The Art of the Interview

I’ve praised Marc Maron’s podcast before, and it’s (almost) always worth a listen. This week’s episode is especially good: friend of the blog (and underpraised American treasure) Harry Shearer!

There’s a lot of subtext to this one and I’m not sure exactly what to think. Harry’s a complicated guy. He’s funny and brilliant, and yet he seems not to have too many friends. (How can that be!?) I blame showbiz: he’s spent his life battling the entertainment industry, and the fighting spirit has probably spilled over into his relationships with those closest to him. Like a Roman soldier on a decades-long campaign: how many friends did those guys have? Comrades, maybe, but friends? Maybe not so much.

In any case, you can find it here. And if you’re a little wiped out by the SNL 40 hoopla, this is a welcome cleanser.

Writing Advice from Will Ferrell’s Dad

Okay, the title is a bit of a stretch. Will Ferrell’s father, a professional musician for thirty or forty years, was actually talking about show business. But his advice is applicable to all creative endeavors and every writer should hear it.

Ferrell told the story about his dad on Marc Maron’s podcast (which I’ve recommended before). The whole interview is worth listening to – it was ninety minutes with the “real” Will Ferrell, not one of his characters. And he’s just what you would hope: thoughtful, genuine, and funny. Underneath that bring-the-house-down persona, there’s a lot of gentle wisdom in that man.

Unfortunately I don’t have the transcript so I’ll have to paraphrase. But first, a little scene setting.

Ferrell had come home from college and figured out that he wanted to try comedy. He started doing some anxious standup in Orange County, then eventually made his way to the Groundlings. He was doing well, although this was still light years away from SNL and comedy superstardom.

Ferrell had lunch with his dad and he told him he wanted to pursue comedy as a career. His dad, who had watched him on stage, gave him some practical advice: Continue reading

Marc Maron, Unlikely Inspiration

Anyone looking for a self-publishing success story doesn’t need to look far. The examples of newly minted millionaires (like Amanda Hocking and E.L. James) are highly Google-able.

But that’s not why I  decided to strike out on my own. No, if I have to point to one inspiration, it would probably be comedian and podcaster Marc Maron. Who is not a self-published author at all. The inspiration comes from something else altogether… Continue reading