Marc Maron and Jerry Seinfeld Produce a Powerful Episode of the WTF Podcast

Published on June 12, 2020

Jerry Seinfeld and Marc Maron couldn’t be more different. They’re polar opposites with different approaches to their craft. Maron is vulnerable, Seinfeld is steely. And yet, together the two of them have produced one of the most exciting and revealing hours of Maron’s hit podcast, WTF.

Episode 1,129

Maron and Seinfeld don’t have much history together. After over a thousand episodes of WTF, Seinfeld hadn’t appeared on the show. Neither had Maron appeared on Seinfeld’s Netflix series, Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee. They’re just so… different. Even throughout WTF’s history, Maron has expressed that Seinfeld’s comedy isn’t his taste. Maron prefers raw emotions in his comedy, what he sees as real. When the two finally got together to discuss their differences of opinion, it was gold.

Funny isn’t Always Pain

It’s no secret Maron doesn’t quite connect with comedians who aren’t revealing their souls or innermost thoughts. Seinfeld isn’t one of those guys. He’s a craftsman, who recently released a fantastic new special, 23 Hours to Kill. In Maron’s eyes, Seinfeld’s comedy reveals little about him — but as Seinfeld explains in his own way, he reveals a lot.

23 Hours to Kill
Seinfeld is a Personal Comedian 

Seinfeld is personal in his own way on stage. Yes, he doesn’t share intimate details about his personal life, but who wants or needs to know how Seinfeld lives day-to-day? It’s not that interesting and more than likely, not that funny. If it was funny, Seinfeld would probably talk about it. The mystery around Seinfeld is satisfying, too, but hardly a mystery to begin with. There’s something nice not knowing everything about Seinfeld, though. It’s all about the work, not the man behind the work. 

The work itself is, in its own way, as personal as what Maron does. It’s just different. What Seinfeld finds funny does reveal the inner workings of Jerry Seinfeld. Similar to Steve Martin, what someone is amused by does tell you something about them. Enough to call the work personal, too. These particular subjects made for a spirited conversation and borderline debate between Macron and Seinfeld.

Two Different Comics

The two are hilarious together, too. It’s such an odd couple. Like any great movie pairing, sometimes opposites attract beautifully. It’s exactly what happens in the hour-long conversation between Maron and Seinfeld: they bring out the best in one another. It’s hilarious hearing these two not see eye-to-eye, especially when Seinfeld simply says “no” to a thought or question. Even Seinfeld can make that word hilarious. 

When the conversation is seemingly over, the debate over comedy continues. Maron desperately tries to understand Seinfeld’s way of thinking, which is refreshingly straight-forward. Maron wants the complex, the inner demons, and all of that, but there’s a wonderful simplicity about Seinfeld and his comedy. The craft is complex even if his subject matters are not. Seinfeld is graceful simplicity, Maron is messy complexity. In the end, they connect in their own way. It’s revealed throughout the hour-long chat they have more in common than they might think. Their bond over their love of comedy is so pure and inspiring, almost romantic in its own way. They do both romanticize and pick apart the craft in their own unique ways. 

Pain in Comedy

A lot of Maron’s material is driven by pain, none of Seinfeld’s is. The tortured comic Seinfeld is not. While Maron seemingly struggled to break through to Seinfeld and get under his armor, he does it many times without trying. When Seinfeld said he decided he wanted to live a life of fun early on in his life, that said so much about him. Again, Seinfeld does reveal himself, just not everything. Nobody’s business but his own. Maron, on the other hand, shares almost everything. 

Maron got deeper with Seinfeld than he might think because never before had I felt I got to learn so much about Seinfeld — the person, not the comic — from a conversation. Seinfeld brought the laughs, Maron brought the pain, and it was fantastic. Both personal and funny, like most great comedies. It’s such a rollercoaster of a conversation, with an especially heartbreaking moment when Maron and Seinfeld remember the late Gary Shandling. It’s a poignant episode about craft and life that leaves you thinking one word, “Beautiful.”

Jack Giroux is a Staff Writer at Grit Daily. Based in Los Angeles, he is an entertainment journalist who's previously written for Thrillist, Slash Film, Film School Rejects, and The Film Stage.

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