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Marc Maron on ruining your life then making a TV show out of it


Christopher Hooton
Thursday 14 August 2014 17:26 BST

Garage podcaster Marc Maron's TV show Maron starts in the UK tonight, we caught him with him to find out how it came about.

Was Maron an idea you had kicking around for a while or did a particular show or film get you fired up to make your own series?

I think it came about because the podcast was proving popular and my life is what it is, and I had a meeting with Jim Serpico [producer] and he loved the podcast and was like 'well is there anything we can do with this?' I said 'Yeah we could do a show about a guy who's ruined his life and is trying to keep it together and runs a podcast out of a garage', and he said that sounds like a great idea, which was good. because I'm living it.

We made a 10-minute reel and took that around and IFC reacted and loved it. It wasn't really a big plan - as a comic every year you hope your life changes enough or that you evolve into some other area of life where your story becomes compelling and it just seemed to sync up on this occasion.

Did you choose to make it a TV show rather than a film for stylistic reasons or because TV is just where the culture seems to be at and where the investment and creativity is right now?

Well by the time I started the podcast I thought all these types of opportunities were behind me. It wasn't about making a feature film or an indie film, when it comes right down to it, the budget we're working with it's about trying to make something look as good as possible with the format we were working in.

Obviously we weren't doing a studio show we were doing a single camera show so it has a film quality to it, but there was a lot of stories to tell and I don't think that a movie was really ever my thought, there was no single arc it was more episodic than that based on these things that have happened in my life.

Podcasts are just you and the microphone, comedy is just you and the audience, but TV shows are a much more complex animal, was it a hard medium to get your head around?

I had no experience acting or writing for television or producing, so all of it was new to me but I was very open-minded and willing to learn. I think that the first season you can see me getting better in all those areas. I didn't see it as hard, I was just happy I was in the right frame of mind at this point in my life to really show up and do it. And I think we did the great job with the first two seasons but there certainly was a learning curve.

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How are you hoping the show will develop as it continues into a third season?

It was interesting because in the first season it was very important to me to have an emotional integrity to the show that was directly related to my life, that some of the emotions are gnarly and difficult. I wanted to keep it as close to the bone as possible and in the second season we were able to keep that emotion and keep the kernels that happen in my life but build the stories out and fictionalise a little more, which gives you more freedom to tell a story if you're not trying to hold so steady to the reality of a situation.

So I think that as we get more comfortable with me as an actor and figuring out which stories are pivotal, creatively we're gonna have a little more room to explore the emotions of where I am in my life – and I don't think it's an unusual place to be slightly aggravated and 50-years-old but always asking questions and trying to make life work out well and still be open hearted about things, there's a lot of places to go with that.

Do you think this day-to-day anxiety a lot of us feel is a worldly thing and a legitimate response to our lives or a bad habit we've gotten into?

It's interesting you know, when you talk about someone's mindset that's probably something that's been wired into them since they were two year's old, so how that evolves and grows into a grown-up set of panic reactions - I mean it's easy to say pull your boot straps up and if you can do that over and over again maybe you'll find some success, but you always sort of fall back at some point.

But I don't think it's a habit it's a deeply wired set of reactions to life and in order to change those you've gotta be pretty vigilant, you're not always gonna be able to stick with it but that's really the battle.

How has age affected your own anxiety? Are you more laidback now?

I definitely wasn't laidback earlier in life and was a little more crazy when we were all drinking and doing drugs. I always had this anxiety and anger, I think that some of my anger has tempered and my ability to deal with life has gotten better but as mortality hammers down on you it's about how you take that on. If you take it head on good for you, but if you avoid the idea that that thing is imminent or eventually gonna happen, then that dread that you would usually put on that goes into every other part of your life and cause more anxiety. Things have gotten easier but you do start to wonder as you get older what the point of it all is.

Maron is on Thursday 14th August at 11pm on FOX.

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