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Interview with Mark Maron of "Maron" on
Conference Call with Marc Maron
April 17, 2013/10:00 a.m. PDT
Molly OíGara, BWR Public Relations
Moderator: Ladies and gentlemen, thank you very much for
standing by. Welcome to todayís Conference Call with Marc
Maron. At this time, all participants are in a listen-only
mode. Later, we will conduct a question and answer session
with instructions given at that time.
With that, Iíd like to turn the conference over to our host
today, Ms. Molly OíGara. Please go ahead, maíam.
M. OíGara: Hi, everybody. Thank you so much for joining us
today for the Conference Call with Marc Maron to talk about
his new show; Maron premieres Friday, May 3rd at 10:00 p.m.
Eastern/Pacific on IFC. With that being said, David, letís
go ahead and start with the first question.
Moderator: Certainly. Thank you, weíll hear from the line of
Dave Walker with The New Orleans Times Picayune. Go ahead,
D. Walker: Hi, Marc.
M. Maron: Hi, whatís up?
D. Walker: Thanks for doing this call; I really appreciate
M. Maron: Absolutely.
D. Walker: And thanks for resetting the Jonathan Winters
piece on the site too. Could you sort of walk us through Ė
walk me through how this came about from your perspective?
How you and your life and the podcast came to be a TV show?
I know thatís a very broad question, but if you could start
there, Iíd appreciate it.
M. Maron: Absolutely. Basically, what had happened was Ė it
was really, the podcast was doing pretty well, and Jim
Serpico over at Apostle, the production house, really
enjoyed the podcast. He set a meeting with me and said look,
I love this thing. I wonder if thereís something we can do.
As a comic who knows that if you want to be on television,
every few years you have to pitch some version of the life
youíre living to TV executives to see if you can build a
show around you. Having had two or three deals in the past,
eventually you wonder if your life is going to continue
changing enough to make it unique as a story to be the
center of a show around it.
At this point, I was, like, well look, Iím a guy who
interviews celebrities in his garage, whose career was in
the toilet, and now everythingís different, and I think we
should build a show around my life, or the life I was
living, the first year or so of the podcast. Because thatís
certainly a story you couldnít have told ten years ago. And
he was into it.
He introduced me to Duncan Birmingham, whoís a writer on the
show and a co-producer. We sat down and we wrote, basically,
a pilot presentation that was never meant to be aired but to
just, sort of, be shot as such. Apostle was in business with
Fox Studio, who provided the money to, basically, shoot a
pilot presentation in my home that Duncan and I had written.
The plan was to make it 10 to 12 minutes and to show it to
potential buyers who were networks, cable networks and
regular networks, so they would get a feel of the tone of
the show we wanted to do. The production turned out to be
about 20 minutes. We had Luke Matheny direct it and Ed Asner
played my father and Angela Trimbur played the girlfriend,
and we had some other actors in there, some comics and
stuff, and we walked that around.
Theoretically, it could have been an episode, but it was not
really the plan Ė it was not quite long enough. We brought
it around to networks and IFC responded and got behind it
and wanted us to do the show. That was sort of what
happened. In the end, some of the actors changed because of
availability or just because of choices made.
Thatís how it all started. It was from a presentation based
on Jimís interest to see if we could do something with it
and my interest to sort of flesh it out in that way.
D. Walker: I had a quick followup. Tell me about if you
enjoyed the process of converting your life into a script
and then a show and how your participation Ė did it include
the small touches, like using the garage door as an iconic
moment in each episode? Tell me a little bit about that
process and whether it was difficult or something that you
thought was kind of cool.
M. Maron: Well, look, you know, to be quite honest with you,
by the time I started with the podcast, I had really let go
of the possibility of this happening. Of me doing a TV show,
or of me being a relevant comic, even. So all of this was a
surprise and it was very exciting to me.
I think that, at this point in my life, Iíve never been more
prepared to do this. Iím not a kid anymore, Iím not full of
anger and fear and out of my mind, so the opportunity was
very timely for me because I was completely ready and
excited to do this. I really had no expectation of it ever
At this point in my life, I like collaboration, I like
working with writers. I was very excited to work with other
actors. I knew I had an innate ability to act, and Iíve been
told I was good at it, but Iíve never done that. Iíve never
written for television. Iíve never produced a show. Iíve
never had the type of responsibility, creatively, that I
But I can say that I was very into it, I was very prepared
to do it, and it was completely exciting and completely
challenging in the best of ways. I was thrilled about it and
I just wanted to do a good job, I wanted to make the best
show we could with what we were given money-wise and
time-wise and talent-wise. I was completely immersed in it.
I think we did a good job.
Obviously, when you look at a first season of something, Iím
assuming that youíre like, oh, wow, maybe if we get more of
these, we could do this or we could do that. You get excited
about the possibility of doing more with the characters or
doing more with the stories. I found it completely exciting
and I was thrilled to be part of it.
Also, I worked my ... off. Iím in every scene of that show.
I didnít have a lot of time to think once shooting started
because I would go, I would act, I would do the thing, we
would fix scripts, we would do what we had to do, and then
Iíd go home and Iíd have to memorize anywhere from 8 to 15
pages for the next day. So it was very engaging and very
demanding, but very satisfying.
D. Walker: Thank you.
Moderator: Thank you. In just a moment, Iíll open the line of
Olivia Cathcart. Ms. Cathcart from TheLaughButton.com. Your
line is open.
O. Cathcart: Thank you, Marc. Question: this show is
semi-autobiographical. Youíre very used to talking about
your life on your podcast and in standup. But on the show,
having to actually act out scenarios, was it hard to,
almost, go through the experience again?
M. Maron: Yes. Well, some of these things were actually
experiences that I was afraid of happening that may not have
happened already. All of the stories, maybe except for one,
are rooted in life experience. But life experience is a
little myopic in that sometimes life experiences are
insulated. When you bring these stories, when we had to
break stories, me and the writers, I have a story, but then
youíve got to flesh it out and make it a little bigger.
Some things were actually a little emotionally passing for
me to watch because I never had that conversation with my
father. It was a conversation I wanted to have with my
father, but when I watch it, the, sort of, me demanding him
to take responsibility for these things that happened when I
was a child, it was very uncomfortable for me because I was
looking at myself acting this stuff out thinking youíre a
grown man, you should be over this ....
There were elements of it that were things that I wanted to
happen that didnít happen, so they were actually happening
for the first time on the show. Some of them are a little
hairy and a little intense and, I think, very real in that
way. That I was, actually, not unlike the podcast, working
some stuff out on the TV show.
Itís very different in that way, and itís very different to
be surrounded by actors playing these parts that are based
on people, but obviously not exactly the people. Also having
the control to make decisions around stories and how some of
these things would play out had they gone the full way.
Yes, some of it was very emotionally challenging and
compelling along those lines. They were all very new to me.
Yes, it was a different thing, but there was definitely some
of the risk still there, you know?
O. Cathcart: Was it hard to allow, or give power to a group
of writers, and to have them write about your life?
M. Maron: Well, you know, itís interesting, having never been
in this situation before, just how collaborative it really
is. These were guys that we working on my show, we had a lot
of support from IFC and from Fox and from Apostle. We did
not have the same demands on an executive level that, I
think, a network show has Ė at least from my experience and
from hearing about other peopleís experiences.
From the very beginning, we all were very aware that these
were my stories and that I was the center of this show. If
there were things that I didnít think were right or I
couldnít say or that I didnít think were funny, there was
discussion about it. Every script at every point of the
process was collaborative. Even when we went off to write
our own script based on outlines and stories that we had all
worked together on, you bring those back in the room and
then we go over them again and again.
Thereís really nothing in the show that I didnít want to be
in the show, and thereís nothing that was demanded to be
taken out that we didnít agree to or understand the logic
behind. It was all very collaborative and the power thing
was not really an issue. We were all on the same team there.
O. Cathcart: Alright. Thank you, Marc.
M. Maron: Yes.
Moderator: Thank you. Next weíll hear from the line of Krista
Chain with TV MegaSite. Go ahead, please.
K. Chain: Hi, Marc. Thanks for taking the call today.
M. Maron: Sure.
K. Chain: I was just wondering: what is the biggest thing
that you learned through making this show?
M. Maron: The biggest thing that I learned was that Ė I found
that when I got to work, at all points during this process,
I was able, or at least tried, to put my ego aside as much
as possible because I knew that I was new to this. I know
that Iím the personality that this is built around and that
is driving it, but I had not had experience in writing
television. I had not had experience being on a production
or a set that long or having these responsibilities or
acting and everything else.
The biggest thing I learned was itís really best to just
show up for work and just be a guy thatís working with other
people and you respect that and trust other people as much
as possible. Make sure thereís a lot of communication around
things that youíre not comfortable with or you donít think
is right, or what.
I guess what Iím saying is that even though this thing was
built around me and it was my show, when I showed up for
work, either in the writing process or in the production
process of the shooting, I wasnít walking in thinking Iím
the boss here, this is my show. I really didnít have that
ego going in. I just wanted to be part of the collaboration
and do the best job possible and trust the people to do
their other jobs.
I think the biggest thing I learned was to be excited and
vigilant about collaborating, but also leave a lot of room
for other people to do their thing and open up the
conversation around what the best thing to do is. That was,
really, what I learned. Iíd never done that before and it
was a very good experience.
K. Chain: Thanks, and good luck.
Moderator: Thank you. Weíre going to go to the line of Rob
Owen with the Pittsburgh Post Gazette.
R. Owen: Hi, Marc. Thank you for doing the call; I appreciate
it. I wanted to ask Ė youíve talked about how events in the
series are sort of inspired by things that happened in real
life, but sometimes may be juiced up for storytelling
purposes. Iím wondering, can you talk about, specifically,
something in the first episode thatís going to air and how
whatís in the episode differed from, perhaps, what happened
in real life?
M. Maron: Yes. The process of me tracking down a troll who
was posting bad things about me on another website Ė it
wasnít a Twitter event, but it was actually a separate
website, a smaller website that I didnít usually go to Ė and
I just found this guy that was, basically, campaigning
against me and using information that was very revisionist.
It was just this weird, very focused, and ongoing attack on
The method I used to find him, to figure out his real
identity, was very similar to what happened in the show. I
ended up engaging that guy, and it went on for months. But
it happened all online. That story took a different
direction. Being that that was the root of this, we had to
figure out, well, letís get me outside, letís get me out in
the world and go track this guy down, and create a character
for this guy.
Thatís the way that changed, but the root of it and how I
engage with trolls, if I do, and how extreme that can get,
was very real. The process of it, that, you know, in order
for the story to have movement, we created the character who
was attacking me and we went to him. The outcome was not
exactly the same, but that is always the outcome. You donít
really know why exactly youíre engaging this person, but
itís usually because you want to argue them into liking you,
somehow. In that way, the heart of the story is the same,
but the actual process of tracking the guy down became
larger in the episode.
R. Owen: Just one other quick question. How many days does it
take to shoot an episode of your show?
M. Maron: Well, we were going, we were doing, like, two and
half days, two and half, three days for each episode. It was
a pretty hairy production schedule. I think we shot all ten
in about six and a half, seven weeks.
R. Owen: Did it mess with your podcasting at all?
M. Maron: No, I was able Ė they rebuilt my home inside
another home about a half mile away, so I was able to get
enough interviews in the can to where I was just doing the
openings and the promotion and the advertisement. I set it
up so I could handle it, and we did okay with that.
R. Owen: I have to ask about they built your home inside
M. Maron: Yes, my house is a small house and my girlfriend
wouldnít tolerate a crew here for seven weeks. It was really
Ė itís a difficult environment to shoot in because of space.
I wanted to keep the show in Highland Park, where I live,
because itís a unique neighborhood. We were able to find a
house that was very similar to mine, but it was over by the
college, by Occidental, and whoever owned the house had
built a large addition onto the house in the back, a
two-story addition to create more bedrooms so he could rent
it out to students.
What that afforded us, because the home was a little bigger,
was we actually had room to set up production in that back
part of the house. Like a video village and dressing rooms
and makeup and wardrobe. Also the garage was a two car
garage, which gave us room to build my small, one car garage
within the two car garage and afford us room to set cameras
and have movement and to create a moveable wall. They also
decorated the house with specifically my taste, actually in
a much nicer way than my actual house is decorated, which
caused me some problems.
I will say that the couch on the show is my couch, and that
is genuine cat damage from my cat. I decided it was time for
a new couch, so I gave the set my old couch and I bought a
new couch. So thatís a real couch.
R. Owen: Great, thank you so much.
M. Maron: Yes.
Moderator: Brendan Murray from Pop Curious, your line is
B. Murray: Thank you. Marc, I was wondering if Ė you said
before that the episode with your father, that it was a
conversation you never had with him. Are you seeing the show
as a kind of therapy to, maybe, open a dialogue with people
like your father? Or you had that hilarious, yet kind of
cringe-inducing scene about your ex-wife, meeting her in the
coffee shop with your cat. Are these things that you want to
work out on the show for your own self or is it something
that, in your personal life, you hope it opens up a
conversation with them till you work through some rough
M. Maron: I donít know that I saw that as therapy. I saw
these as stories that I think Ė itís always hard for me to
know, until lately, that the life Iím living is not that
rarified. These issues are issues that happen with all of
us, to some degree. At least some of us have these feelings.
The ex-wife moment Ė I donít know that anything I do is
going to open up any type of beneficial conversation with
that woman. So no on that one. And in terms of my father, he
and I have had these conversations before and some of that
stuff I have a little closure on.
The actual effect Iím hoping is not the opposite of what
youíre suggesting, which is that Iíve picked open a wound of
some kind. I hope that his reaction isnít, like, I thought
we were over this stuff. The character of my father is
different enough Ė my father doesnít live in a mobile home
and things have not gotten that bad for him.
So I think these are just Ė the way the stories are
structured, I think theyíre to show what ultimately is the
truth of that, is that no matter what these conversations
are, I have to deal with my side of it. These people have
obviously Ė either theyíre not going to change or theyíve
moved on with their lives. If itís anything, itís a mild
exorcism of my own infantile feelings.
But I didnít really see them as therapy or as a means to
engage these people. If I really want to engage him, I could
call him, or I imagine I could contact her. I donít think
thereís any real reason to, but thatís the show. So thatís
B. Murray: Thank you.
Moderator: Thank you very much. We will hear next from Dave
Walker with The New Orleans Times Picayune. Go ahead,
D. Walker: How will you judge the success of this adventure?
Is it enough to have converted it to television, which, at
this stage of your life and at this point in your career, is
a big deal? Will you be disappointed if it doesnít Ė you
know what Iím saying? Are you happy with it now, and if
nothing else happens beyond this, would you be happy?
M. Maron: The questions about my happiness are always tricky.
Ultimately, I think what happens when you are able to Ė
especially after as long as Iíve been doing this Ė to really
engage in a new creative endeavor. It was very exciting for
me to be involved in this process and to make television and
to be on a set and to write and to have a say in all this
stuff, and the creativity of the whole thing was something
that Iíd never experienced before.
I certainly hope that the show resonates with some people.
With as many as possible, really, and I hope people enjoy
the show. But thereís that part of you thatís sort of, like,
well this is new and exciting, imagine what we could do if
we really sat down with what weíve done, take some time and
really think about how I could do a better job with the
character of me.
How does this character of Marc Maron fit into these
different scenarios? What are the strong points? What other
risks can we take? What other comedic things can we do?
Thereís that craving to, sort of, like, I want to make more
and I want to make them better and I want to make them
funnier and I want to put this guy in different situations.
I want to do a better job taking control of my acting and
finding new ways to be funny or poignant.
You get a sort of bug, thatís like, I want to do some more
of this. Ultimately, I am very happy with what I did and I
am satisfied with it, but I think what would make it an
amazing experience is that we can push it a little further
and do some more episodes and see what the show can do now
that weíve got a handle on what it is.
Yes, I would be happy just having this, but as anyone knows
who does this kind of stuff or who does anything creative,
if thereís an opportunity to do more of it, you sort of want
D. Walker: One quick followup: Is it important to push the
show to people who maybe donít know anything about you? The
podcast following is substantial, I understand that, but for
it to really work on television, doesnít it need to be
bigger than that? Was there talk about that in the formation
of the show? Or was it more no, letís just do Marc and the
podcasts and his life and those people who know him will get
it and weíll see how it goes from there?
M. Maron: No, I think there was always, when youíre dealing
with TV people at any network, theyíre looking at a broad
audience. I think that they were excited that I have a lot
of fans and a lot of people who listen to the podcast and a
lot of people were excited about it. But I think that when
youíre making a show, you are, certainly, wanting as many
people as possible to dig it and to enjoy it, so I think
that was always a consideration.
I think that they were able to let me honor who I was. I
wouldnít say that Iím immediately a loveable character, but
I would say that Iím a familiar character to many people. I
know the limitations of the medium that Iím popular in. In
podcasting, I do have a lot of listeners, but it is still a,
sort of, nascent medium, and not everybody is there and
there are plenty of people out there in the world that have
no idea what a podcast is or who I am. Certainly weíd like
them to come in and take on the show.
So yes, I think thatís always a consideration when you are
producing television, whether itís a cable network or a
network network, thatís always a consideration on behalf of
the people that are making television. I think that that was
always part of the discussion, was that there was always
question of who this character is. But we didnít trim it or
necessarily try to accommodate this unseen audience. But I
think itís obviously always a consideration that you want as
many people to watch it as possible.
D. Walker: Thank you.
M. OíGara: At this point, weíre going to wrap up the
conference call for today. Thank you, everyone, for joining
us. As a reminder, Maron premiers Friday, May 3rd on IFC,
and photos can be found at press.ifc.com. At this time, Iím
going to turn the call back over to Marc for a final remark.
M. Maron: Yes, I hope all of you folks enjoy the show, and
weíll see what happens. Thatís my final comment. Iím very
proud of what we did and thanks for talking to me.
Moderator: Thank you very much. Ladies and gentlemen, that
concludes your conference today. We appreciate your
participation and your using AT&T Executive TeleConference.
You may now disconnect.
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