Despite over 40 appearances on Late Night with Conan O’Brien, more than any other comic, Marc Maron wasn’t exactly a household name. By the age of 45 Maron was having serious doubts about his career in comedy. A stand-up since the age of 24, with his career faltering, Maron wasn’t having much luck in radio either. From 2004 to 2009 he had a handful of radio shows canceled on talk radio network Air America.
Maron also had struggles in his personal life that he worked hard to overcome. He battled substance abuse issues and alcoholism, and has been sober since 1999. With his back up against the wall, Maron found a career resurgence with a podcast, taped out of the garage in his Los Angeles, California area home. With his twice weekly podcast WTF with Marc Maron, he engages his guest in a conversational interview that covers the subject’s early life and childhood, inspiration, the first moments of career success, how they handle fame, and thoughts and perspectives on craft, life, and the struggles of the human condition.
Maron often features fellow comedians. His episode with friend Louis CK was an emotional one that touched on Maron’s jealousy when CK’s career sky rocketed and far eclipsed his own. It was voted by Slate as the #1 podcast episode of all time.
His guests have included world figures, celebrities, and musical legends including Neil Young and Bruce Springsteen, and in 2015 POTUS Barack Obama stopped by the garage for an interview. The podcast has opened up other opportunities for Maron and revived his stand-up career. He has embarked on successful coast to coast tours, including a show at New York’s famed and prestigious Carnegie Hall. Maron published a memoir Attempting Normal in 2014. Four seasons of Maron aired from 2013 to 2016 on IFC. The television show was loosely autobiographical, as Maron’s character dealt with family, his love for his pet cats, personal relationships, and newfound success.
The show has opened up other acting opportunities for Maron. He is part of the cast of Netflix’s upcoming wrestling comedy GLOW. Here are 17 pieces of wisdom from Marc Maron to give us inspiration on our own journeys.
1.) “Is it hard to make a living in show business? Yeah.” – Marc Maron
2.) “It’s easy to maintain your integrity when no one is offering to buy it out.” – Marc Maron
3.) “I’m not for everyone. I’m barely for me.” – Marc Maron
4.) “That’s the big challenge of life—to chisel disappointment into wisdom so people respect you and you don’t annoy your friends with your whining.” – Marc Maron
5.) “In most cases the only difference between depression and disappointment is your level of commitment.” – Marc Maron
6.) “We’re built to deal with death, disease, failure, struggle, heartbreak, problems. It’s what separates us from the animals and why we envy and love animals so much. We’re aware of it all and have to process it. The way we each handle being human is where all the good stories, jokes, art, wisdom, revelations, and bullshit come from.” – Marc Maron
7.) “That’s an animal fable about humility. If you survive your mistake, you must learn from it. Accept that you’re fragile, vulnerable, and sometimes stupid. Realize that you’re not immortal and you’ve got to take care of yourself. And then laugh it off and fly away.” – Marc Maron
8.) “Faith in the face of disappointment is only enhanced by laughter in the face of pain.” – Marc Maron
9.) “Your insecurity and neediness is what makes you a big neurotic ball of comedy genius.” – Marc Maron
10.) “When I was a young comic in New York and I wasn’t getting any work, I was wandering around the Lower East Side with my notebook. I would stop at the guitar place on St Mark’s and talk to that dude for a while, then I’d go to the bookstore and talk to that dude for a little while. I had a guy over at the record store, and I’d talk to him for a while. It kept me connected to life.” – Marc Maron
11.) “Conversation is a beautiful thing. When I was a younger guy, just wandering around talking to people was what kept me connected to the world.” – Marc Maron
12.) “I’m just looking for authentic engagement of some kind, and usually, after an hour or more, you get that. Some people talk at you. Some people just want to answer questions, but a lot of times, all of a sudden you drift away, and you don’t remember you’re on the mic, and you’re in something real.” – Marc Maron
13.) “The truth is, I can’t read anything with any distance. Every book is a self-help book to me. Just having them makes me feel better.” – Marc Maron
14.) “I think sharing experience makes everything better. When people get talking about how they’ve overcome something or how they haven’t, it’s nourishing.” – Marc Maron
15.) “I’ve become less angry and a little more humble by age and by experience and by going through the ups and downs of life.” – Marc Maron
16.) “I don’t make a list of questions. Ever. I think a lot of my interviews are driven by my need to feel connection.” – Marc Maron
17.) “My favorite part is being engaged with somebody’s story and life, and getting a laugh with people I have a tremendous amount of respect for or not, and being challenged by the immediacy of conversation.” – Marc Maron
18.) “Art is supposed to punch you in the brain, and it’s supposed to stay punched.” – Marc Maron
19.) “You can’t avoid pain in life. It’s how you handle pain, that’s what defines you.” – Marc Maron
Author: Tara Collum
Tara Collum lives in Toronto and grew up in Muskoka. She is the co-creator of a forthcoming web serial about twins in a small town. She believes it is never too late to be the person you are meant to be. Follow Tara on twitter @99percentsun