Those of you who know me well know that I listen to a lot of podcasts. Too many in fact. I am always saying things like, "I'm behind on my podcasts!" It's like old ladies and "their stories". I already meantioned The Tobolowsky Files and I think I'll make a regular thing of highlighting some of my favorite podcasts every now and then.
WTF is a podcast done by Marc Maron who is a well respected comic within the comedy world, and a not so well known comic beyond it. On the surface, the show is simply Marc interviewing other comics in a long form, unedited conversation style recording. Below the surface, it is so much more.
I had never heard of Marc Maron prior to a clip of WTF being played on KCRW's The Business (another podcast I listen to weekly). The clip was of Maron interviewing his former friend, Louis C.K.. They had a falling out years ago, but throughout the two part, two plus hour show, they become friends again. It's pretty remarkable, actually. Or perhaps, re-Marc-able? Sorry, that was a horrible joke.
Maron is the central character in his show. Through out the intros and outtros he talks about himself, what he is going through, and occasionally he tries out some new material. Getting to know him is half the fun of the podcast - he is a very interesting guy with a lot to say. During the interviews he uses himself as a gateway to get his guests to open up. He'll share and then they share back.
Using this extremely candid style, he gets his guests (some of which he knows personally, some of which he has never met) to really open up. People cry, have revelations, get angry, get excited and then laugh about. While they're interviews with funny people, the show isn't a "comedy show" per se. Instead, while at times hilarious, it is a show about being human. I love it.
Check out wtfpod.com where you can get episodes and find links to the iOS and Android apps, iTunes, etc. Some of my favorite interviews are the episodes with Judd Apatow, Louis C.K. Ira Glass, Sarah Silverman. Ken Jeong and Aziz Ansari although there are over a hundred and they are all great. For instance, the show that came out yesterday with Gary Shandling.
Gary Shandling is probably best know for his show, The Larry Sanders Show which aired on HBO from 1992 to 1998. He talks about it a great deal on the episode of WTF and also about his life, work and philosophy. It's a great interview and a great start if you want to get into WTF.
And if you haven't watched The Larry Sanders Show, you really should. It was a first of it's kind, ahead of it's time series that followed a late night host (a la David Letterman) as he produces his show each night. It is single camera style and much like Curb Your Enthusiasm, it is about finding the truth in the moments and not about being "jokey". It is a show about funny people but is not a comedy (similar to WTF). This means that it is not only hilarious in a very genuine way, but it is also full of heart as it explores the characters and the entertainment industry.
It is streaming on Netflix and is well worth checking out. It also features fantastic performances by the series regulars such as Rip Torn, Jeffrey Tambor and Janine Garofalo as well as guests playing themselves like Jerry Seinfeld, Alec Baldwin, Robin Williams and just about everyone else who was big in the 90's.