One of the comedian Marc Maron’s great strengths, which he demonstrates on his bi-weekly podcast, is the ability to be vulnerable and open, whether discussing addiction, anxiety, heartbreak, or anger. In turn he allows his guests—among them great writers, actors, musicians, and comedians—to do the same. In 2010, Maron visited Robin Williams at his home in Marin County, California. “On the fame scale, he’s probably the biggest interview I’ve ever done,” a nervous Maron tells listeners from his car on the way to Williams’ home.
In the wake of Williams’ untimely death, Maron re-released the interview on his website last night with a touching, updated introduction.
In the episode, the two comedians discuss alcohol and cocaine addiction, authorship, their colleagues, the figurative heart-opening effects of open-heart surgery, and the therapeutic quality of doing stand-up comedy. It’s well worth a listen; you can download or stream it here.
Not one to shy away from tough topics, Maron asks Williams about death. Williams then launches into an impression of his own conscience (52:00 in the podcast):
When I was drinking, there was only one time even for a moment when I thought, ‘Aw, fuck life.’ And then, even my conscious brain went:
Did you honestly just say, ‘fuck life?’ You know, you have a pretty good life as it is right now. Did you notice the two houses? Yes? Have you noticed the girlfriend. Yes? Have you noticed that you have a pretty good life, even though you may not working right now?
Okay, let’s put the suicide over here on discussable, let’s leave that over here in the discussion area. First of all, you don’t have the balls to do it. I’m not going to say it out loud. I mean, have you thought about buying a gun?
What were you going to do, like cut your wrists with a water pick?
So, that’s erosion. What are you thinking about that? So, can I put this over here in the What the Fuck category? Yes, let’s put that over here in What the Fuck. Because, can I ask you what you’re doing right now in this moment? You’re sitting naked in a hotel room with a bottle of Jack Daniels?
Is this maybe influencing your decision?
Okay, we’re going to put that over here, and tomorrow morning—and uh, who is that in the bed there?
I don’t know.
Okay, well, don’t discuss this with her because she may tweet it, okay? This may not be good. Let’s put that over here in the What the Fuck category, possibly for therapy, if you wanted to talk about that in therapy. Or maybe, a podcast two years from now. You wanna talk about it in a podcast?
No, I feel safe!
You’re talking about it in a podcast.
I know. Who is this?
It’s your conscience, asshole.
So, have you ever thought about it since then?
During the surgery, were you thinking about death?
Because I was just thinking everything was going to be fine.
Was that your mother talking?
She was a Christian Scientist who had plastic surgery. Wow. Is that a mixed message?
Yeah, that is.
Okay, we’re going to go back to the podcast now because Marc’s sitting here, but we’re talking now. I know I feel like golf commentary.