Tonight my friend Jodi Lennon asked me to introduce a screening of her documentary Marc Maron: The Voice Of Something. It’s a short film following a typical day in Marc’s life… a week after September 11th, 2001. Jodi held on to this footage for ten years and she and Nick Mougis cut together something extremely special.
Here is what I read tonight before the screening…
I’m sure a lot of us in here tonight have formed an intimate relationship in our own heads with Marc Maron by listening to his podcast twice a week. This is something that I believe Marc would be delighted by, but also would find completely unsettling.
I’m sure he’d be charmed by the fact that there’s a lot of us in this room who know exactly who Boomer, LaFonda and Monkey are, but would want to make goddamn sure that we had our facts straight about them. Boomer is the dirt cat, LaFonda doesn’t like being photographed, and I don’t know enough about Monkey to even feel comfortable making any kind of statement in a public forum.
This is the kind of shit that happens when you have a guy talking directly into your head for a few hours every day for a couple of years. You begin to think about Marc Maron and his cats.
Even as I’m reading this to you, I’m thinking, “Fuck, should I be doing this? Should I be on stage in Staten Island talking about Marc Maron’s cats? This is gonna get back to him. Someone’s tweeting him right now and the context is all fucked up. No one could convey it in 140 characters and I’m gonna get an angry e-mail:
From: Marcmaron@aol.com (He probably doesn’t have AOL)
To: email@example.com (I certainly don’t have AOL, I just don’t want you writing me)
What the fuck are you saying about me?
That’s it, that’s the whole e-mail – not even signed.
That would be TERRIFYING.
What could my possible response be?
It’s no different than me talking about Katy Perry’s cat on stage. You know she has a cat named Kitty Purry, right? I wonder if Boomer, Monkey and LaFonda would get along with Kitty Purry? LOL. I hope you’re good.
We all know that would not go over well.
The reason why I bring up the relationship in my head with Marc Maron’s cats — I think it speaks to the wonderful thing he’s created with WTF, something that so many of us have become invested in every week. I really care about what’s going on in Marc’s garage. Not just the one Marc tapes the podcast in, but the garage that exists in his HEAD that he’s been cleaning out in front of us for 20 years.
Marc is a big part of a lot of people’s lives now and that makes me very, very happy. Probably because he’s been in my life since I was a kid. More than he knows.
The first time I met Marc I was eight years old. Just for a moment, I want you to imagine Marc Maron interacting with me as a child, a wide-eyed fresh-faced kid staring up at him with innocence and wonder. Just imagine him staring back at me going…
“So, we good?”
That’s actually not how our first encounter went, because I was an incredibly cool kid. Don’t worry the coolness would eventually lead to heroin, because everything in the 1995 Larry Clark film Kids was true. Much like Marc, I’m now sober many years.
I grew up in Philadelphia and would visit my Dad in New York City on the weekends and he would take me on wildly age inappropriate misadventures.
“Hey, Dad! What’s The Rocky Horror Picture Show?” I’d ask him.
“Oh, the campy 70’s transvestite musical? Sure, I’ll take you to that! That’s a perfectly acceptable thing to take an eight-year-old to! You mind if I get high first?”
“Hey Dad, Hairspray was a great movie! What else has John Waters’ made?”
“Oh son, you gotta see Pink Flamingos! I know you’re only eight years old so I’m gonna do the responsible thing and fast forward past the scene where two hippies fuck a chicken to death.”
Let me just say right now, the chicken fuck scene in Pink Flamingos is traumatizing enough for an adult at regular speed. To an eight-year-old in fast-forward?
“Hey Dad, I like comedy!”
“Oh let’s go fucking see stand-up at The Village Gate. A young Marc Maron, just coming out of his Sam Kinison doing coke at The Comedy Store years is working out some shit on stage!”
So, I would see Marc do stand-up in New York City a lot. I actually found an old journal of mine. This is what an eight year-old Jake Fogelnest had to say about Marc Maron:
“Marc’s an incredibly raw talent with a unique voice, reminiscent of early Lenny Bruce, but far from a Bruce impersonator. Whatever room you’re in, you can bet Maron’s gonna be one of the edgiest, smartest guys in there.”
Truthfully, I wrote that like an hour ago, but if I had kept a journal as an eight year old, it probably would’ve read just like that. And by nine I would’ve been cutting it up and rearranging like William Burroughs.
Again, growing up in the city is weird.
Marc was always really cool to me as a kid, engaging my Father and I in conversation from the stage but also after the show, because he was curious to learn, what lunatic brings a child to a nightclub? I’m 33 and I still don’t have a straight answer from my Father. Even as a kid, he was my favorite (Maron, not my Dad). I don’t remember any of the other comics that used to go up at the Gate. Maron always stood out.
Now that Marc has been consistently in my head for a couple hours twice a week, I’ve found myself wondering, “God, what did he think when that eight year-old kid was now a sixteen year-old with an MTV show and the same manager as him?”
I have this image I completely manufactured in my head of Marc on the phone in 1996 screaming at Dave Becky, “What the fuck, man? I’m fucking drowning over here and you’re busy on with fuckin’ SQUiRT TV? What do I gotta be a sixteen year old with a haircut thing going on, saying, ‘Oh I like The Partridge Family hahaha!’ Fuck you, Dave! Lock the gate!!”
At 33 years old, the idea that I had a show on MTV when I was sixteen irritates ME. I cannot imagine what Marc Maron was thinking back then.
Of course the truth of the matter is, Dave Becky wasn’t on the phone with either of us. He was talking to Chris Rock.
It was around that time that I would see Marc at Luna Lounge and I genuinely look back on that time and his work there as one of the coolest moments in comedy history. It’s the closest I will ever get in my life to being one of those guys who gets to say, “Oh yeah, I saw The Velvet Underground at Max’s.” It really was that special.
And I love that from listening to Marc’s podcast that he seems to have NO idea that he was, as Tom Scharpling put it, “like the Fonzie of Luna.” He was always pretty nice to me, sometimes nicer than others, but that’s Marc. Or that was Marc in the late 90’s. Marc in 2012… it’s a really good Marc Maron.
On his podcast, Marc always asks people, “Who are your guys?” Who are the people that influenced you? That you really liked when you were younger. I saw him about a month ago in San Francisco and it was great. I told him: “Hey. You’re one of my guys.”
Then he made some sort of condescending comment about me being a disc jockey.
No, he was great and I watched him do one of the best sets I’ve ever seen. If you only listen to the podcast, fuckin’ please go see him do standup because what he does is rare.
To me, Marc Maron has always been the voice of SOMETHING.
That’s the title of the documentary you’re about to see. I think it’s perfect. Jodi will tell you more about it. Thanks.
Oh, before I go, tonight’s show is sponsored by audible.com, if you want a free audiobook download, just go to audible.com and enter code: WTF. DO IT!!!!