You can't support yourself with a Pumpkin
November 13, 2014 11:05 AM   Subscribe

Marc Maron interviews Allie Brosh from Hyperbole and a Half (previously) about her work, her life, and coping with depression. Interview begins at 23:30. [tw: suicide]
posted by Mchelly (57 comments total) 86 users marked this as a favorite
 
Wow, the sister thing. Damn.
posted by leotrotsky at 11:54 AM on November 13, 2014 [3 favorites]


Two of my favorite people! This is fantastic!

[on seeming okay] "I carry it off much better than I think the reality is." - I know so much what this means. I've suffered from chronic depression for most of my life, and in the past couple of years, I've been trying a number of medical and therapy combinations, but it mostly doesn't work.

I don't talk about this, of course, because mental health issues are often so stigmatized, but on the weird occasions that someone finds out, and says "You seem happy.", 'carrying it off' is exactly how my mind describes what I'm doing. I'm putting up a facade because it's easier than explaining why I just want to hide under my desk in the dark.

I've always admired Brosch for her openness about her spirals of depression, anxiety and apathy. I don't think it's something I could do.

(Though I do still shave my head when I can't stand looking at myself in the mirror anymore, also because it's nice in summer.)
posted by quin at 12:03 PM on November 13, 2014 [17 favorites]


I like Allie Brosh more than I dislike Marc Maron, so I will eat this up voraciously.
posted by blue t-shirt at 12:07 PM on November 13, 2014 [4 favorites]


Is there a transcript anywhere or am I out of luck.
posted by poffin boffin at 12:08 PM on November 13, 2014 [8 favorites]


Is this podcast something that usually ends up transcribed somewhere? I can't listen to this kind of thing but I'm eager to hear what Brosch has to say, and would love to read it all at some point.
posted by komara at 12:08 PM on November 13, 2014 [6 favorites]


I don't think there's any organized transcription efforts for WTF normally. But maybe there's enough interest in this case that someone might do one.

I had not expected this one to be so good. I went in kind of assuming that this would be one of those "I don't know or understand what you do but your publicist said yes so" interviews, but it turns out he read her book (had no idea about the blog or internet reception of HaaH) and was way into it, so he's engaged all the way through.

(For people who don't normally listen to WTF: you can generally skim past the first 10-17 minutes of maroning and the mini-interview to the main show, but today's mini-interview is with Joel McHale, who speaks very movingly about working with Robin Williams.)

Allie just tweeted for the first time in 151 days and seems a little uneasy. I don't know if she knew what she was in for in terms of audience and distribution and I hope the internet is relatively kind and a little bit respectful of her space.
posted by Lyn Never at 12:57 PM on November 13, 2014 [9 favorites]


While it isn't perfect, I've noticed that she seems to get less flack than most from the internet at large. I hope that trend continues, because no one deserves that.
posted by Twain Device at 1:04 PM on November 13, 2014 [2 favorites]


I was delighted to see the Hyperbole and a Half calendar at my Barnes and Noble -- I hope she makes some money from it.
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 1:09 PM on November 13, 2014


While it isn't perfect, I've noticed that she seems to get less flack than most from the internet at large.

I assume it's because she has yet to express any kind of "controversial" opinion, aka has never mentioned the dreaded F word, and while I feel like it's a terrible thing to say, I hope she remains un-publicly-opinionated for her own health and safety.
posted by poffin boffin at 1:12 PM on November 13, 2014 [15 favorites]


Forgive my ignorance, but which F word, poffin?
posted by Hermione Granger at 1:58 PM on November 13, 2014


Could it be .... feminist?
posted by allthinky at 1:59 PM on November 13, 2014 [4 favorites]


A well-known hedge fund quoted Brosh in a quarterly letter to investors earlier this year. At the time I got a kick out of it and wanted to tell someone. But I could not think of anyone who would care. I don't think Metafilter will care either but I am still typing this and now I am posting it.
posted by mullacc at 2:06 PM on November 13, 2014 [51 favorites]


I care that alot, mullacc.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 2:08 PM on November 13, 2014 [28 favorites]


Count me in on wanting a transcript.

Also, Allie Brosh is my hero. I wish I could write a tenth as well as she can. She's overcome her demons in a way I have yet to, and in many ways helps be the same kind of person for depressed people that out queer celebrities are for queer people.

She is the best of all the things.

ALL THE THINGS
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 2:11 PM on November 13, 2014 [6 favorites]


I got to the goose story in her book and I started laughing so hard that tears were streaming down my face and I was sobbing, and my 4-year-old said, "Mommy, why are you crying?" "I'm laughing so hard that I'm crying because this book is really funny." "That is not how laughing works." "That's sometimes how laughing works." (long pause) "Mommy, I do not think you are reading that book right. I will pat your back until you feel better."
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 2:13 PM on November 13, 2014 [133 favorites]


PARP
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 2:17 PM on November 13, 2014 [31 favorites]


It's really worth listening to. I think Maron is a great interviewer though I'm disappointed by his show and other stuff.
posted by zutalors! at 2:21 PM on November 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


I'm subscribed to WTF and listened to it last night. It makes sense that Marc would be a fan of Allie Brosh. Allie is also a fan of Marc Maron and is familiar with his stand-up, which she mentions in the podcast.

I wasn't much of a fan of Maron's comedy, though I liked it, but WTF is often excellent, and it's clear he's on a journey with this work. It won't please everyone, but I appreciate his brutal honesty and openness about what it means to heal and struggle along the way. It's not the best podcast on mental illness, because that's not its focus, but what comes up in his garage is worthwhile.

And of course I adore Brosh for her honesty and humor about her own struggles, and had her book pre-ordered a long time before it was published. Happy to know she's working on another. As a fellow ADHD / depressive, I can relate, but really it's about so much more than that.
posted by krinklyfig at 2:23 PM on November 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


"PARP"

I take my dog to the parp almost every single day. It is a word that she knows.
posted by komara at 2:25 PM on November 13, 2014 [9 favorites]


Could it be .... feminist?
SHHHHHH.

For real, though, I loved this interview. I was surprised by how well Brosh and Maron got on, but it kind of makes sense. They're both accustomed to acknowledging and articulating and dissecting and second-guessing their feelings, and are able to talk with great candor—even though one of them is a funny internet lady and the other is an angry stand-up guy.
posted by evidenceofabsence at 2:29 PM on November 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


Geez, Allie's sister. Just awful.
posted by chris88 at 2:33 PM on November 13, 2014 [2 favorites]


Specifically to Maron's style, I love how he goes wherever the interviewee goes. It's like he relates to everything everyone says, without sounding false about it. He really seems to inspire a sense of comfort. I listen to it sometimes just to get some lessons on how to talk to people better.
posted by zutalors! at 2:44 PM on November 13, 2014 [2 favorites]


This was a much better thing than I anticipated, and I really enjoyed the discussion, and I thought he handled horrifyingly painful subject matter more betterly than the NPR interview person whose name I am totally blanking on just now. Probably because he has lived it also. And she seemed to get something out of the converstation, too - especially near the end, it seemed like she was participating more like the point was to record two people shooting the shit rather than an interviewer and subject.

Also it was funny as shit that he had no clue about the blog. He's got a fun few hours in front of him at some point.
posted by you must supply a verb at 2:49 PM on November 13, 2014


Eyebrows McGee, is your daughter perhaps Baymax from Big Hero 6 in disguise?
posted by Hermione Granger at 2:56 PM on November 13, 2014


Ai ya, she is so young. But what an ambassador for a more open dialogue on depression--like she says, the disease makes its sufferers feel so alone and unrelatable, when in truth it really does have a kind of standard (not universal, of course) pathology. Listening to her and Maron on the same podcast, basically reflecting my own brain back to me, was kind of like coming home.

Specifically to Maron's style, I love how he goes wherever the interviewee goes. It's like he relates to everything everyone says, without sounding false about it. He really seems to inspire a sense of comfort. I listen to it sometimes just to get some lessons on how to talk to people better.

I am a markedly more comfortable, eager conversationalist and people-interactor-with since podcasts became a large part of my media diet, and Maron is definitely a big factor in that. Actually, WTF is great because it gives lessons in both asking the questions, and in telling the stories that answer them.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 3:01 PM on November 13, 2014 [8 favorites]


but of course cake is the only thing that matters
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 3:02 PM on November 13, 2014 [2 favorites]


you can generally skim past the first 10-17 minutes of maroning

Is this a verb that is commonly used when discussing the first bits of WTF? Because it's a really beautifully appropriate one.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 3:10 PM on November 13, 2014 [2 favorites]


The part that made me catch my breath was her saying she was doing fine off meds - for an uncomfortably short time to make that call - then shortly afterward mentioning that her sister wasn't able to stay on hers, which was part of the problem. I firmly believe that people should have the right to control their own medication, especially mental health medication, and I am in no way judging her for making that decision - I hope this is a hopeful sign of recovery. But oh, boy it worries me nonetheless.
posted by Mchelly at 3:12 PM on November 13, 2014 [3 favorites]


This is a wonderful conversation. I did not know Allie Brosh prior to listening, but I'm sure glad I at least know of her now.
posted by Jeff Morris at 3:15 PM on November 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


Is this a verb that is commonly used when discussing the first bits of WTF?

I think I made it up, but I have had half a dozen people nod in recognition when I've used it. It's something different than too much administrivia, shoutouts, awkwardly too-long Squarespace ads - it's content, but it's not the content I'm there for.

(All love for him, though. I think he's an amazing interviewer when he's on a roll, and brings out things in people that they don't expect to come out. And I don't mind him talking about himself, but it's a lot more interesting when he does it in conversation rather than rambling alone into a microphone.)
posted by Lyn Never at 3:23 PM on November 13, 2014 [2 favorites]


Can someone please tell us what the bit about Allie's sister is? I am not somewhere I can listen to this at any point in the near future.
posted by tzikeh at 3:28 PM on November 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


She had struggled with bipolar disorder for a number of years, and drove in front of a train on New Year's day or eve this past year.
posted by Lyn Never at 3:42 PM on November 13, 2014


YAYYYYY

I love the bit about exasperation at the responsibility to not kill herself, and the annoyance at not being able to consider suicide as an option. She is so great!
posted by Greg Nog at 4:06 PM on November 13, 2014 [9 favorites]


I'm trying to listen to this right now and Marc Maron is getting in the way of my enjoyment. -__-
posted by peripathetic at 4:26 PM on November 13, 2014 [2 favorites]


I'm trying to listen to this right now and Marc Maron is getting in the way of my enjoyment.

Don't worry, Marc gets in the way of his own enjoyment most of the time, too. (lock the gates!)
posted by armacy at 4:56 PM on November 13, 2014 [6 favorites]


She had struggled with bipolar disorder for a number of years, and drove in front of a train on New Year's day or eve this past year.


YAYYYYY



Awkward.....
posted by Purposeful Grimace at 5:10 PM on November 13, 2014 [18 favorites]


Allie explains these depressive mental contortions so clearly. She says when she's having a bad depressive episode, she tries to anticipate how a normal person would react to something and then do that. I know just what she means. (And then the awkwardness when you go 'off script' without realizing it -- "thanks, you... too?")
posted by cmyk at 6:13 PM on November 13, 2014 [3 favorites]


i personally like the stuff at the beginning of his podcast, but someone somewhere sorta famous made the joke that someone could become a millionaire if they made an app that just skipped the first 12 minutes or so of wtf.
posted by nadawi at 6:17 PM on November 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


someone could become a millionaire if they made an app that just skipped the first 12 minutes or so of wtf.

But then how would we find out how his cats are doing?
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 6:29 PM on November 13, 2014 [4 favorites]


mullacc: "A well-known hedge fund quoted Brosh in a quarterly letter to investors earlier this year. [...] I don't think Metafilter will care either but I am still typing this and now I am posting it."

Not only do I also care, but now I'm dying to know what the quote was.
posted by mhum at 6:36 PM on November 13, 2014 [2 favorites]


BOOMER LIVES!
posted by nadawi at 6:49 PM on November 13, 2014 [4 favorites]


I thought the way Allie mentioned her sister's death at the beginning if the interview was interesting. She sounds cagey about it, which (given what we know about Allie's struggles) immediately made me think of suicide, but she frames it as "she was sick for a long time and we knew it might happen." We so rarely hear mental illness described using the same words as physical illness.

It must be heartbreaking to know that a loved one is likely to commit suicide in the future, and to know that no matter how hard you try, you can't save them.

.
posted by Metroid Baby at 7:29 PM on November 13, 2014 [3 favorites]


Not only do I also care, but now I'm dying to know what the quote was.

"I did three things yesterday! Now I'm supposed to keep doing things? It's like the things never end!"
posted by mullacc at 8:15 PM on November 13, 2014 [15 favorites]


Reverse engineering reactions is spot on.
posted by estuardo at 8:44 PM on November 13, 2014


I love the bit about exasperation at the responsibility to not kill herself, and the annoyance at not being able to consider suicide as an option. She is so great!

Yeah, I'm glad she mentioned it. It's like, you can't really take responsibility for other people's feelings. And yet... as Marc mentions, it could be the thing that prevents her or someone else from taking their own life, in one of those dark moments. So, maybe it's a net positive, but you go through therapy and try to let go of that stuff, and acknowledge the potential impact of your decisions at the same time. It's a long road with plenty of places to veer way off course and get lost in the wilderness.

i personally like the stuff at the beginning of his podcast, but someone somewhere sorta famous made the joke that someone could become a millionaire if they made an app that just skipped the first 12 minutes or so of wtf.

Maybe. The way he did it pretty much saved his own career and kickstarted (not as in funded through the infamous website) the whole genre of comedy podcasting, which is huge now. He's truly a pioneer, warts and all, and I can't see why he should try to please an audience before himself. Be true to yourself, your art, and never be afraid to be yourself, is pretty much what the Night Vale thread was about.

You don't have to please everyone, and you probably shouldn't pursue a creative career with that goal mind- that is if you want to have a fulfilling career and create honest work. Otherwise, plenty of people pursue the biggest audience, but that's almost always hacky and insincere.

I mean it's weird that I defend the guy in a way. I think we might not even get along at first if we met in person. But he's true to himself in this work, and that really shows. Anyway, plenty of people skip the intro. The interviews by themselves are worth the download.
posted by krinklyfig at 11:00 PM on November 13, 2014 [2 favorites]


Awkward.....

Just imagine it was said in the opposite corners of the room during a party and you were in the middle.
posted by hat_eater at 12:12 AM on November 14, 2014 [5 favorites]


Maron strikes me as a being an unconscious "interviewer savant": I don't think he has a specific skill that he mindfully executes, but his instincts for talking are really good. If he had a partner who would edit down some of the rambling --just a tiny bit -- I think it would be even better.

I listened to the first bit of the interview yesterday and I am eager to finish it. Maron seems to have found a path for himself through his depression, and I hope that Brosh does the same because she's fantastic.
posted by wenestvedt at 3:24 AM on November 14, 2014 [1 favorite]


Re. all the transcript requests: I'm currently running the podcast MP3 through Mac's dictation feature, and it's dumping out a big text file that after some hopefully light editing should do adequately as a transcript. Where is a good place I can put it? Like an Imgur for text files?
posted by narain at 5:12 AM on November 14, 2014 [2 favorites]


narain, I think Pastebin would do what you want. And it would be greatly appreciated - I'm not likely to have the time to listen to the interview today, but reading it during other things would be excellent!
posted by Kortney at 6:16 AM on November 14, 2014


When Marc said "People who don't know who they are can't shave their heads!" it really demonstrated the kind of deep, soul-getting understanding that I think a lot of interviewers and "media people" don't really have for Allie. I've listened to a lot of interviews of her where people are like "Whoa, you are actually. . . you have some. . . oh hey you are also SUPER FUNNY let's focus on that!"
posted by KathrynT at 9:50 AM on November 14, 2014 [9 favorites]


You can hate on Marc's skills as much as you like, but he's said of himself he's not much of an interviewer so I feel a bit like it's as pointless as hating on a random guy on the street's inability to play in the NFL, when he still has fun playing flag football in his yard.

I have ha-ha-only-seriously joked that Johnny Carson taught me to talk to people, since I was once painfully shy and awkward, but once I discovered the simple formula of interviewing people, I was able to bend reality to my anxious, OCD needs and it became a tiny show of sorts, one where people seem to like being in the spotlight, no matter how small it is. But, Marc Maron has taught me to relate to people. When he's sitting and chatting with someone and he finds a common point he seizes it so gleefully and plays with it so excitedly, you can't help but find a useful handle from his elation to grasp the personality a little better. I've started trying my hardest to relate to everyone in my day-to-day life like that at least once. The last twenty minutes of this interview are as good as anything I've read or heard from the two of these amazing people and have given me plenty to think about, so if you're on the fence about one or the other, by gum, sit yerself down and listen, you won't be disappointed at the time taken.
posted by 1f2frfbf at 10:53 AM on November 14, 2014 [6 favorites]


It must be heartbreaking to know that a loved one is likely to commit suicide in the future, and to know that no matter how hard you try, you can't save them.

Speaking only for my own experience, it is heartbreaking in the sense that having a loved one with a lingering but terminal illness is heartbreaking, or losing someone to sudden events is heartbreaking. You're also not going to save anyone from cancer or stroke or heart attack or car accidents. There's nothing special about suicide; it is only a shared illusion that it is universally preventable and therefore worse than any other way that people die. You can do things to reduce your risk, just like you can lower your blood pressure or cholesterol or stop smoking. But people die, and when they're dead it doesn't really matter how they died, just that they're gone. We have a weird sense of these things where we openly talk about people losing a long battle with cancer with respect for their struggle and their ability to persevere for as long as they did, but losing a long battle with depression or mental illness is somehow evidence of personal weakness or familial failure. These things happen. A person's propensity for suicide is not the most important or most interesting thing about them, but I think we let our own social horror about suicide overwhelm any sense of the individual. People are more than their obituaries, especially if their obituaries haven't been written yet.
posted by Errant at 11:40 AM on November 14, 2014 [29 favorites]


Shit, guys, this is a looong interview, and it turns out Mac OS X's dictation is not very good at multi-person conversations. I've got this huge 15,000-word text file and half the words are wrong and it's just not going to be useful for anybody without a hell of a lot of clean up. I'm going to try to do it anyway and I'll keep adding the text here as I go, but it might be a few days before it's all done. Hopefully it'll still be useful for somebody? If that somebody is you, MeMail me so I know you exist :)
posted by narain at 12:02 PM on November 14, 2014 [10 favorites]


I would love to read that! I've always read way quicker than I can listen, so.... yeah, I enjoy this idea! Thank you!
posted by Rev. Syung Myung Me at 4:51 PM on November 14, 2014


Transcript's done! http://pastebin.com/ubCjcDzm

someone tell poffin boffin
posted by narain at 1:23 AM on November 25, 2014 [5 favorites]


Thank you!

Also, I may not know how to pastebin correctly because the version I see cuts off at line 111 and I can't find anything longer.
posted by komara at 6:52 AM on November 25, 2014


That's my bad! Sorry, there seem to have been some invalid characters in the file that made Pastebin cut it off. Fixed now!
posted by narain at 7:41 AM on November 25, 2014 [1 favorite]


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