Marcus David Maron is a stand-up comedian who revolutionized the game with the most listenable podcast when podcasts weren’t cool. Like Doug Stanhope, his brutally honest style starts to get diluted when he’s happy. But now in his 50s, Maron ushered middle aged white American males from the Adam Carolla era to Joe Rogan.
Maron pulled guests into his garage/recording studio and just started digging deep into topics normally not touched upon in an interview to promote a project. Things get dark quick. If you’re into behind-the-scenes celebrity life, especially with comedians, WTF is the place.
His podcast is so good, it became a TV series about the podcast, which follows his character’s fall from sobriety. It follows in the footsteps of Louis C.K.’s FX show prior to people getting upset he is exactly who he always said he was.
Check out these 20 brilliant episodes to prepare for what this podcasting pioneer has in store for the 2020s.
20. Todd Hanson
Todd Hanson of The Onion kicks things off with a deep telling of suicidal thoughts and depression. It’s a theme you’ll see a lot of in entertainment and comedy. This vein runs especially deep with Maron.
19. Kevin Smith
Kevin Smith is pretty open about his failures, haters, and the hard work it takes to maintain a career as a content creator. He even ignited a feud with Bruce Willis for complaining about his lack of work ethic. It’s not much different than Joyner Lucas’s beef with Logic.
18. Barack Obama
Back in the summer of 2015, Obama, of all people, got heat for using the word “nigger” during his interview with Maron. To be fair, the usage wasn’t anywhere near meant in the way it’s acted out by the president who took office next.
17. Lena Dunham
Lena Dunham is not a likable person for many of the same reasons as Gwyneth Paltrow. But she does own who she is, and this is a great interview, regardless of your feelings on her ultra-liberal views.
16. Jeff Ross
The king of mean is the first guest on WTF and he proves the show is coming out swinging. Ross does everything to keep his roast style going in a relaxed setting from Maron’s garage. They’re trying something new and neither has any idea how much their lives are going to change in the proceeding decade.
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15. Patrice O’Neal
Patrice O’Neal loves getting in people’s faces, and he’s a rare black comedian that’s allowed in Maron’s garage. He tells things like it is in the interview that makes him one of the greats.
14. Conan O’Brien
Conan O’Brien has a podcast himself that mirrors WTF and we’ll be covering here soon. It’s every bit as good, and the stories this Harvard alum and former Tonight Show host can tell are legendary. From The Simpsons to SNL to Team Coco, this man is a legend of the game.
13. Sacha Baron Cohen
Even though Borat was the more popular movie, Bruno was definitely the more interesting behind-the-scenes experience. This is one of Cohen’s reveals in this great interview.
12. Amy Sedaris
Amy Sedaris is hands down one of the funniest people on television. Her shows are always just off center and fun in all the wrong ways. If you haven’t seen her TruTV show, you must, as you must also listen to her WTF interview.
11. Mel Brooks
Mel Brooks is notoriously shy with interviews, but he shows up for Maron. And boy does he shine – Brooks is filled with decades of Hollywood history, and he spills whatever his host wants to know.
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10. Tony Shalhoub
Tony Shalhoub is typically shy, but he discusses his childhood in great detail on this podcast. He’s a lovable guy and it’s great to hear his thoughts.
9. Katie Couric
Katie Couric is usually the interviewer, but she’s the interviewee with Maron, and he dives in to show his journalistic chops.
8. Abbi Jacobson & Ilana Glazer
Broad City is one of those indie projects that proved the creators knew what they were doing. Abbi and Ilana reinvented comedy on Comedy Central when nobody thought it could be done. Not even Viacom, so they did it on the web, and brought their proven concept back. This podcast is a great exploration of their journey.
7. Lorne Michaels
Lorne Michaels never liked Maron’s brand of comedy. He couldn’t get hired on the staff, but, like many SNL failures, Maron shined on his own. He discusses his failure to get on SNL many times, culminating in this interview with the head honcho himself.
6. Kevin MacDonald/Kevin McDonald
This episode will forever be legend among WTF fans. Maron, who famously doesn’t prepare for interviews, got Scottish director Kevin MacDonald when he thought he was getting comedic actor Kevin McDonald, whom he later records. Both are now fine with the mix-up, but it’s a reminder of how little respect podcasters (and any performers) actually get from PR and marketing reps.
5. Dane Cook/Carlos Mencia
Both Dane Cook and Carlos Mencia reached mainstream audiences and became household names. Both were quickly taken down for using stolen material. Both appeared on WTF with Marc Maron to discuss these accusations and their careers in detail. Both are worth listening to.
4. Garry Shandling
3. Amy Poehler
Amy Poehler is one of my favorite people and an underrated comedian. From Andy Richter’s little sister and the Upright Citizen Brigade to A-list Hollywood celebrity, she’s seen it all, and her interviews are always on point.
2. Robin Williams
Robin Williams discusses contemplating suicide on WTF back in 2010. It wasn’t long after that he actually followed through, shocking the world and bringing suicide awareness to the forefront of society.
1. Louis C.K.
Louis C.K. is simultaneously the most talented, significant, and polarizing comedian of the 2010s. His career is legendary at this point, as are his two-part interview segments with Marc Maron. In fact, they’re among the best podcast interviews ever.