Marc Maron is a stand-up comedian and host of the podcast WTF with Marc Maron. He has appeared in his own comedy specials on Comedy Central and HBO, and his sitcom Maron airs on IFC. He lives in Los Angeles.
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Excerpt from book:
The Situation in My Head
I had a bad run-in with myself on a plane recently. I had just flown from Dublin to Chicago and hadn’t slept much. I was strung out. Tired. Tweaky. I changed planes in Chicago to fly to Los Angeles. Things were vibrating and I was edgy. I was in the exhaustion zone, feeling the kind of tired you can’t sleep off because you can’t sleep, because your blood is pumping caffeinated dread and loathing.
I was seated at the front of coach in an aisle seat, directly behind the first-class dividing wall and the flight attendant service area. It’s my favorite seat on a plane. I like watching people get on the plane so I can judge them. I like judging. I didn’t see any real problems among the passengers who awkwardly clumped onto the plane, but I definitely felt like I was in a better place than some of them, which helped take the edge off my mood. Judging works.
We took off. The flight attendants were strapped in almost directly in front of me, facing me. I always scan their faces for fear. I rarely see it. When I do see something dark flicker across their faces, it usually seems like it has nothing to do with the job. More likely something personal that followed them onto the plane. But then again, what do I know. I project. Then I judge.
The crew seemed pleasant. One woman in particular seemed genuinely nice: blond hair, about fifty, pretty in the classic California way. I always wonder when I see older flight attendants if they’ve been at it since the seventies, when things were crazy. Did she ever have sex in a cockpit? Did she survive a crash? Get tied up in a hijacking? Did she ever have sex in a bathroom with a passenger? With the pilot? I like to give my flight attendants a bit of backstory. I decided she was an out-of-control instigator of major in-flight mayhem back in the day. She got through it disease-free and didn’t end up in rehab. She started a family, her husband had a drug problem he couldn’t kick and left her, but she did all right. The husband had a lot of money, so she’s good. Humble and wise. She lives in Topanga with a few big dogs. Her kids are in college. Only a few people know her from her old life and one of them is the pilot on the flight I am on. That’s who I made the flight attendant up to be.
Once we were up in the air I was crawling out of my skin. I couldn’t sleep and had definitely had enough of flying. I needed to walk around and judge. I walked down the aisle toward the back of the plane in hopes of going to the bathroom. I didn’t really have to go but sometimes it’s just nice to lock yourself in the bathroom of a plane and take a few minutes to look in the mirror. I reached the door of the bathroom and the little lock indicator said Vacant, but there was a man standing in front of the door. Hanging out, I guess. He was a Middle Eastern–looking man, olive-skinned with Semitic features—a dubious shade of brown. I looked at him and gave him a raised-eyebrow grunt, asking if he was waiting. He looked me right in the eye but didn’t speak for a moment. Then he shook his head no. It was a simple gesture, but seemed ominous and cryptic. I couldn’t understand why he was standing there. In retrospect he was probably just doing what I was doing. Stretching, moving around. But in that moment, when I looked into his eyes, fear shot through me. I was sure that this guy was up to something. He had that look in his eye. Scheming, driven, fullPraise for Marc Maron and WTF
“The stuff of comedy legend.”—Rolling Stone
“Marc Maron is a startlingly honest, compelling, and hilarious comedian-poet. Truly one of the greatest of all time.”—Louis C.K.
“I’ve known Marc for years and I can tell you first hand that he’s passionate, fearless, honest, self-absorbed, neurotic, and screamingly funny.”—David Cross
“Revered among his peers . . . raw and unflinchingly honest.”—Entertainment Weekly
“Devastatingly funny.”—Los Angeles Times
“For a comedy nerd, this show is nirvana.”—Judd Apatow
From the Hardcover edition.