While taking pitches for Paste’s inaugural comedy issue, the words “Marc” and “Maron” flooded my inbox. Indeed, the host of essential, twice-a-week comedy podcast WTF with Marc Maron, the guy who’s got a book on the way, whose life is the basis for the forthcoming IFC program, Maron, that guy? He’s having a bit of a moment. You might say he’s been having a moment for a year or two now, reviving a career and bringing podcasts to a larger stage in the process. Yes, he’s inarguably one of the most important comedians going right now, but we sat down with him a year ago, and many have sat down with him since. How to cover a thoroughly covered dude? We decided to ask him for a few of his favorite up-and-coming comics—the folks we should all be seeking out for laughs in 2012. He was a little cranky in his typically Maronesque way at first, but once he got talking about these young talents, his passion for the craft took over in the same informed, thoughtful way it does every week on WTF. No one cried, though.
I met this guy when he was basically a kid in New York City. I had not seen him, or really knew of him then, and I hadn’t seen him in years, but I was up in Grand Rapids doing the Gilda Fest, and I watched this guy do four sets and he made me laugh at four sets. I’ve been doing this a long time and I don’t laugh at comedy that easily. I just thought he was fucking hilarious. He’s originally from Tennessee. He works at his own pace. He’s got a really interesting point of view in terms of how he sees the world and the jokes are not standard structure. He’s got a unique voice. I thought he was just great.
She’s out of Minnesota. I saw her when I worked in Minneapolis, and I met her and gave her a guest spot. I just thought she was very unique bordering on special in a sense. She’s just got a very interesting, almost-childlike way of looking at the world. She plays musical instruments and sometimes lets the audience sing along with stuff. There’s just really nobody I’ve ever seen like her. I don’t know ultimately what she’s going to do or where she’ll go, but she certainly is unique and very funny. She’s very earnest. She approaches comedy very earnestly. When you get an audience singing along, it’s kind of heartwarming somehow and it’s very interesting.
There are certain times, when you’ve been doing this for awhile and you see someone doing something slightly bizarre, where you wonder, “That must take a lot of energy to pretend you’re that bizarre.” But I think he’s just genuinely odd. I think that he’s doing something that some people try to do because they want to be weird, but I think he’s very talented and very funny and he’s genuinely peculiar. He works hard and there’s nobody really doing it like him. It’s unique and well thought out. It’s definitely different and that’s not easy to do.
The thing about Sean is that he’s got a real sort of intensity up there. He’s a guy who gets up on stage who’s just all lit up. He’s very aggressive. He’s also kind of a heavy-set guy and he’s kind of a sweaty guy and he just…I don’t know how to explain it. It’s almost a Belushi kind of energy. He just has momentum to him. As he continues to write more and more, he’s going to be an unstoppable once he fully develops. He’s pretty great because some people can’t help but be themselves up there, which is a pretty amazing thing, and he’s one of those guys that has a unique presence.
He’s kind of obsessive about language. He has a master’s degree in linguistics from Boston University. There’s something meticulous about how he approaches language, obviously. It’s very heavy in a sense that in the joke writing it’s very concise. You know I used to really bust on him a little bit about how he makes such anally constructed jokes work, but he makes it work. He’s really evolved into having a unique disposition on stage and kind of a quirky delivery and even his posture has formed into a comedic being.