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Well, Maron, I'll tell you why
July 7, 2011 4:42 PM   Subscribe

Marc Maron interviews Todd Hanson, 20-year veteran writer of The Onion. If you love The Onion, listen to the interview. If you can relate with depression, listen to this interview.
posted by Taft (39 comments total) 53 users marked this as a favorite

 
Conversation starts at 11:30
posted by Taft at 4:54 PM on July 7, 2011


Can someone do a little sales pitch?
posted by grobstein at 5:11 PM on July 7, 2011


I will listen to this, thanks. Maron is an annoying podcaster in a lot of ways, but man can he get people talking.
posted by Bookhouse at 5:32 PM on July 7, 2011 [3 favorites]


Maron's podcast is one of the best. Haven't listened to this one yet. Excited to listen.

If you're not familiar with Marc Maron, the loose premise is that he's been around for 20+ years as a standup, for a lot of that time respected by many but friends with few. In the past couple years he's turned his podcast into a blend of confessions, reparations, and biting comedy to create some of the best and most personal interviews with some of the most elusive types of people (funny ones) that I've ever heard, and simultaneously reinvented his own career.
posted by SmileyChewtrain at 5:41 PM on July 7, 2011 [10 favorites]


I listen to the podcast at work, and for this interview pt 2 I just had to stop and listen for awhile. Maron always gets an incredible angle on his subjects.
posted by Think_Long at 5:46 PM on July 7, 2011



I will listen to this, thanks. Maron is an annoying podcaster in a lot of ways, but man can he get people talking.


This is my conflict with Marc Maron. He really lets you inside his head and heads of his interviewees, but those are not places I really want to be in. So I admire it, and I never want to listen to it again.
posted by The Whelk at 5:50 PM on July 7, 2011 [5 favorites]


I loved listening to this one. Compelling, occasionally hilarious, and really human. Marc Maron certainly isn't a shrinking violet, but if, like me, you come to love his presenting style, there really isn't anything out there that beats WTF. I make a date twice a week to listen to the show, and I absolutely love it. It's even overtaken This American Life as my favourite podcast.
posted by RokkitNite at 5:54 PM on July 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


Is there a transcript?
I guess the utterly despairing, painful tone of some Onion articles wasn't just a coincidence.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 6:00 PM on July 7, 2011


Quite related, and well worth a listen: Todd Hason on The Moth Podcast
posted by brownchickenbrowncow at 6:03 PM on July 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


Sigh, Todd Hanson*
posted by brownchickenbrowncow at 6:04 PM on July 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


I've mentioned before how much I like Maron's podcast. The one from a few days back where he interviewed the comic who ended up talking a lot about his christian belief -- more and more as he realized Maron wasn't going to mock him for it -- was fascinating, in spite of my personal feelings about christianity.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:45 PM on July 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


Stavros - I enjoyed that one, too. Like when Marc says something about "yeah, and I bet I can guess your views on abortion, too", and he (Nick Thune) goes, "uh, pro choice?".
posted by rossination at 6:54 PM on July 7, 2011


Stavros - I enjoyed that one, too. Like when Marc says something about "yeah, and I bet I can guess your views on abortion, too", and he (Nick Thune) goes, "uh, pro choice?".
posted by rossination at 6:54 PM on July 7 [+] [!]


Nick Thune blew my mind. As much as I liked him before, I admire him now. His humanitarian work is impressive.
posted by gc at 7:02 PM on July 7, 2011


I enjoy WTF to the point where I have occasionally had to remind myself that Marc and I aren't actually friends - at least, not outside my head. The Nick Thune episode brought up some stuff for me. I guess he seemed pretty cool, but I realised I was fairly strongly biased against him simply because of his faith. And now I'm trying to decide whether that's something I dislike about myself.

I look forward to listening to the Todd Hanson ep, once I get to an iTunes-ier computer.
posted by Soulfather at 7:26 PM on July 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


Raw. How many times have people had an opportunity to listen to how the cognitive perceptions of depressed persons compare to the cognitive perceptions of non-depressed persons. Depression is experiential, and difficult to get across to those who have never been depressed.

This is the kind of conversation that sheds light on a disease that impacts 10's of millions of people, but is little talked about in an authentic way.
posted by Vibrissae at 7:58 PM on July 7, 2011 [3 favorites]


I just started listening to Marc Maron's podcast in the past couple of weeks, spurred by a couple of different things -- I just read Marc's ex-wife Mishna Wolff's memoir, I'm Down, and Googling her led me to him, and then I noticed that most of my favorite comedians and funny people end up on the WTF podcast at some point. And most of the professionally funny people that I admire speak very highly of WTF and Marc Maron, so I figured I should probably check it out.

What SmileyChewtrain said about reparations really rings true to me -- I was listening to the Amy Poehler episode this morning on the way to work and they were talking about back in the day when they were both working the comedy clubs, and Amy was talking about how Marc was always so disdainful of her improv troupe's work and she was like, "I always thought you hated us." And he was so apologetic, but even in his apology and praise for her talent and skill he said something like he always wanted to be like her, to "sing and dance and wear a hat", and she was all, "That's what you think I do, sing and dance and wear a hat," and he was like hey wait, I meant that in a good way, and then said some really great stuff about her work that I don't want to spoil if you haven't heard the podcast. Because it was pretty cool.

Anyway, I think maybe the guy puts his foot in his mouth now and again with his guests, but he means well and he gets some very interesting conversations going. (I'll admit sometimes I find his voice grating so I have to skip the monologue-y portion of the show. Maybe it'll grow on me?)
posted by palomar at 8:43 PM on July 7, 2011 [3 favorites]


Palomar, I always skip the monologues too.

The thing I like about Maron's interviews/dialogues with his guests is how they really end up being primers for people who want to be creative professionals.
posted by sobell at 8:55 PM on July 7, 2011 [3 favorites]


Wow. That was well worth the listen. Stick around for the last third of the podcast.

What Vibrissae said.

Great post.
posted by troll at 9:32 PM on July 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


I was listening to the Amy Poehler episode this morning...

Coincidentally, I (also new to WTF) was just listening to the interview with her today and it struck me (after his 16-minute intro lamenting his career and personal setbacks before she showed up, good Lord) that every time Poehler mentioned someone else, Maron would interrupt with "Is he happy?", "Are they happy?", etc.

I'd hazard to say that depression is a running WTF theme. Comedy = tragedy + volubility.
posted by psoas at 9:37 PM on July 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


This is my conflict with Marc Maron. He really lets you inside his head and heads of his interviewees, but those are not places I really want to be in. So I admire it, and I never want to listen to it again.

Shit, that's half the reason I keep coming back to it (the other half being that it's very often fascinating and funny). I find it almost like a fucked up group therapy session where I get to sit in the corner and just listen to folks riff and spill and deal with heavy stuff with a sense of humor and self-awareness that I find refreshing.

The one from a few days back where he interviewed the comic who ended up talking a lot about his christian belief -- more and more as he realized Maron wasn't going to mock him for it -- was fascinating, in spite of my personal feelings about christianity.

To be fair to Thune (who I'd never heard of before that episode and still have little nterest in after), it was Maron that steered the conversation in that direction and kind of kept it there.
posted by Ufez Jones at 10:04 PM on July 7, 2011


Fair enough, though -- it was fascinating stuff, to me at least. Maron steered, of course, and Thune was throughout somewhat reticent. He wasn't proselytizing at all, and that to me made what he had to say much more authentic and interesting. I'm a comedy geek to some extent, and I'd barely heard of the guy before and have, like you, no greater interest in him now. The conversation was the interesting thing, to me.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 10:15 PM on July 7, 2011


Oh, no doubt, the conversation was great. I meant that comment as more of a clarification for those that hadn't heard Thune's interview.

I've known a handful of folks that have run the "grew up churchy -> partied -> got busted -> rehab -> salvation! (all before being an actual adult)" route, but my ties with any of them are long gone, so there was a certain aspect of that episode that appealed to me on a "ten years after all of that" angle. (That said, musical comedy is almost always a beating)
posted by Ufez Jones at 10:44 PM on July 7, 2011


Hey, any mefites going to see Maron in Sunnyvale? We're going tomorrow night.
posted by roll truck roll at 11:03 PM on July 7, 2011


POW!
posted by timshel at 12:18 AM on July 8, 2011


What I really like about Marc Maron's take on podcasting is that he makes it seem like it's about him, but it's actually 100% about the interviewee.

What Palomar said above about the Amy Poehler podcast rings so true. He's had a nice string of fantastically poignant podcasts recently with Chris Titus, and especially Dave Foley.

Shit, I was crying on the bus listening to the Foley podcast. Holy shit did he get shafted.
posted by Sphinx at 1:07 AM on July 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


Haven't heard this episode yet, but did catch Hanson on the episode of The Moth that brownchickenbrowncow links to above. Immediately assumed that Hanson must have written one of my favorite Onion articles of all time, Search For Self Called Off After 38 Years.
posted by 2or3whiskeysodas at 3:49 AM on July 8, 2011


A good friend of mine used to be the office manager for the Onion in NY from around 2005 to 2008. During this time her social circle changed to include a lot of people who work at the Onion including the writers. Thus, I got to meet almost all of them. Oddly, although I saw Todd many times, we never spoke. However, I can tell you that from personal experience that the vast majority of people that work at the Onion are as cool as you think they are.
posted by josher71 at 4:31 AM on July 8, 2011


Came here to say basically what The Whelk did - I can appreciate Maron's abilities as an interviewer and a comedian, but after listening to a few eps I just started feeling weary about it. This does make me want to go back and check out some of the interviews, though. Maybe I just need to be pickier about the eps.
posted by brilliantine at 5:50 AM on July 8, 2011


the vast majority of people that work at the Onion are as cool as you think they are.

Huh. I've never thought of Onion writers as cool. More as labourers in sweatshop humour factories, semiskilled headliners contractually locked into tiny little cynical jokeboxes, compelled to repetitively punch out bon mots in the same faintly amusing voice, cranking out bland anonymous barely amusing product in the same format over and over again for no glory, little money, and less recognition.

But then again, I guess that's cool these days.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:58 AM on July 8, 2011


It's a little sweatshoppy I suppose in the fact that I think they have to come up with 75 headlines a piece, a week. I THINK that's right but this was five or six years ago. Other than that, they are compensated pretty well and are able to work on projects outside of the Onion pretty easily it seems. A fair number were doing books or working as writers on TV shows as well. It's also one of those things where there aren't that many lifers there, like Todd. The majority go on to other gigs such as The Office, or the Jimmy Fallon show.
posted by josher71 at 7:42 AM on July 8, 2011


troll: Wow. That was well worth the listen. Stick around for the last third of the podcast.

Thanks for that--I nearly closed the tab after the first hour, but gave the last third a listen after you said this. I'm glad I did, it's devastating and beautiful.
posted by joedan at 4:15 PM on July 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


Sorry, my earlier comment was unnecessarily snarky.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:33 PM on July 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


Wow, I started crying when he was talking about abandoning the cats, and never stopped. I have many more thoughts about this, but I don't even know how to articulate them right now.
posted by sweetkid at 6:54 PM on July 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


sweetkid, that part killed me. Oh my god.
posted by Taft at 9:55 PM on July 8, 2011


Having spent a weekend curled up in a fetal position recently, this was really relevant for me. FoaF was a stand-up comedian who took his life recently. It's so good to see some light shed on these really dark places.

Maybe someday we won't have to be ashamed.

Thanks for the link.
posted by Eideteker at 11:41 AM on July 9, 2011


I skip the monologues too. But the interviews are amazing. Been hooked on WTFPod for a while now, that and Resident Advisor are the only podcasts I listen to. (I bought the WTF app to support Maron but man, that thing is kinda crap.)
posted by jcruelty at 11:51 AM on July 9, 2011


Some fave interviews: Bobcat Goldthwait, Jerry Seinfeld, Jim Gaffigan... (I love that Gaffigan calls Maron on his shit, he's no shrinking violet) obv. Carlos Mencia, those two Jewish brothers who talked about sports... and all the WTF Lives, esp. the one w/ Hari Kondabolu. Sure there's many I'm forgetting. Weird thing is some of the A-Listers (Conan, Ray Romano) have been pretty dull. Much like the onion avclub, it's the random b-listers that impress the most.
posted by jcruelty at 11:55 AM on July 9, 2011


He really lets you inside his head and heads of his interviewees, but those are not places I really want to be in.

I love Mark Maron because I'm already in that place, and we're both trying frantically to tunnel our way out of it. The fact that he can get far enough outside to laugh about it is a great source of hope to me.

Like they say around 53:30, "It's like the blues. The cure for the blues is listening to the blues."
Mark: I get to a point where my anxiety is fueled by dread and worry and assuming the worst and complete fear which triggers a paralysis almost. I literally shut down and then I'm locked into this thing.

Todd: Yeah, I do the exact same thing, Mark, and it's lucky I haven't been fired. I'll probably be fired in a minute. I'm always on the verge of losing my job, because I'm missing a meeting, I'm not coming in, or I'm not turning my story in by deadline because I'm in a fetal position in my room crying.
That both of these incredibly smart, accomplished people feel this way too gives me some hope. You know, except when I'm depressed... then it is just evidence that we are all completely fucked. :)
posted by heatherann at 9:36 AM on July 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


I just finished listening to this one (at, weirdly, a riverside Minneapolis dog park that is consistently the happiest place I've ever been) and it was fantastic. I was really struck by the way Hanson put up just a tiny bit of a distancing exterior in the first conversation, and then completely dropped it and opened everything up in the second.

He also, towards the end, hit on something that I've really struggled with while riding the depression train; he mentioned something about mental health requiring a person to have a slightly-inaccurately-elevated opinion of themselves and their situation. That lined up 100% with my experience. I've always prided myself in my skill at rejecting bullshit and looking at the world "realistically" (scare quotes because I've eventually figured out that my "realistic" view was just a default-cynical POV), and it was a hell of a shock to realize that I was literally destroying my own mind by turning that faculty in on myself and constantly "realistically" calling myself out for being a useless, worthless, hypocritical fuckup.

I don't know- part of what I love about WTF in general is that Maron and a good chunk of his guests seem to be hacking through the same jungle.
posted by COBRA! at 9:44 AM on July 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


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