"Waiting for the Punch" is the latest book from comedian, podcast host, writer, and actor, Marc Maron.
his book should be called "Therapy with Celebrities"
During my last trip to NYC, I discovered that comedian, writer, podcast host, and actor, Marc Maron, would also be there, at BookCon, a thing I didn’t know existed until last month. (As a writer, I should really keep up on these things.) I first saw Marc last year on Chelsea Handler’s Netflix talk show, and was immediately drawn in by him. He’s older than me, he’s a cat guy, he’s as neurotic as he is intelligent, and his sense of humor makes me laugh. On top of these things, I suspect he would drive me absolutely insane in real life. Our hypothetical relationship has already crashed and burned in my mind, but, man, what a ride. What I’m saying is: he’s exactly my type. My perfect man.
After the Handler interview, I bought Marc’s book, "Attempting Normal," and had the entire thing read that night. What struck me about the book (beyond the hilarious, dreadful, wonderful, soul-crushing stories of the often-broken man within its pages), is that there is absolutely no pretense with this guy – not in his writing, and not in his personality. In the book, he is exactly the same person he was in that Handler interview. Not only is he my perfect man, he’s authentically so. The crush was on.
I snagged a ticket for Marc’s autograph session for his new book, “Waiting for the Punch,” and hopped the 7 train to the Javit’s Center for BookCon. I caught the tail end of his panel discussion about the book with producer Brendon McDonald. Apparently, Mr. Maron was an angry man in his younger days (now whenever I hear “An Angry Young Man” by Billy Joel I think of him), but there’s no sign of that guy anymore. He seems to have settled into a relaxed and content (perhaps even happy?) life.
Since 2009, Marc has hosted a weekly podcast called “WTF with Marc Maron,” where he sits down in his garage with an amalgam of well-known artists – actors, musicians, comedians, and even a sitting President – and has one-on-one chats with them. I’ve only recently started listening to the archived podcasts, and WTF is good stuff. So far, I’ve listened to Robin Williams (RIP), President Barack Obama, Bruce Springsteen, and Amy Schumer. “Waiting for the Punch” is the literary version of the podcast—highlights of the conversations Marc has had with these people. At Bookcon, those who attended the autograph session were given an advanced reading copy of the book. I finished it last night, and I’m still processing the importance of it.
“Waiting for the Punch” is therapy delivered to the reader by his or her favorite celebrity. Struggling with addiction? They can help. Worried about failure? Don’t be: they did it for you. Long-festering family issues? They’ve been there. And my personal favorite: Horrible at relationships? Terrified of intimacy? The thought of happiness with another human being make your skin crawl? You’re not the only one. The book should be called “Therapy with Celebrities.” And if you’re one of those people who says that celebrities’ opinions don’t mean anything to you, there is still value in what these people have to say. In fact, with Marc, eventually, they aren’t celebrities at all. They’re just people having a conversation.
It takes a special kind of personality to draw such powerful and personal insights out of people who have made a career out of protecting their true selves in the public’s eye. Kudos to Mr. Maron for doing it so seemingly effortlessly. It’s clear he’s doing exactly what he was meant to do in life: talk and listen.
And if his hypothetical ex-girlfriend says he's good, he must be good.