I’ve listened to enough WTF Podcast episodes to have finally realized, “You know, what? Marc Maron is actually pretty good at this.” A previous coolstuffs I wrote about a Marc Maron article inspired me to go more in depth into what makes him so good at what he does.
Woody Allen turned 80 on December first, so The Laugh Button compiled a list of his top 80 quotes. There were two realizations I made from reading all of these quotes: 1) humor changes over time and 2) Woody Allen has made a ton of jokes about sex.
What I mean about humor changing is that these quotes might be seen as more “clever” than laugh out loud funny. At least that’s how I see them. Most of the quotes here are from Woody Allen movies, but a few are from his stand up. I have a few of his stand up records and I think they’re better told than read.
What I mean about lots of sex jokes is…well, just look at the article.
Here’s a quote I liked:
“I thought of that old joke: This guy goes to a psychiatrist and says, ‘Doc, my brother’s crazy, he thinks he’s a chicken.’ And the doctor says, ‘Well why don’t you turn him in?’ and the guy says, ‘I would, but I need the eggs.’ Well, I guess that’s pretty much now how I feel about relationships. They’re totally irrational and crazy and absurd, but I guess we keep going through it because most of us need the eggs.” – from Annie Hall
A comedian friend posted this on Facebook saying that he’d seen it a few times before, but that looking at his bank account balance while sleeping on the couch made him remember it.
Here’s why I’m not a sad computer programmer, for instance:
Realize that sleeping on a futon when you’re 30 is not the worst thing. You know what’s worse, sleeping in a king bed next to a wife you’re not really in love with but for some reason you married, and you got a couple kids, and a job you hate. You’ll be laying there fantasizing about sleeping on a futon. There’s no risk when you go after a dream. There’s a tremendous amount of risk to playing it safe.
The Writers’ Room on Netflix and The Writers’ Room Podcast offer a glimpse into what goes on in the heads of the people who pen the most popular and interesting television scripts out there today.
I first found the show through a screenwriting class (cool, right?) and then rediscovered it on Netflix recently, prompting me to watch all six episodes in quick succession. If you’re curious about what it’s like to write for Breaking Bad, Parks and Recreation, Dexter, New Girl, Game of Thrones, American Horror Story, and more, definitely take a look. It’s not just about comedy; it’s about the beautiful, lovely craft of writing!
So I talk about Marc Maron a lot and I realized that not many people really know what he does. Even though he’s getting to be more of a household name, I bet that most people, when they heard that he interviewed Obama, went, “who?!”
Maron is a podcaster. And he’s a comic. And he’s been around forever but never really got a “big break” until WTF Podcast, which isn’t so much a “break” so much as it is something he made happen himself.
Marc is a self-described “angry dude” who somehow became the most successful comedy podcaster out there. His style is different. When I first started listening to him, I couldn’t help but find him loud, narcissistic, and yeah – angry. But the more I listened, the more I liked him. I realized that he’s a phenomenal interviewer and he has a great story. He’s “the underdog” and people like to see the underdog succeed.
This awesome article came out yesterday about how Maron rose to where he is today, and it’s a really cool read. For all the work that Maron does showcasing other people, it’s great that The Washington Post would feature his life’s work. You can read How an angry comic who had a coke habit became the Barbara Walters of podcastshere.
Why would I want to read something like this? Well, for one, it’s good to know what to avoid. I think I’ve gotten loads better just seeing other comics do badly (not to be mean) and thinking “well I know why that didn’t work.” It’s almost as useful to see what doesn’t work as it is to see what does work and you see a lot of things not working at open mics, that’s for sure.
And for two, comics just like to talk about sad things like failing. Marc Maron has all but made a career out of it.
Do you need some tips to help your writing stand out to agents looking for the next big thing? No? Me neither, never mind.
Here are some ideas to get you thinking about scriptwriting in a different way. Although it bills itself as a “for getting an agent” thing, this is really a useful read for learning about screenwriting in general. I mean, if you think about it, writing that will impress an agent is darn close to the same writing that will impress producers and other writers. So these are pretty good writing tips for any screenwriter.
I really need to set aside more time for screenwriting. I guess I’ll do that.
The featured picture shows the intersection of Macdougal and 3rd Streets in the West Village. Ben’s Pizzeria can be seen in the opening credits of the show Louie, where Louis CK grabs a bite of pizza and a passer-by flips him off. It’s also the scene for a first date in the pilot episode. The pizza is pretty good.
As a lot of conversations among comedians start, I was on the train with my friend Mark. I asked him if he’d seen Master of None (MoN) on Netflix yet. He said, “Yeah! I thought it was awful – I couldn’t watch past the first episode.” And of course I was like, “What?! That’s crazy! I think it’s awesome!”
I lied: his real name isn’t Mark. Way to lose the reader’s trust 15 seconds in.
Remember how awesome story time was? Wasn’t it the coolest? Chilling in the classroom after recess, kicking back and hearing a fable or a yarn performed by your teacher just for you, with all the acting prowess of a Hollywood superstar like Keanu Reeves.
Wouldn’t it be cool if there was a place where people would come and tell stories to crowds of people? Like really, really awesome stories. Like, the best stories in the world. The kind of stories you only hear once every few years and they make you think, “Whoa, that was an amazing story.” (How often does your friend actually tell you an interesting story? Let’s be honest: never.)
Well, that fantastical fantasy actually happens at The Moth in New York City. It’s like story time for adults and it’s awesome.
In this video, Louis CK accepts some storytelling award at The Moth and starts his speech by humorously characterizing the storytelling organization as follows:
It’s nice to know you can reliably cry by listening to something.
Well, apparently there are a lot of sad stories told there. CK goes on to share a brief word about how awesome storytelling is before sharing his own story about a visit to Russia. The story is fantastic. It’s a great glimpse into Louis doing material that isn’t all punch lines, but is still hilariously fun.
You can also listen to The Moth on the radio, on iTunes, or on their website.
Shout out to a friend for sharing this great video with me!
You know that guy Zach Galifianakis from the hangover. You know him from his Splitsider top 20 comedy album of all time, Zach Galifianakis: Live at the Purple Onion. But, six years before that, in 2001, he was on Comedy Central Presents. And you can hear the difference.
Check out this recording of his 2001 special and compare to Live at the Purple Onion and who he is now. It’s some of the same material, but the character is even more extreme.
It’s fascinating to see how he grows and develops his delivery over those six years.