Madison Recap with Marc Maron
My biggest fear driving home from my week in Madison, Wisconsin was Christine asking, “Did you have a good time?” I’d answer, “Of course! I was at one of my favorite clubs working with my absolute favorite comedian, who I feel like I got to become friends with, of course I had a good time!” Then she’d say, “Good, because that was your Make a Wish. I have some bad news for you.”
Obviously that conversation didn’t happen. I did however have the best weekend of my comedy career. Here’s how it came to be. Last summer Christine and I drove up to Toronto to watch Marc Maron perform at Yuk Yuks. I’ve become a super fan since comedian Ryan Hamilton turned me on to Marc’s WTF Podcast. Since then I’ve bought all three albums and listened to every episode of WTF. If you don’t know Marc’s work, he’s brilliant, raw and real.
So anyway, after the show in Toronto Marc gave me his manager’s contact info. I started working with the people I know who book shows. My buddy Eric Yoder at Funny Business went all out for me and put together the show in Madison, Wisconsin at the Comedy Club on State. It was a perfect match. Madison is such a progressive and smart city. The audiences are always great. The club does absolutely everything right! The staff treats you like a star, they put you in a nice hotel, the money is decent, the sound is great, the layout of the room is perfect, heckling isn’t tolerated, the waitstaff whispers when they take orders, Gus and Mary the owners make a point of coming out to thank the performers. It’s just a completely right experience performing at that club. I simply can’t say enough good things about it. Like the Ann Arbor Comedy Showcase, the staff likes comedy and it shows!
I’m not going to go overboard because I will be posting an interview with Marc as soon as I transcribe it, but I do want to mention a couple of high points from the week.
Morning radio was a blast. Neither show did research, but Marc took the reigns and created captivating radio. The host of the second show tried to have a cock fight, but lost before Marc finished his opening statement! “What are you a dinosaur holding on to terrestrial radio and worrying about your Arbitron ratings?”
At breakfast somehow we got on the subject of Tim & Eric Awesome Show. I can’t watch them. They make me mentally uncomfortable like too long of an exposure will surface some successfully repressed childhood trauma. The longest I subjected myself to them was during the Maynard James Keenan wine documentary “Water Into Wine“. I kick myself for not recording this, but Marc went on a huge explanation of what he likes in what they do is the same in what he likes about David Lynch movies. The humor comes from the grotesqueness and he loves that stuff. I’m a casual fan of David Lynch. I’m learning to appreciate him more now that I’m revisiting his work. I may have to grit my teeth and try to endure Tim & Eric. I’m not making any promises.
I watched Marc stand up to a bully. After the last show a giant mountain of a jerk felt the need to engage Marc in a close handshake and then offer his “expert” opinion on the show. It was rude. Marc simply smiled and said, “I’m sorry you didn’t have a good time, but are we done here?” The guy, upset that he didn’t get the reaction he was hoping for, repeated himself over and over again. Marc stood there smiling and shaking that hand, “Okay, how many times are you going to repeat yourself? I heard you buddy. Have a good night.” It was classy. He won! Afterward, he turned to me and said, “They funny thing is I’m not even angry.” How could he be? He had a line of fans waiting behind him. I just love thinking that the guy drove home furious that he couldn’t get a reaction out of Marc. That’s how you win in that situation!
Tommy Johnagin was in town doing a gig and came out to the show Saturday. It was pretty awesome to have him come up to me and instigate the conversation. I know of Tommy’s work, but never got the chance to meet him before. He was a super great guy, and extremely funny. He shared some stories from his tour with Mike DeStefano and thanked Marc for his incredible interview on the podcast.
And finally, I learned that Just Coffee doesn’t really make you shit your pants! Marc took us to the offices of his long time sponsor. Mike Moon gave us a tour of the place and talked to us about Free Trade Coffee. Starbucks bills themselves as selling Free Trade Coffee, but that’s barely only technically the truth. There’s lots of great info on the Just Coffee website. And please support them. They’ve been big Marc Maron supporters since his days on Air America.
It was an amazing weekend that will be hard to top. I had a really great time and appreciate everyone who made it possible!