011 [3 favorites]


When does the total batshit insanity start?
posted by punkfloyd at 4:27 PM on February 2, 2011


Addendum: In case anybody was wondering (I sure was) about Gallagher's bizarre claim regarding his ownership of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, here's some background that I found on the aspecialthing forums.
posted by Strange Interlude at 4:29 PM on February 2, 2011


I was thinking of posting this myself. The thing is, that no matter what Gallagher says, his tone of simultaneous whining and condescension made me want to punch him within 10 minutes.

I'm really surprised Maron held on as long as he did.
posted by lumpenprole at 4:31 PM on February 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


Interesting, I actually can't stand the whining and condescension of Maron in this segment, and I'm surprised Gallagher held on as long as he did.
posted by phaedon at 4:33 PM on February 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


When does the total batshit insanity start?

21:20
posted by kuujjuarapik at 4:39 PM on February 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


I had no idea Gallagher wanted to start a boy band.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:41 PM on February 2, 2011


When does the total batshit insanity start?

35:45 is another good place to start.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:45 PM on February 2, 2011


That picture of Marc Maron was nothing like I was expecting, and it took me a minute to figure out why: I've never listened to Maron or seen him before now, and at some level in my internal comedian database, I'd confused him with Taylor Negron.
posted by Halloween Jack at 4:49 PM on February 2, 2011


"we use technology before we understand it".

He sounds more lucid than I would have imagined (it was a low bar).
posted by el io at 4:51 PM on February 2, 2011


then I got to 35 minutes in.... now he meets my batshitinsane expectations.
posted by el io at 4:58 PM on February 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


punkfloyd> When does the total batshit insanity start?

There's a part before the total breakdown near the end, where Gallagher seems to think that he's a scientific genius. He claims to have studied chemistry and has patents (I'm willing to believe both of these are true, but I'd bet that those patents have expired) and goes to various universities and discusses his thoughts with professors.

He then mentions that he has ideas concerning medical cures. At this point, I thought, "Okay, so he focused in biochemistry. Or organic chemistry." He then says that he has ideas for alternative energy, and at this point, you're forced to conclude that either Gallagher is a scientific genius or completely delusional. Then there's a discussion of "photons versus electrons", and Gallagher then states categorically that the full body scanners at airports have no negative effects on health (which is disputed in the case of X-ray scanners, but may be correct) because those emit photons, which have no mass and are therefore harmless.

At which point, I realized that the professors at those universities had Gallagher come by for the entertainment value. Just not the entertainment that Gallagher thinks he's providing.
posted by UrineSoakedRube at 5:07 PM on February 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


At this point, isn't interviewing Gallagher for the batshitinsane lulz a little bit like poking an old, mean, blind dog with a stick just to watch it spiral into an aimless barking and growling frenzy? As mean as the dog may be, the act is still pointless and cruel. Which isn't to say that Gallagher gets nearly as much sympathy from me as the dog does. But still, something doesn't sit right with me about the LOLGALLAGHER trend.
posted by treepour at 5:10 PM on February 2, 2011 [8 favorites]


Marc Maron interviews comics. Gallagher is a comic.
posted by Gamien Boffenburg at 5:22 PM on February 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


I actually can't stand the whining and condescension of Maron in this segment

In this segment?
posted by ripley_ at 5:24 PM on February 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


From The Stranger: Gallagher is a Paranoid Right-Wing Watermelon Smashing Maniac
posted by ShooBoo at 5:25 PM on February 2, 2011


I listened to this last night and it is all so banal. It is the same conversation had over every Thanksgiving day table across America where the smarmy kid that gets his news exclusively from the Daily Show argues with the near senile older uncle that gets his from Rush.

This is just the bonus round because you add the already tainted quantity of Gallagher with the irritating "I am right, you are Republican" smugness of an Air America personality.
posted by munchingzombie at 5:28 PM on February 2, 2011


I really don't think that Maron set out to LOLGALLAGHER though.

While he's not afraid to get in up to his elbows, he's generally pretty good about getting inside someone's head, not so much for the yuks, but because he wants to know what they believe.

Of course, I've only heard 4 interviews so far, so I may still be underinformed.
posted by Sportbilly at 5:30 PM on February 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Addendum: In case anybody was wondering (I sure was) about Gallagher's bizarre claim regarding his ownership of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

I was curious about this as well. What I found interesting about it is that he really didn't sound bitter about his supposed getting cut out of profits (which sounds like a plausible Hollywood dick-move that is probably done at every opportunity); that lack of bitterness made his claims of not being motivated by money convincing.

I think he craves respect (not an uncommon human craving).

His problem is that a significant portion of the population is genuinely offended by his offensive words towards the GLBT community and his unabated hatred towards "Arabs". While he does have a (racist/homophobic rhetoric accepting) audience, much of America is really offended by him. In his earlier career many folks just shrugged when they weren't amused by his humor, but wouldn't necessarily go out of their way to express their disgust for him.

So he doesn't get respect.

Even folks that tolerate racism in many contexts don't want to be associated with someone so sloppy with their racism (and homophobia).

In this interview everything was going pretty much okay (if not a bit weird in places), but then when it came to discuss his viewpoints that are 'controversial' he got defensive, argumentative.

For me one thing that is interesting about him is that he is somewhat public. His attitudes are not uncommon in America, but they are portrayed less and less in the public eye. We, as a country, are starting to become ashamed of these viewpoints.

I hope.
posted by el io at 5:34 PM on February 2, 2011 [3 favorites]


Halloween Jack: "That picture of Marc Maron was nothing like I was expecting, and it took me a minute to figure out why: I've never listened to Maron or seen him before now, and at some level in my internal comedian database, I'd confused him with Taylor Negron"

Thank you! A couple years back I saw Taylor Negron perform but confused him with Tig Notaro because of their initials. Since then I've been constantly surprised to find out Tig Notaro is a woman and not the comedian of whom I was thinking, but I couldn't recall the correct name until your post.
posted by sharkfu at 5:45 PM on February 2, 2011


It sounds like he read Bill O'Reilly's How-To book on conducting interviews.
posted by digsrus at 5:48 PM on February 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


I always confuse Marc Maron with Marc "Skippy" Price. Somebody please tell me I'm not the only one.
posted by entropicamericana at 5:59 PM on February 2, 2011


I looked Gallagher up after I listened to the podcast. I had never heard of him before, although that is probably due to my not being American and being outside of a certain age bracket.

Contrary to his numerous assertions, (IMO) his recent work portrays him as a racist, sexist, homophobic pig.

His main defence in the interview was that he was simply adapting his routine to his audience.

It's really irrelevant whether he himself believes that to be the case. It's also irrelevant that he considers that he is merely 'giving the audience what they want'. If you set out to make bigots laugh by being bigoted, then you are feeding bigotry.

I thought that Maron tried to be reasonable for the most part. But by Maron's own admission, he got a bit heated because he felt that Gallagher was being aggressive and overly defensive.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 6:11 PM on February 2, 2011


At this point, isn't interviewing Gallagher for the batshitinsane lulz

Maron never does this, imo. I've listened to the bulk of his podcasts and I'm usually impressed with how diplomatic and understanding he is. When Gallagher walked out, I thought that Maron genuinely wanted to discuss the topic at hand. Unfortunately, he was not familiar with Gallagher on a personal level and clearly was pushing his buttons without being aware the he didn't like to have his buttons pushed.
posted by dobbs at 6:15 PM on February 2, 2011 [4 favorites]


jesus, that bus drove right the fuck off the pier.
posted by boo_radley at 6:30 PM on February 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


I saw gallagher at a county fair near portland. tl;dr: Women/men no longer adhere to gender roles and that makes Gallagher uncomfortable, as it is now hard to discern homosexuals from the rest of the populace. He had a child onstage and berated her for not having a feminine enough name. Mexicans are numerous and often do menial labor. He also used the phrase "chinamen". The end of the show devolved into some kind of bizarre mass baptism, where he invited a load of people on stage to be splatter with detritus which didn't really happen and was just a lot of yelling.
posted by Betty_effn_White at 6:45 PM on February 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


My family LOVES Gallagher, and it makes sense because Betty-effin-White's comment sounds quite a lot like Thanksgiving at my parents'.

Which is why I live so far, far away now.
posted by biddeford at 7:14 PM on February 2, 2011



I always confuse Marc Maron with Marc "Skippy" Price. Somebody please tell me I'm not the only one.



You just may be the only one.
posted by Liquidwolf at 7:19 PM on February 2, 2011


I *really really really* care about Gallagher. Will he smash himself, please?
posted by symbioid at 7:28 PM on February 2, 2011


Would have loved to seen Gallagher at the Boiler Room and get heckled by a ladies night out pissed that Karaoke won't start until the 2 hours of open-mic comedy are done.

It was actually Sway Bar, Mustard Man's new room at SE 5th and Morrison.
(Hey, Phillipschall, Brock. It's Saltveit, in clever pseudonymous disguise. )
/inside baseball
posted by msalt at 7:54 PM on February 2, 2011


I'm not going to link to anything on youtube, but in the 80s, if you knew Gallagher was going to be on a show -- the tonight show or good morning america or whatever, you were in for some serious funny. It was prop comedy most of the time. Maybe he's got a secret death wish for Carrottop or something.
posted by Catblack at 8:04 PM on February 2, 2011


Hm. I was just checking Metafilter before I called Gallagher. (He's on my cell phone favorites, right below my parents.) This will probably be a long post.

This comment demands to be linked to in any thread about Gallagher.
posted by roll truck roll at 8:07 PM on February 2, 2011 [4 favorites]


I'm pretty new to Marc Maron both as a comedian and as an interviewer. It's apparent in short fucking order that he's a pretty damaged dude who has qualms with a lot of the comedians around him he's seen go on to greater success (He used to live with Louis CK, David Cross, was best friends with Sam Kinison for Christ's sake.)

Which, to my mind made this interview all the more compelling. In some ways, Marc Maron is a micro Gallagher, unreasonably resentful of his colleagues successes. The difference is that he's willing to say it to their faces and take a nice long soak in his self-loathing. Gallagher instead likes to pour it on everyone else.

I think if you listen to Marc Maron's interviews with controversial subject or about controversial subjects (see his conversations with Carlos Mencia/Robin Williams re: joke thievery) he's incredibly judicious and incredibly brave. Gallagher just seemed to me to be incredibly sad.
posted by orville sash at 8:12 PM on February 2, 2011 [10 favorites]


Thanks for this. It's great that we can have a thread about it. We had a very similar conversation in the stand up metric thread (which I took a not small part in).

Gallagher has a very business-oriented, dare I say antiquated view of what stand up comedy is: he sees himself as an entertainer for hire, who's responsible for making a particular audience laugh on a particular night and creating a show (or, curating a show from street jokes and prop comedy) to make that particular audience feel like their 40 bucks was worth it. He's not particularly interested in standing by his lesbian jokes because he's not interested in standing by any of his material: it's all just raw meat for the comedy grinder.

I take the position that stand up comedy is a particular form of (performance) art and, as such, quality stand up follows a lot of the same principles as any quality art: it's personal, it's created with a coherent artistic vision, it exists within a body of work, its content isn't subject to undue audience influence. Most importantly, I think that art exists within a temporal context, and all contemporary stand up exists as an outcome of, in particular, Richard Pryor (as personal monologuist), George Carlin (as "perspective comic") and Steve Martin (as a deconstructor of the form).

So, what's the distinction between edgy comedy as art and offensive comedy as offensive? When Louis CK says "faggot" on stage, it's part of a larger context in which Louis is critiquing and parodying his own use of the word and by extension, asking his audience to do the same. When Gallagher says "faggot", he's engaging in an amplified form of playground bullying. Steve Martin could have well been imitating Gallagher when he told this joke recorded on Let's Get Small:
I don't like to offend people, I don't do any fag jokes or anything like that ... well, how many fags do we have in the audience tonight? ... Just a couple? ... Okay, these two fruits are walking down the street, and...
At the end of the day, of course, there's nothing that stops you from going to a Gallagher show and enjoying yourself, just like there's nothing that stops you from putting a Thomas Kincade painting on your wall and getting lots of pleasure from looking at it. But anyone who called a Kincade painting fine art would be considered a dilettante, and rightly so. The same should be said for anyone who tries to lump these street style comics (Gallagher, Jeff Dunham, et al) in with those practicing stand up as an art.
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 10:19 PM on February 2, 2011 [9 favorites]


unreasonably resentful of his colleagues successes

"he hates himself / he's mad when others do well"
posted by drjimmy11 at 10:20 PM on February 2, 2011


When Louis CK says "faggot" on stage, it's part of a larger context in which Louis is critiquing and parodying his own use of the word and by extension, asking his audience to do the same. When Gallagher says "faggot", he's engaging in an amplified form of playground bullying.

I agree with most of what you said, but this part highlights the laziness and dishonestly of certain practitioners of "alternative" comedy (Looking at you, Mr. Oswald). Saying, in effect: "I can say the exact same thing as you, but you're a racist or a bigot and I'm not, because I went to college and call myself 'alternative.'"

The Steve Martin thing is kind of a red herring- that album is from the mid-70s, I seriously doubt he would use the word "fag" today.
posted by drjimmy11 at 10:25 PM on February 2, 2011


drjimmy11: "Saying, in effect: "I can say the exact same thing as you, but you're a racist or a bigot and I'm not, because I went to college and call myself 'alternative.'""

I'm not sure how to parse this. I mean, 90% of CK's act is about his own awareness that as a white, straight male the world is biased in his favor. I'm not talking about some hidden meaning or deconstruction thing; that's what the dude is literally talking about.
posted by roll truck roll at 10:38 PM on February 2, 2011 [9 favorites]


"Jay's act was very forgettable."

Referring to Leno.
posted by codacorolla at 10:45 PM on February 2, 2011


I was at the same show you were, msalt. I'm a little bit afraid of that podcast. I'm pretty sure I won't listen to it.

I am fully aware of how broken and fucked up Marc Maron's head is, and I still love him. I guess it's because he's as aware of it as anyone else and isn't afraid to bring the brokenness to the table. And I feel like many of his interviews, particularly with comics he's known well for years, are a way of making amends. Dude is still struggling with sobriety, I think, and has to make sure his guest knows (a) that he used to hate them, (b) that he isn't sure how he feels about them at the start of the interview, but (c) by the end, he's cool with them, and they are cool with him, and all is well. The Louis CK interview was a good example of that.

I think Maron's a funny comic and a very skilled interviewer. I loved his show and bought the cat ranch t-shirt. I listen to his podcast faithfully. Except for the Gallagher one.
posted by That's Numberwang! at 11:02 PM on February 2, 2011 [8 favorites]


treepour: "At this point, isn't interviewing Gallagher for the batshitinsane lulz a little bit like poking an old, mean, blind dog with a stick just to watch it spiral into an aimless barking and growling frenzy? As mean as the dog may be, the act is still pointless and cruel. Which isn't to say that Gallagher gets nearly as much sympathy from me as the dog does. But still, something doesn't sit right with me about the LOLGALLAGHER trend."

The "old, mean dog's" manager called Maron:
Now, here is what happened. My manager got a call from a guy who said he was Gallagher’s manager. He wanted to know if Gallagher could do a spot on my show and maybe do the podcast. I said no way is he doing a spot on my show but he could certainly do the podcast. Gallagher, THE Gallagher, not the brother doing Gallagher, came to my hotel room. I wanted to ask him about recent accusations of racism, homophobia and just being a general right wing douchebag. I wanted to be respectful though. He is a comic and he is a household name. So, I approached him as a comic. Well, after about 30 minutes he got up and stormed out like a child. I was actually afraid he would come to one of my shows and heckle and try to teach me a lesson about comedy. That is why he huffed out. He thought I wasn't letting him school me enough.
FWIW, I had the same reaction as you. Gallagher is old-school and Marc Maron is relatively old school "alternative" comedy but both have been around for over 20 years so it wasn't too much of a stretch to see how this interview could take place.

The weird thing about this podcast is that Marc Maron really wasn't being hard on the guy at all. I've heard other WTF podcasts that were a lot more heated and tense but in the end, everyone involved knows better than to take things too personally. Gallagher sounded like he was expecting the question and when it came, he sort of shot his anger load too quickly and that was the beginning of the end.

That's Numberwang!: "I was at the same show you were, msalt. I'm a little bit afraid of that podcast. I'm pretty sure I won't listen to it."

Do it!
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 11:12 PM on February 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


Gallagher's straight? He sounds like Liberace?
posted by PeterMcDermott at 12:31 AM on February 3, 2011


drjimmy11: "The Steve Martin thing is kind of a red herring- that album is from the mid-70s, I seriously doubt he would use the word "fag" today."

In the context of Martin's act, the joke is part of a broader imitation of a hacky comedian or vaudeville act - that it makes fun of comedians who only roll out their offensive jokes in front of people who won't get offended makes it unusually prescient today.
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 6:20 AM on February 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


I think if you listen to Marc Maron's interviews with controversial subject or about controversial subjects (see his conversations with Carlos Mencia/Robin Williams re: joke thievery) he's incredibly judicious and incredibly brave.

Also, his podcast interview with Dane Cook. Maron is very frank, and dogged, and will simply not let a question go until he's got an answer he is satisfied with (which is sometimes good and sometimes annoying). He hounds and digs at Dane Cook for a solid hour about why Cook is so hated by other comics. Cook, to his credit, never loses his cool or gets defensive. It's worth a listen.
posted by notmydesk at 7:33 AM on February 3, 2011


Ok, so two cranky comedians walk into a podcast...
posted by orme at 8:17 AM on February 3, 2011


the laziness and dishonestly of certain practitioners of "alternative" comedy (Looking at you, Mr. Oswald)

Whoa, whoa, whoa. Are you referring to Patton Oswalt? If so, what is "lazy" or "dishonest" about his work?
posted by grubi at 8:38 AM on February 3, 2011


Wow. Gallagher really hates Johnny Carson.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:42 AM on February 3, 2011


Somebody really, really needs to do a YTMND just with the clip of Gallagher saying "These kids study Pokemon cards!"
posted by infinitywaltz at 10:39 AM on February 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


grubi: "the laziness and dishonestly of certain practitioners of "alternative" comedy (Looking at you, Mr. Oswald)

Whoa, whoa, whoa. Are you referring to Patton Oswalt? If so, what is "lazy" or "dishonest" about his work?
"

Maron interview with Oswalt really made me like him. Before, Oswalt always came off to me as a smarmy, mealy-mouthed little prick but now he's a smarmy, mealy-mouthed little prick with some back-story.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 12:02 PM on February 3, 2011


the laziness and dishonestly of certain practitioners of "alternative" comedy (Looking at you, Mr. Oswald)

Whoa, whoa, whoa. Are you referring to Patton Oswalt? If so, what is "lazy" or "dishonest" about his work?

I think he's referring to 1960s funnyman Lee Harvey Oswald, whose classic book-depository routine indirectly inspired Gallagher's sledge-o-matic.
posted by Strange Interlude at 5:10 PM on February 3, 2011 [4 favorites]


I thought I would be cringing the whole time while listening to the podcast but I thought it was a great conversation. It's too bad Gallagher walked out. I think Maron escalated things just a bit but overall I have a better understanding of who Gallagher is and it's not the one-dimensional caricature that the Stranger portrayed.
posted by photoslob at 5:44 PM on February 3, 2011


Gallagher sounds like a world-class asshole. Jesus.
posted by dbiedny at 7:42 PM on February 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


"I can say the exact same thing as you, but you're a racist or a bigot and I'm not, because I went to college and call myself 'alternative.'"

What?
posted by Gamien Boffenburg at 1:28 AM on February 4, 2011


Man, no love for Gallagher here, but I think Maron came off sounding like a complete dick. (And I normally love his podcast.) I mean, Maron seemed to be saying it's perfectly ok to tell racist jokes (a la Lisa Lampanelli since she has sex with black men). What is this bullshit? I've heard her shtick, and I don't think she's exactly having sex with all the other races she ridicules, to boot.

I mean, a lot of racial jokes don't bother me (even the ones you would think would effect me), but it fucking BUGS me that Maron is playing the "it's ok if your fuckbuddies are black" card.

Also, Maron was insinuating a lot of things about Gallagher which I think were just kind of unnecessary. I DID think Maron was giving Gallagher a hard time, which is fine, but then Maron tried to backpedal with this further bullshit of "I'm JUST asking questions!" "We're JUST talking about comedy!" No, you really weren't, Maron. You were giving him a lot of shit. Just please own up to it and try not to play it off as JUST being curious, or JUST being an interviewer.

My respect for Maron was really killed by that interview.
posted by The ____ of Justice at 1:54 AM on February 5, 2011


I think it would be funny if Gallagher was right and that laughing at racist jokes were just a healthy way to achieve a sort of healthy catharsis of your natural race hate. And he's just this technician grimly going about fostering this catharsis.
posted by I Foody at 7:39 AM on February 13, 2011


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