I have mentioned Marc Maron in the past. He is a great interviewer, and he makes me laugh while I slowly get to know more and more about him. In my book More Podcast Money, I mention how one of the ways you benefit from podcasting is speaking engagements. Marc was asked to deliver the Keynote Speech at the Montreal Comedy Festival. Here are some very interesting snippets:
I have been doing standup for 25 years. I’ve put more than half my life into building my clown. Three years ago my clown was broke, on many levels, and according to my manager at the time un-bookable and without options. That was a good talk:
My manager: Nobody wants to work with you. I can’t get you an agent. I cant you get you any road work. I can’t get you anything.
Me: Uh, okay, so, uh, what do we do…..
My manager: Are you looking at my hair? Why are you looking at my hair? Does it look bad?
Me: No, it’s fine. What should I do?
My manager: I don’t know what we’re going to do. Stop looking at my hair. Am I fat? Seriously, am I?
My first thought after that meeting was: I’m going to kill myself. My second thought was: I could get a regular job. My third thought was: I need a new manager. I think I had the order wrong. I drove home defeated. 25 years in and I had nothing. I was sitting alone in my garage in a house I was about to lose because of that bitch–lets not get into that now–and I realized. Fuck, you can build a clown, and they might not come. I was thinking, “It’s over. It’s fucking over.” Then I thought: “You have no kids, no wife, no career, certainly no plan B. Why not kill yourself?” I thought about suicide a lot—not because I really wanted to kill myself. I just found it relaxing to know that I could if I had to.
Then I thought maybe I could get a regular job. Even though the last regular job I had was in a restaurant like 25 years ago. I said to myself, I still got it! It’s like riding a bike. Just get me a spatula and watch me flip some eggs or some burgers. Then I thought, “What are you fucking crazy? You think they’re going to hire a 47 year old man who’s last restaurant job was part time short order cook in 1987?How are you going to explain those lost years? Are you going to show the bar manager your Conan reel. You’re an idiot.”
Broke, defeated and career-less, I started doing a podcast in that very garage where I was planning my own demise. I started talking about myself on the mic with no one telling me what I could or couldn’t say. I started to reach out to comics. I needed help. Personal help. Professional help. Help. I needed to talk. So, I reached out to my peers and talked to them. I started to feel better about life, comedy, creativity, community. I started to understand who I was by talking to other comics and sharing it with you. I started to laugh at things again. I was excited to be alive. Doing the podcast and listening to comics was saving my life. I realized that is what comedy can do for people.
You know what the industry had to do with that?
I do this podcast out of my garage that has had over 20 million downloads in less than two years. It is critically acclaimed. I have interviewed over 200 comics, created live shows, I am writing a book, I have a loyal borderline-obsessive fan base who bring me baked goods and artwork, I have evolved as a person and a performer, I am at the top of my game and no one can tell me what to do—I built it myself, I work for myself, I have full creative freedom.
I am the future of show business. Not your show business, my show business. They want me to do this speech because I am the future of our industry.
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You can buy a usb microphone like a Blue Snowball for $70 (for the record for the long haul, I would go with a non USB microphone, but don't get hung up on something like a microphone that can be swapped out later), and use free software like Audacity or Sony Acid lite to reach the world.
If your worried about putting out something that's not good. EVERY PODCAST HATES THEIR FIRST EPISODE. Get over it. The first time a comedian gets up on amateur night, they probably didn't have the audience rolling.
If you need help starting a podcast, please contact me (dave “at” schoolofpodcasting “dot” com).