In the wake of the horrific shooting deaths of nine people at a Charleston, South Carolina church on Wednesday, comedian Marc Maron was not sure his interview with President Obama was going to go on as scheduled.
Obama did eventually stop by Maron’s Los Angeles garage studio on Friday morning to tape an episode of the comedian’s popular ‘WTF with Marc Maron’ podcast. But in an interview with Slate, the comedian and podcaster said it would have been “understandable” if the president had cancelled the interview.
“When we were preparing to have him come over, I got home on Wednesday night, after the shooting in Charleston happened. And I thought, ‘I guess this isn’t gonna happen anymore,’ and that’s understandable,” Maron told Slate. “We didn’t know if it was gonna happen or not. We waited. We watched his statement the next day, and it seemed like they were still coming out here.”
Maron said he spoke with the president about the Charleston shooting, gun violence, racism, comedy and other topics during the hour-long interview, which will be released on the Internet on Monday.
Maron told Slate that it “didn’t make him uncomfortable” to discuss the Charleston shooting with Obama.
“I thought of it as respectful,” Maron said. “I think he showed up here expecting a certain tone, and I think the array of tones we were able to engage in, emotional, political and personal was pretty varied. Talking about the shooting got us to guns and race and all sorts of other stuff.”
The moment that changed how I felt about the guy happened immediately. Because he’s the president, and no matter how cynical I may have gotten in my life, or how disengaged I am with politics, as an American, you know the opportunity to meet the president period is insanely big. No matter how jaded you are and no matter what party you’re from. So right when he showed up, all I wanted was to feel that he was a man, a human guy, that he was real. And right away, not only was he real, but he was disarming. I was stressed out! And he made me feel better.
Maron also revealed to Slate that Obama told him why he came on the ‘WTF’ podcast in the first place.
“He said, ‘I want to try to talk people into engaging in politics.’ I mean, the code there could’ve been that he is a Democrat, he is out here raising money for the Democratic Party, we know who the Democratic candidate is – but he didn’t say that to me,” Maron explained. “He said, ‘I want people to engage in the political process. I want people to get involved.’ That’s why he said he was using my show.”
Maron described Obama as being “very intense, earnest, focused,” and “passionate about making people’s lives better and making the country better.”
“And the way he negotiates that and keeps going at it every day with seemingly no bitterness or sense of disappointment or anger that he would allow anyone to see. He struck me as a very responsible man,” Maron said. “He walks the walk.”
Maron also discussed how the interview was set up, what the Secret Service did to prepare his house for the meeting and revealed the president’s favorite comedians in the Slate interview. Read the rest here.