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Interim President Jeff Ettinger inside Morrill Hall on Sept. 20, 2023. Ettinger gets deep with the Daily: “It’s bittersweet.”
Ettinger reflects on his presidency
Published April 22, 2024

Q&A with Marc Maron

So if the story on Thursday wasn’t enough for all you WTF’ers, I’ve transcribed my interview with Maron in its entirety below. Remember, Maron’s performing at Rick Bronson’s House of Comedy at the MOA in Bloomington through Sunday night. Yeah, it’s Bloomington. And yeah, it’s the MOA. But the $15 admission sure beats steep theater prices anyday. So make haste folks!


R: When did you first realize that the podcast was something you could make a living off of?

M:I don’t know if I’ve realized that quite yet. I knew it was something I could do. I knew it was an outlet that had very few restrictions once I figured out how to do it. I was in sort of a dire situation when we started it but in terms of making a living out of it, everyone’s trying to figure that out right now so I knew I had a passion for it and I was very excited that people got into it and It was starting to evolve and I was finding a voice on it. So I was excited about that but making a living is very tricky in this medium but we’re getting there

R:When you mention dire, are you referring to your shows being cancelled by Air America?

M: Well look I was back at Air America because I was in the middle of a divorce… I had no desire to be there I was there because I needed money. So when they ran out of money again and fired us, they didn’t take our security keys away so we just started breaking into the studio every night and bringing people up the freight elevator and recording the first handful of episodes and people seemed to dig them so I came back out here to my house in LA and I was able to hold onto them through some miraculous bit of business and bought some equipment and started doing them here.

R: Did you ever think “WTF” would get this popular?

M:No. I didn’t know what we would get. I thought we would get a few people that were  fans of mine from different parts of my life, comedy, radio, and what not. But I had no idea it evolve into what it would become, absolutely not.

R: Were you surprised by how open comedians were being when you first started the show?

M: That’s just the kind of conversations I have. I’m not a big small talk guy. And a lot of these guys didn’t really know me but they were happy to come and hang out. I just really look at them as conversations. Having those types of conversations in my life are not some unusual thing, it’s how I talk and what I talk about. So I think t he fact that I’m willing to talk about it, they become willing. I’m not on some sort of quest to have people share things they’re not comfortable with. Obviously they’re not comfortable with it and I think it’s exciting to have authentic conversations. I don’t know if I’m surprised, they’re just conversations, they’re all kind of different anyways.

R: Are you afraid of losing that intimacy now that the podcast has become more recognized?

M: I don’t know, I think if they come over here they know what they’re getting into if they’ve listened to it. And there’s certainly plenty of episodes where it doesn’t get all weird or dark or deep or revealing, sometimes it’s just fun. If I like being in the company of somebody I’ll figure out where their line is and take the conversation that way. I don’t have any problem with that.

R: Anyone you’ve been dying to get on that just hasn’t worked out?

M: I’ve been trying to get Garry Shandling on, I’d like to do that. I’d like to get Robert Downey on. There are some people I’d like to talk to, I don’t know if it will happen. There are definitely a few people I want, those two are right up there. I’d like to get Tom Waits on, I’d like to get Iggy Pop on. I don’t know… I don’t really know how to get a hold of them. 

R: So you’re trying to branch out beyond celebs and comics then?

M: Well celebrity and comics or just comics? I’ve done writers before, I’ve done a few odd types of guests. I would certainly like to talk to anybody. But I certainly think Tom Waits and Iggy Pop certainly have a comedic thread to their work and are interesting people…. I definitely would like to broaden the show out a bit but I’m definitely not running out of comics [laughs].

R: I understand you’ve been approached about a book deal?

M: I did make a book deal…. I wanted to do a book of personal essays and talk about what I like to talk about and my life. And they like that but they want it to have some sort of arc and definitely want it to be more personal than commentary. So I imagine it will evolve into somewhat of a memoir about my recent life so that’s where we’re at with that. The tentative title is “Attempting Normal.”

R: We’re a college newspaper do you have any advice for this year’s graduating class?

M: Do you what you want to do and if you have to [compromise], don’t let the compromises destroy you from the inside.

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