So What Is It Like To Record A Podcast With The President In Your Garage?
Marc Maron had an amusing story about how he ended up recording a podcast in his garage with the President of the United States:
Q. Did you plan to approach the interview in a certain way, and then, in light of the Charleston killings, think, I need to approach this differently?
A. Yes, in a way. At one point in my life, I used to be part of the political dialogue, as a radio commentator. I made a very conscious choice to take myself out of that. I just have not really been that attentive. I focused what I do along different lines entirely. I had to combat my old self, but engage in a conversation that would be worthy of the president. I was going to do it my way, engage in a personal way, but he knows all the tricks. He’s the president. I wasn’t going to put anything over on him by acting more comfortable than I was. But it was weird: He came over, he made me very comfortable very quickly. He was very engaged. He was looking forward to having a nice chat, and I think steamrolled into the conversation very intensely and very quickly, like I do sometimes. Especially when I’m a little nervous. But yeah, we were very conscious of what happened in Charleston, and that that would be weighing on him. I wanted to respect whatever he’s going through. He lost someone he knew that day.
Q. How did this even come together? Have you been campaigning for the president to appear on your show?
A. I never assumed I would talk to the president. Over time, conversations started happening, with my producer [Brendan McDonald], from the White House, about general ideas. There were people on his staff who like my show, and somebody within his staff thought it would be a fun thing for him to do. But we never thought it would happen. Then over the last month or so, it became very clear that it might happen. I’m like, “But where am I going to do it? Do I go to the Oval Office? Do I go to his hotel?” No, they wanted to come to the garage. Are you kidding me? Are you telling me the president’s going to come to my house?
Q. So the motorcade pulled up in front of your house earlier today and he came into the garage?
A. Dude. Yes. It was no simple process. Secret Service checked the parameters. Yesterday, they put a tent up that ran the length of my driveway, all the way behind my house to the garage. Today they came and put a tent over where the car was going to pull in. There were like 40 Secret Service people here. There were snipers on my neighbor’s roof. A sniper on my garage roof. They had L.A.P.D. all around the perimeter of the house. They have a protocol that occurs. And it was occurring in my house. Now everyone in the world knows where I live, O.K. And apparently the streets were lined with people for the motorcade. I was focusing on just dealing with the situation at hand and trying to have a personal conversation with the president in the midst of this.
Q. Does it seem strange that he did this at all?
A. Over time, we all have to adjust to a changing media landscape. Some of it is noise and some of it is small, but there’s a lot of it out there. There’s a lot of surprising outlets by which people can communicate and people want to be part of. I’ve been doing this out of my garage for years, and I’ve had plenty of people come up here, at the end of the first year, saying, “So this is where you do it?” Many times, I’ve walked people into my garage and said, “This is the future of media.” And as years went by, fewer people were like, “I can’t believe this – where the hell am I?” They knew exactly where they were.
Something tells me that Maron’s podcast is about to become a lot more popular.