Mark Maron | DMITRI VON KLEIN PHOTO
Updated: June 14, 2012 9:43PM
These days Marc Maron is best known for his nearly three-year-old, comedy-centric podcast “WTF,” where he’s hosted the likes of Norm Macdonald and Sarah Silverman, Louis CK, Jonathan Winters and scores of other prominent jesters of the day.
But the New Jersey-born broadcaster is a journeyman stand-up comic as well, having gigged around the country and appeared on television for a quarter-century. The ever-burgeoning popularity of “WTF,” however, has raised his profile like nothing else before it.
“I’ve been playing San Francisco for 17 or 18 years at the Punchline, and last year was the first time I sold out five shows,” he says by way of example. “I did that twice. I just sold out five shows at Acme [Comedy Co.] in Minneapolis. I sold out the Neptune Theatre up in Seattle. That would never have happened [before]. I couldn’t even get booked two, three years ago.”
Besides luring lots more patrons to his shows, Maron says “WTF” — the program itself and the process of producing it on a twice-a-week basis — has enhanced his material, his “continuity of mind” and his sense of self.
“My comedy has never been better. And these people who are coming out know me very well, which [is] it’s own sort of burden to bear. . . . They all have a very intimate understanding of me and they have a very genuine relationship with me, because radio’s a very intimate thing.”
Rather than work from a place of aggression or defensiveness or detachment, as he often did in the past, Maron says he now feels more “emotionally open and engaged with my sense of humor as opposed to walking out there and trying to corral some sort of reaction or play to a bunch of strangers.”
♦ Marc Maron appears Saturday, June 16, at the Chicago Theatre as part of the Sarah Silverman-hosted show “Sarah’s Pro-Choice.” Shows 7:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m., tickets $48.50 (plus fees and taxes). Call (800) 745-3000; ticketmaster.com.