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Supermensch
August 24, 2014 1:17 AM   Subscribe

Mike Myers' recent appearance on Marc Maron's WTF podcast is thoroughly entertaining. Myers is promoting his film Supermensch, but he and Maron lengthily discuss Myers' career to date. They cover Myers' TV commerical work as a child, his membership of Second City, The Comedy Store Players and Saturday Night Live, and highlights of his film career (Wayne's World, Austin Powers and Shrek). Full of delightful anecdotes and vocal impressions, it's a revealing, amusing and engaging interview.
posted by paleyellowwithorange (38 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

 
That was delightful and engaging, after the first twelve minutes of masturbatory rambly skippable irrelevancy.
posted by Mizu at 5:01 AM on August 24 [4 favorites]


For good or ill, I think he may have generated more catch-phrases than any comedian in history. Think about it:

"Schwing!"

"Would you like to touch my monkey?"

"If it's not Scottish, it's crap!"

"Get in my belly!"

"Party time! Excellent!"

"Now is ze time on Sprockets when we dance!"

"Talk amongst yourselves..."

"Oh, behave!"

"...Not!"

"Do I make you horny, baby?"

"Like buttah!"

"Shagadelic!"

"I'm getting verklempt!"

And those are just off the top of my head!
posted by Ursula Hitler at 6:00 AM on August 24 [10 favorites]


Oddly, a couple of days ago I was looking for something in the archives of Toronto's NOW Weekly and I found a 1990 cover story on local 27-year-old comedy wunderkind Mike Myers, just finishing up his first year as an SNL regular. Funny 20/20 hindsight moment: writer Daryl Jung characterizes the show as an "often faltering, 15-year-old late night tradition."
posted by ricochet biscuit at 6:54 AM on August 24 [1 favorite]


That was delightful and engaging, after the first twelve minutes of masturbatory rambly skippable irrelevancy.

Yeah, I haven't missed a WTF for years, but in that time I've skipped the first 12 minutes roughly 99.2% of the time.

WTF itself probably deserves a post or three all its own...Maron really came into his own as an interviewer, and the interviews are almost a how-to for comedy at this point. As he's gotten more famous and branched out into his interviewing people who are famous for other stuff the quality has fallen off a bit, but it's still something I never miss.

The Robin Williams interview was really, really good.
posted by nevercalm at 7:12 AM on August 24 [9 favorites]


Meyer's collapse is an interesting morality tale against hubris.
posted by PinkMoose at 7:27 AM on August 24 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I get annoyed as hell at Maron, so don't really listen that often, but I totally loved this interview. I somehow don't think I had ever considered Myers as a guy with a story and a trajectory; Waynes World came out as I was starting high school, when celebrities seemed more like part of the landscape, crafted by unfathomable geological processes, than actual humans. I loved hearing about the Toronto midnight movie scene (going for Goddard films at age 12...), kicking it with the Kids in the Hall, and fighting to get Bohemian Rhapsody into Wayne's World.
posted by kaibutsu at 7:38 AM on August 24 [2 favorites]


One of these days Maron will write a book about his failed SNL audition. His interviews with SNL alumnae all touch on that experience.
posted by lotusstp at 7:41 AM on August 24 [1 favorite]


Maron has his moments as an interviewer but the Mike Myers episode was particularly annoying. Myers was determined to share his story so when Marc interrupts with an unrelated derail to some element of his story, Myers would press on. I'm listening now to Clare Danes and she's doing well with actually making her points in response to his questions, despite his efforts to thwart that.

Most insufferable lately was the Billy Gibbons interview, where Marc fell into fanboyism and kept trying to impress Gibbons with what he knew: Gibbons starts a story about going by Muddy Waters' house and Maron INTERRUPTS to say "McKinley Morganfeld." Or Gibbons is reciting a list of who his influences are, as Marc asked him - and Marc is interjecting his own suggestions.

Also, I'd like to figure out some drinking game based on how quickly or how often Marc says "lock in."
posted by stevil at 8:16 AM on August 24 [3 favorites]


Very often, Maron's interviews simply morph into conversations, much like Norm McDonald's. I'm totally OK with that. I think this is what makes the format so appealing to me. If two people have interesting things to say to each other, I'll listen all damn day.
posted by davebush at 8:26 AM on August 24 [1 favorite]


I've found it difficult to be a fan of Myers since the irredeemably racist Love Guru. Do they address that in the interview?
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:16 AM on August 24 [1 favorite]


Myers seems to have been on this faux-humble "I'm just a guy who makes things!" schtick in all of his promo for Supermensch, and this interview was a big extension of that and Maron didn't really push past it. Despite "The Love Guru" never once being mentioned, the entire tone of the interview seemed like a combo apology/course correction/dancing around it. The shape left by it's absence was plainly visible in everything else.

But as self-serving as the interview was, it was still very interesting and I somehow still found Myers' likeable and psychologically interesting on some level. It's sort of fascinating that one of our culture's biggest, most mass-market meme generators sees himself as this perpetual underdog...he's relating how his early Wayne sketches "killed" at their first table reads, or some Canadian comedy festival or another, trying to paint it as this real hail-mary scene where failure was always just around the corner, but hindsight would make us just say "duh"...how could they not have killed? We know where he ended up. He makes mass market entertainment that he in incapable of seeing as mass market entertainment.

He also talked like he and Dana Carvey are just the best of old friends with nothing but love for each other, which I'm sure would be a surprise to Carvey.
posted by anazgnos at 9:30 AM on August 24 [2 favorites]


I've found it difficult to be a fan of Myers since the irredeemably racist Love Guru. Do they address that in the interview?

Maron mentions that's one of the only things that he was not allowed to ask about.

Maron's recent interview with Bob Mould was amazing IMO. If you're a Husker Du fan you'll love it.
posted by photoslob at 9:45 AM on August 24 [2 favorites]


Great moment:

They test screen Austin Powers and ask the audience how many people know James Bond. Two hands go up and the suits decide they need major rewrites.

Hollywood is based on the opinion of those people. And that's how we make movies.

I liked Mike. Good interview, as Maron's almost always are, but yeah about getting tired of his angst. Although, having not listened for a while, I didn't mind this one.

This long form, free form, conversational thing that's happening is podcasts is wonderful. Screw TV, this is the golden age.
posted by Trochanter at 9:51 AM on August 24 [1 favorite]


For whatever it's worth, I find Maron to have a great interview style that really gets people to open up. Part of that is his quasi-therapy shtick where he is also sharing experiences and difficulties, which I think some people get tried of, but I think it's that "sharing" vibe that gets the interview subjects to open up and say things that they don't say in other formats.

The Robin Williams one was pretty amazing. I also liked the Cheech and Chong one, which told the whole story of their career - which was wild (they started out doing skits in between burlesque acts).

I always skip the monologues.
posted by Mid at 10:59 AM on August 24 [1 favorite]


I actually found the angsty rant at the start far more interesting than the Mike Myers interview.
posted by fivebells at 11:00 AM on August 24


I find WTF fascinating because Maron is simultaneously an excellent interviewer and a thoroughly unlikeable, grating and annoying presence. Maybe it makes subjects seem better in contrast, or maybe there's something about it that allows them to open up, but it's an amazing trick.
posted by graphnerd at 11:06 AM on August 24 [4 favorites]


Am I the only one who was a bit put off my Myer's ego?

I lost count of the number of times he tooted his own horn or pointed out his own importance, and I LIKE Mike.
posted by Cosine at 11:08 AM on August 24 [1 favorite]


I find WTF fascinating because Maron is simultaneously an excellent interviewer and a thoroughly unlikeable, grating and annoying presence.

Yes - I tried listening to him (based on a recommendation by Linda Holmes on Pop Culture Happy Hour podcast, ISTR) and I found him thoroughly unpleasant. But now this thread makes me want to give him a second try - esp. for the Robin Williams IV.

(Also, I don't want to be all prudish, but he was quite sweary in the first five minutes and that was a turn-off; I guess I'm more of a David Chen fan (A Cast of Kings podcast) - clean, personable, affable, delightful. NON-sweary, generally.)

*defensively* maybe I am prudish but LOOK, I like a clean podcast, OK?
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 11:17 AM on August 24


Maron mentions that's one of the only things that he was not allowed to ask about.

It's a shame that he allows his work to be controlled like that.
posted by Mr. Six at 12:25 PM on August 24


Listened to some of it again. I think you can maybe hear the unspoken Love Guru in some of the defensiveness (?) or self justifyingness in parts.

Hell, I say talk about it. So you missed.
posted by Trochanter at 1:28 PM on August 24


Mike Myers is, basically, the George Lucas of comedy.

It's incredible that on one end of his career he made Wayne's World (and a sequel that was somehow at least as good — has any comedy done that other than the Addams Family?), and on the other hand you have Austin Powers 2, a movie that was literally 80% identical jokes to the original, except with comic timing added in some places instead of stretching literally every joke out like the running time originally turned out to be 70 minutes.
posted by DoctorFedora at 3:38 PM on August 24 [2 favorites]


Marc, if you're reading this thread--and we know you are you glorious narcissist--don't listen to these bozos complaining about your monologue or that you're abrasive. Sometimes I'll download a show and skip the interview (usually if it's an actor I never even heard of), but never the monologue. They're nearly always entertaining and insightful. Just keep doing what you're doing.
posted by king walnut at 3:58 PM on August 24 [9 favorites]


My theory on Marc Maron is that he's successful as an interviewer because he doesn't know what the hell he's doing. Your typical interview is one directional. Maron's ego actually works to his advantage, because he takes the spotlight off of his guest and makes it more of a casual conversation, and people are, I believe, willing to be more candid if they're just shooting the shit with someone than if they're an object of interrogation.

I dunno, maybe he does that by design, but I'd be surprised.
posted by echocollate at 4:25 PM on August 24 [3 favorites]


He also talked like he and Dana Carvey are just the best of old friends with nothing but love for each other, which I'm sure would be a surprise to Carvey.

I'm amazed what people think they know about other people's private lives whom they've never met. Always amazed.
posted by Ironmouth at 5:06 PM on August 24 [4 favorites]


Very often, Maron's interviews simply morph into conversations, much like Norm McDonald's. I'm totally OK with that.

Maron has explicitly said, many times, that when he started WTF, he deliberately did not want to 'do interviews', he just wanted to have conversations. I think that's what he still does, for the most part. If anything, I think he veers too far into 'interview' territory sometimes, but it's all good.

More on that in Paul F Tompkins' Speakeasy conversation with him recently, here.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:29 PM on August 24 [1 favorite]


Loved this. Myers was a massive influence growing up- I watched Austin Powers religiously (and hated the sequels for their laziness) - but was always bummed to hear that he was difficult. There was a rumour that crew on 'The Love Guru' had different coloured wristbands dictating the level of interaction they were allowed to have with him.

So I was pleased to hear him so down to earth in this. He IS responsible for so many pop
Culture catchphrases. '.....NOT!' Is still used by people who would have no idea of Wayne's World.
posted by AzzaMcKazza at 5:43 PM on August 24


No mention of So I Married an Axe Murderer? For shame.
posted by Chrysostom at 6:10 PM on August 24 [1 favorite]


What the hell happened to that Keith Moon movie Myers was supposed to star in?
posted by davebush at 6:36 PM on August 24


Mike Myers stole the show with his portrayal of Steve Rubel in 54. It's always a treat to see a comedic actor's persona disappear into a serious dramatic role.
posted by dr_dank at 7:06 PM on August 24 [1 favorite]


I love WTF. I love the monologues, I love the interviews. I can relate to Maron's neuroses.
posted by entropicamericana at 8:09 PM on August 24 [4 favorites]


I used to find them fascinating. Then it just felt like I'd heard too many of them. Look, I got problems too, buddy.
posted by Trochanter at 8:13 PM on August 24 [1 favorite]


On the other hand, I had managed to forget about The Love Guru, so I thank them for not reminding me of existence.

Of course then it got mentioned here anyway, ruining my blissful ignorance.
posted by ckape at 9:06 PM on August 24


As he's gotten more famous and branched out into his interviewing people who are famous for other stuff the quality has fallen off a bit, but it's still something I never miss.

His interviews with non-celebrities are his best work, in my opinion. The one with the guy from Dr. Bronner's was fascinating. Benmont Tench, Mark Spitz, the therapist mentioned in the Hank Azaria episode in his own interview, and Josh Radnor as well. Though I suppose Josh Radnor is a celebrity, but I'd never heard of him before. Maron is so good at finding the real person inside the celebrity that when he interviews a non-celebrity it makes for immediate and insightful conversation.
posted by GrapeApiary at 7:05 AM on August 25


the therapist mentioned in the Hank Azaria episode in his own interview

Seriously, that interview was super interesting. Phil Stutz.
posted by Lyn Never at 8:14 AM on August 25


I like all of WTF, including the angsty rants. The newest episode with Wanda Sykes is really fun, at least what I heard of it when I was getting ready for work this morning.
posted by Sheydem-tants at 9:37 AM on August 25


I'm amazed what people think they know about other people's private lives whom they've never met. Always amazed.

What a weird thing to get hung up on. I don't profess to know anything about anybody's private life, just, in this case, a very public record of ill-feelings and bad treatment from one party to another. It would be a proactive projection on my part to assume that the private reality is very different.
posted by anazgnos at 10:09 AM on August 25


I brought up Carvey only to point out the degree to which Myers kind of papered-over his own assholishness in the interview, which scanned as disingenuous to me. Even with the Love Guru blocked from mention, he struck me as somebody acutely aware of his own image problem, and the interview seemed like a constructed effort to shore up his own likability. And even with all the B.S. that entailed, he did still somehow manage to come out of it a little more likable.
posted by anazgnos at 10:16 AM on August 25


> No mention of So I Married an Axe Murderer? For shame.

In the interview or this thread? It came up a couple of times in the interview, once because Meyers was 5 weeks late to a season of SNL because the Axe shoot ran long. It was an example of how people think he's "difficult", but he's just really committed to his art.
posted by morganw at 2:11 PM on August 27


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