The way people talk about Marc Maron as an interviewer, you might forget he’s a comic, too. Maron has been in comedy for nearly 30 years, a former cokehead stand-up at The Comedy Store in Los Angeles and veteran “alternative” comedian for whom widespread fame always seemed three inches from reach. But those details usually fall in the second paragraph of the Standard Media Narrative about the host and creator of WTF with Marc Maron. Most people like to talk about how, in 2009, the comic launched the podcast that went on to become one of the most transgressive talk shows in comedy. Not just a whiteboard for untested material, WTF “goes deep,” burrowing into the fraught psyches of Maron’s guests, usually fellow comics, but increasingly just famous people (Elizabeth Banks, Andrew W.K., Michael Keaton). Most episodes yield some juicy tidbit—literary humorist and “PC Guy” John Hodgman recently confessed to suffering from a kind of impostor complex—but sometimes, his guests exceed everyone’s expectations: Stand-up Todd Glass came out as a gay man on WTF in 2012; the year before, Norm MacDonald spilled on his life-ruining gambling addiction. But while it doesn’t take long to embrace Maron the talk-show host, liking Maron the stand-up requires a little more work. He’s the classic neurotic; a sort of emotional sword-swallower who gobbles up pain wherever he goes—but does it, at least, for our entertainment and, sometimes, enlightenment.
Marc Maron performs at 8 p.m. at Sixth & I Historic Synagogue, 600 I St. NW. $27.50 plus fees. (202) 408-3100. sixthandi.org.