And Then There Were Podcasts: How Marc Maron’s WTF Changed The World

Veteran Comedian, actor, radio personality, screenwriter and television producer Marc Maron has a net worth of $4 million and earns $1 million annually, mainly from his “WTF with Marc Maron” podcast.

The podcast features famous figures from Hollywood and beyond, drawing interest, criticism and a level of fame from guests like Barack Obama and Louis C.K.

Business wasn’t always so lucrative however, as Maron found himself struggling in his stand-up career and frustrated by years of going unnoticed. The podcast has finally cemented Maron’s level of success among the Hollywood elite and this is how he did it.

The Early Years

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Maron began his stand-up career at 24, but didn’t truly get his first break until performing at The Comedy Store in Los Angeles. An eventual move to New York City, led to a failed audition for “Saturday Night Live”, though he continued to visit the comedy clubs and audiences seemed to enjoy his brutally honest, sometimes crass and according to The Guardian, “ill-defined” work.

He spent five years, jumping from one radio show to the next with Air America, found some work as a host for “Short Attention Span Theater” and “Comedy Central Presents”. According to Celebrity Net Worth, Maron also created his own one-man show, “Jerusalem Syndrome” which became somewhat popular off-Broadway.

By the early 2000’s, Maron said his career had lost relevance. He was no longer selling tickets and had watched fellow comedians like Sarah Silverman, Louis C.K., David Cross and others rise to the top and obtain the success he’d hoped for.

He’s openly discussed his own suicidal thoughts, diving full-fledged into depression, self-pity and despair.

A Second Chapter

It was out of this depression, in 2009, Maron chose to sit down in his garage, “the very place I was planning my own demise” he told The Atlantic and launched a podcast.

According to Maron, he began by just talking about himself, feeling the freedom of others not controlling his narrative and his unique way of communicating. He wanted to talk to friends, co-workers, celebrities and more, to reach out and create relationships and knew he needed help as he worked through the feelings of failure.

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“WTF with Marc Maron” began with Maron bringing in other comedians and for the first time, he was in the listening chair versus the speaking/performance chair.

Maron’s roster of guests is so diverse, he’s managed to draw a diverse audience as well. He’s had conversations with Mel Brooks, Iggy Pop, Leonardo DiCaprio and the late Robin Williams and his unique interview style allows each to share who they are in their own unique way.

He’s not afraid to confront, challenge and offend, but he also has been the place where comedian Todd Glass felt safe to come out as gay, where Bob Odenkirk discussed his anger issues and Obama said the N word.

Controversy, conversation and compromise have all come out of what is now a wildly popular podcast, with an estimated 220,000 downloads per episode.

Rising to the Top

The decision to sit down in his own garage and begin recording and posting his conversations with a variety of well-known names may have very well saved his life. In addition, it launched a second chapter in Maron’s career that he could have never planned.

In 2013, Maron released his memoir, “Attempting Normal”. The acting roles seemed to present themselves: “Maron”, a series based on the comedian’s life, ran from 2013 to 2016. He also had a role in Netflix’s “GLOW”, and you’d find him in the film “Joker” with Joaquin Phoenix. He just completed his third Netflix comedy special this spring, “End Times Fun”, according to Indiewire.

Recently announced, Maron and producer Brendan McDonald are expected to be the first-ever recipients of the Governors Award by the Podcast Academy for Excellence in Audio (Ambies) for their work on the podcast.

Those accolades and the recognition are impressive and a nod to the success Maron has been working toward for decades, however, his own self-improvement might be the best reward.

According to Maron, he’s become a better listener. Through the podcast, he’s able to address important issues and raise questions others may be afraid to ask.

He’s also sober. After years of drug and alcohol abuse, sobriety took hold in 1999. According to The Guardian, the comedian that exuded negativity, bold honesty and many times controversy, now offers humility, vulnerability and understanding toward many podcast guests.

From struggling and rejected to award winning podcast host, Maron has created a new life and found a way to be himself rather than trying to fit in the box others have created.

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Sources: The Guardian, Celebrity Net Worth, The Atlantic, Indiewire

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