“Waiting for the Punch: Words to Live By From the WTF Podcast” by Marc Maron and Brendan McDonald, Flatiron Books, 401 pages, $27.99.
His devoted listeners were waiting. Early in the week, Comedian Marc Maron accommodated them on his popular and amazingly influential “WTF Podcast.” About his friend Louis C.K.’s admitting the uglier facts about the New York Times reportage that finally confirmed almost 20 years of C.K. rumors Maron said “I knew what most people knew. There was a story out there, I guess going back several years ... It was always out there ... I would say ‘this story forcing these women to watch you [masturbate], what is that, is that true? He goes ‘No, it’s not true. It’s not real. It’s a rumor. And I would say ‘Well are you going to address it somehow? Handle it? Get out from under it whenever it shows up?’ ‘No I can’t. I just can’t do that. I can’t give it life, give it air.’ That was the conversation.”
On top of everything else, C.K. broke America’s unspoken contract to be candid with Marc Maron. That one of the day’s front page news stories was eagerly awaited as a subject for a podcast is a byproduct of Maron’s podcast interviews in Highland Park, California because, as John Oliver says in his introduction to this absorbing miscellany from the podcast, it has become “one of the most recognizable ... in the world” and has featured “conversations with everyone from comedians, actors, musicians and writers to and actual sitting president.”
Yes, even Barack Obama came to Maron’s garage to talk. And, to make news when he discussed with bracing frankness, his early life search for identity including how to deal with the N-word. Says Oliver “the smart constantly curious host” “with an almost pathological desire to connect to people” proved to be “extremely good at interviewing” (an understatement if ever there was one). “His ludicrous level of honesty acts as a kind of emotional wrecking ball, even to the most guarded human being.” And so, among those whose candor you’ll be reading in bits and pieces on various subjects here are everyone from Bruce Springsteen, Sir Ian McKellen, Mel Brooks, Ru Paul, Dan Savage and Terry Gross to Margaret Cho, Conan O’Brien, and Ray Romano. Fascinating.