One of our most anticipated smallscreen comedies since FX's brilliant "Legit" is IFC's "Maron," which premieres Friday, May 3 at 10:00pm ET/PT.
Marc's semi-autobiographical show ďMaronĒ half hour episode will chronicle Marcís day-to-day struggle to maintain relationships other than the ones with his podcast audience and his beloved trio of cats.
Aubrey Plaza went from being a real podcast guest to being a television podcast guest. Watch as Marc Maron describes working with Aubrey Plaza on ďMaronĒ and then tune in for the premiere on Friday May 3 at 10/9c.
Last week, a pres conference call was held with Marc Maron, here are some excerpts from the transcript:
On how the WTF podcast came to be a TV show:
M. Maron Basically, the podcast was doing pretty well, and Jim Serpico over at Apostle, the production house, really enjoyed the podcast. He set a meeting with me and said look, I love this thing. I wonder if thereís something we can do.
As a comic who knows that if you want to be on television, every few years you have to pitch some version of the life youíre living to TV executives to see if you can build a show around you. Having had two or three deals in the past, eventually you wonder if your life is going to continue changing enough to make it unique as a story to be the center of a show around it.
At this point, I was, like, well look, Iím a guy who interviews celebrities in his garage, whose career was in the toilet, and now everythingís different, and I think we should build a show around my life, or the life I was living, the first year or so of the podcast. Because thatís certainly a story you couldnít have told ten years ago. And he was into it.
He introduced me to Duncan Birmingham, whoís a writer on the show and a co-producer. We sat down and we wrote, basically, a pilot presentation that was never meant to be aired but to just, sort of, be shot as such. Apostle was in business with Fox Studio, who provided the money to, basically, shoot a pilot presentation in my home that Duncan and I had written.
The plan was to make it 10 to 12 minutes and to show it to potential buyers who were networks, cable networks and regular networks, so they would get a feel of the tone of the show we wanted to do.
The production turned out to be about 20 minutes. We had Luke Matheny direct it and Ed Asner played my father and Angela Trimbur played the girlfriend, and we had some other actors in there, some comics and stuff, and we walked that around.
Theoretically, it could have been an episode, but it was not really the plan Ė it was not quite long enough. We brought it around to networks and IFC responded and got behind it and wanted us to do the show. That was sort of what happened. In the end, some of the actors changed because of availability or just because of choices made.
Thatís how it all started. It was from a presentation based on Jimís interest to see if we could do something with it and my interest to sort of flesh it out in that way.
On converting his life into a script and about that process:
M. Maron Well, look, to be quite honest with you, by the time I started with the podcast, I had really let go of the possibility of this happening. Of me doing a TV show, or of me being a relevant comic, even. So all of this was a surprise and it was very exciting to me.
I think that, at this point in my life, Iíve never been more prepared to do this. Iím not a kid anymore, Iím not full of anger and fear and out of my mind, so the opportunity was very timely for me because I was completely ready and excited to do this. I really had no expectation of it ever happening.
At this point in my life, I like collaboration, I like working with writers. I was very excited to work with other actors. I knew I had an innate ability to act, and Iíve been told I was good at it, but Iíve never done that. Iíve never written for television. Iíve never produced a show. Iíve never had the type of responsibility, creatively, that I had.
But I can say that I was very into it, I was very prepared to do it, and it was completely exciting and completely challenging in the best of ways. I was thrilled about it and I just wanted to do a good job, I wanted to make the best show we could with what we were given money-wise and time-wise and talent-wise. I was completely immersed in it. I think we did a good job.
Obviously, when you look at a first season of something, Iím assuming that youíre like, oh, wow, maybe if we get more of these, we could do this or we could do that. You get excited about the possibility of doing more with the characters or doing more with the stories. I found it completely exciting and I was thrilled to be part of it.
On working with writers and have them write about his life:
M. Maron Well, you know, itís interesting, having never been in this situation before, just how collaborative it really is. These were guys that we working on my show, we had a lot of support from IFC and from Fox and from Apostle. We did not have the same demands on an executive level that, I think, a network show has Ė at least from my experience and from hearing about other peopleís experiences.
From the very beginning, we all were very aware that these were my stories and that I was the center of this show. If there were things that I didnít think were right or I couldnít say or that I didnít think were funny, there was discussion about it. Every script at every point of the process was collaborative. Even when we went off to write our own script based on outlines and stories that we had all worked together on, you bring those back in the room and then we go over them again and again.
Thereís really nothing in the show that I didnít want to be in the show, and thereís nothing that was demanded to be taken out that we didnít agree to or understand the logic behind. It was all very collaborative and the power thing was not really an issue. We were all on the same team there.
On what he learned through making this show:
M. Maron I found that when I got to work, at all points during this process, I was able, or at least tried, to put my ego aside as much as possible because I knew that I was new to this. I know that Iím the personality that this is built around and that is driving it, but I had not had experience in writing television. I had not had experience being on a production or a set that long or having these responsibilities or acting and everything else.
The biggest thing I learned was itís really best to just show up for work and just be a guy thatís working with other people and you respect that and trust other people as much as possible. Make sure thereís a lot of communication around things that youíre not comfortable with or you donít think is right, or what.
I guess what Iím saying is that even though this thing was built around me and it was my show, when I showed up for work, either in the writing process or in the production process of the shooting, I wasnít walking in thinking Iím the boss here, this is my show. I really didnít have that ego going in. I just wanted to be part of the collaboration and do the best job possible and trust the people to do their other jobs.
I think the biggest thing I learned was to be excited and vigilant about collaborating, but also leave a lot of room for other people to do their thing and open up the conversation around what the best thing to do is. That was, really, what I learned. Iíd never done that before and it was a very good experience.
On mining some of the podcast and real life events for the series:
M. Maron The process of me tracking down a troll who was posting bad things about me on another website Ė it wasnít a Twitter event, but it was actually a separate website, a smaller website that I didnít usually go to Ė and I just found this guy that was, basically, campaigning against me and using information that was very revisionist. It was just this weird, very focused, and ongoing attack on me.
The method I used to find him, to figure out his real identity, was very similar to what happened in the show. I ended up engaging that guy, and it went on for months. But it happened all online. That story took a different direction. Being that that was the root of this, we had to figure out, well, letís get me outside, letís get me out in the world and go track this guy down, and create a character for this guy.
Thatís the way that changed, but the root of it and how I engage with trolls, if I do, and how extreme that can get, was very real. The process of it, that, you know, in order for the story to have movement, we created the character who was attacking me and we went to him. The outcome was not exactly the same, but that is always the outcome. You donít really know why exactly youíre engaging this person, but itís usually because you want to argue them into liking you, somehow. In that way, the heart of the story is the same, but the actual process of tracking the guy down became larger in the episode.