Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Top 10 Podcasts: #1 WTF with Marc Maron

[Editor's Note: The following is the latest in a series covering my top 10 podcasts and my favorite episodes from each. Here's what we know so far:
#1 - WTF with Marc Maron
#2 - Radiolab
#3 - This American Life
#4 - Real Time With Bill Maher
#5 - Doug Loves Movies
#6 - Savage Love Podcast
#7 - Freakonomics Radio
#8 - The Moth Podcast
#9 - The Ricky Gervais Podcast
#10 - Fresh Air with Terry Gross]

I was late to the party on WTF with Marc Maron.
I had heard it mentioned time and again, but it wasn't until Ira Glass, host of This American Life, wrote these opening words to this blog post on October 26, 2010 that I finally took notice:
Right now, pretty much every comedian without a network TV show has his own podcast, but Marc Maron's WTF Podcast, here on the web or here on iTunes has distinguished itself as the New York Times of comedy podcasts, and by that I mean the definitive comedy podcast of record.

A veteran comedian, Maron, exposes himself and his struggles with mental health so nakedly that his guests follow suit. I first became aware of Maron during my childhood when he was a frequent Squigglevisioned guest on Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist:

Watch Dr Katz- Marc Maron in Entertainment  |  View More Free Videos Online at
It's 15 years later and Maron now takes patients himself in the form of a podcast. The difference now is that both the guest and he are laid out on their own metaphorical therapist couches. Doctor is patient. Patient is doctor.
Talking to funny people about their pain for 90 minutes at a time scratches an intellectual itch I didn't even know I had before I started tuning in. The most interesting people often have the worst childhoods, with the need to make others laugh often making up for some other deficit in their psyche.

Essential Listening

I'm serious.
Every single episode of this podcast is worth hearing. I made the mistake at the beginning of my listening experience by thinking that I would only enjoy the episodes featuring guests that I knew.
I was totally wrong.
Warning: the show pulls no punches, so anyone faint of heart when it comes to talk about language, sex or violence should steer clear.
Running through the episode list I'm hard-pressed to pick favorite. Since the show has been going for 163 episodes and counting, and only the last 50 are still free, that leaves 113 episodes that are hidden behind a pay wall. Some of these episodes include:
- The two-part Carlos Mencia episode, in which he exposes him for the fraud he is.
- Another two-part episode, director Judd Apatow shares own interviews with famous comedians he conducted for his high school radio show.
- Even the episode where Ira Glass himself is interviewed is revealing.


  1. The two-part Louis CK episode is a true artifact of modern comedy. It's important.

  2. Yes, the Louis CK episodes are great. And of course, I just remembered Gallagher. Who could forget?

  3. I have fond memories of watching his stand-up on Comedy Central around that same time (I'd forgotten about Dr. Katz!). I only found out about the podcast about six months ago but was really glad that I did.

  4. Same here. I loved Dr. Katz so much when I was growing up and Marc is the man.