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Marc Maron on WTF, His Sitcom, and Patent Trolls

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Marc Maron is a headlining comic, broadcaster, occasional actor, political pundit, and award-winning podcaster. Now he can add sitcom star to his resume. His critically acclaimed series, Maron, is in its third season on IFC, and he couldn't be more thrilled.

"It's a very funny season," he states. "I'm very happy with it. I think it's the funniest one we've done for sure."

Unlike some shows, Maron seemed to find its legs quickly, though its star might disagree.

"Generally speaking, I don't really know how people acclimated to it -- or whether they didn't," he says. "The show is based on my life, but there were a lot of things I needed to learn about the experience of writing and acting and producing television. The second season was a little better, and I got a little more comfortable. This season is even better because I'm more comfortable with the process working and with crew. We know each other and we were able to take some more liberties story-wise. It was a natural evolution."

At first glance, it might look easy playing a character based on yourself. But there is still acting involved.

"Yeah it's a scripted show," Maron says, "and everything is run through me. I'm part of the writing process, but it's different because you're doing scenes over and over again and trying to get the writing and the acting and the movements and everything right. You have to get the beats right, too. It's a whole other muscle. It's a whole other job and it's not something I've done a lot of, but now I'm more comfortable with it."

Between the show and his podcast, the live audiences that are coming to see Maron are made up primarily of fans.

"I like that," he says. I also like new people too. A lot of people are still coming to me." Oddly, some fans only know him from one project or the other, but not both. "A lot of people now have only seen the TV show and don't know the podcast. I've come to the point where I just want to do a good show and be as funny as possible, and that's what I've been doing."

While the TV show has expanded his audience, it was the podcast that rejuvenated his career, though that was never the plan. "I had nothing really invested in it when I started. I didn't see it as means to make a living or even selling tickets. I saw it as something I had to do."

That opportunity was nearly undone, however, when so-called patent trolls threatened Maron and other high-profile podcasters. They sued Adam Corolla, who in turn led the counter-attack with the support of fellow podcasters like Maron, as well as fans of the medium. The battle made headlines, though the resolution didn't gain as much attention. In April Personal Audio, the company that claimed to own a patent on podcasting, was dealt a serious setback when the patent office denied key parts of the alleged patent.

"[It was] not just a setback, that was a huge victory," Maron clarifies. "Nobody really reported on it and nobody really talked about it. Nobody seemed to take the time to track the evolution of that story, which was phenomenal and what happened was an amazing struggle that had a great resolution. That patent was defeated because podcasters rallied together and brought enough money to the Electronic Frontier Foundation."

The EFF is the non-profit organization that disputed the issue with the patent office on behalf of podcasters. The ruling means Maron's podcast, WTF, can continue to grow impeded only by his future success with other projects.

IF YOU GO:

Marc Maron 7:30 p.m. Sunday, June 7 Pantages Theater $35 For more info, call 612-339-7007 or visit online