After college, Marc Maron moved to L.A. and did enough blow to kill a brontosaurus. He soon suffered a psychotic breakdown so severe that his own dealer urged him to leave town. After a stint in rehab, he spent the next few years in New York, living near a drug den on the Lower East Side, “trying to stay clean, but not really.”
“My heroes were always drug addicts. I wasn’t a sports guy. It was always the beatniks. Burroughs, Keith Richards, Lenny Bruce,” Maron says. The longtime comic road warrior, ex-lefty rabble rouser and former drug addict is now 15 years sober. In that time he’s become one of the darkest, funniest, most influential figures in comedy today.
“Being a fuck up is not a struggle, you’re just a fuck up. Trying to unfuck yourself — that’s a struggle.” To regular listeners of the comedian’s acclaimed podcast WTF with Marc Maron, this shrift is nothing new. Since launching in 2009, WTF has set itself apart by Maron’s devotion to exploring some of the more nasty bits of life, which he illustrates in this video interview about his past drug addictions.
“I did my graduate work in chopping coke for Sam,” Maron says. That would be the late comedian Sam Kinison, whose entourage Maron found himself in upon moving to Los Angeles in the ’80s. But the lifestyle proved to be too much for Maron, and eventually his mental health took a toll.
“It’s weird when you hear voices in your head. It’s never one. It’s always many. And you spend a lot of time trying to get them to pick a leader.”
Marc has now been sober for over a decade.