Next month, on May 3rd, comedian and podcaster Marc Maron will dive into the small screen entertainment world with his new IFC show, titled Maron. The half hour scripted comedy is based on Maron's life and podcast, chronicling his "day-to-day struggle to maintain relationships other than the ones with his podcast audience and his beloved trio of cats." When we saw fellow comedian Michael Ian Black sparring with Maron on Twitter last week, we asked if he would conduct an interview we had scheduled with Maron, suggesting, "This doesn't even need to be mentioned to him ahead of time... the angle could just be like: Fucking With Marc Maron, or something." Black agreed, and here are the twenty minutes that followed (which we thoughtfully offer you in both audio form and the written word):

This is Michael Ian Black from Gothamist, I'll be interviewing you today. WHAT?

Yeah, they saw that we were beefing on Twitter yesterday so they suggested I interview you. I thought "Fuck, I'll do that. I'll annoy him." That's fine Michael you do what you have to do.

It's not about what I have to do, it's what I choose to do. Because I want to delve deeper into Marc than, say, you delved into me during our recording. I want to make it a positive experience for you. I'm open to that Michael, it's nice to talk to you.

Nice to talk to you. Now, what facial hair are you currently rocking? Right now I'm doing the, I guess you could either call it the Custer or the Redbone or perhaps the Zappa. I'm going with the mustache and the soul patch.

Right. And it seems like it took you a fairly long time to settle on that. Because you've been rocking the Zappa now for a while. And I think it works. I like it. How did you settle on that? Trial and error? Over years and years of moving my facial hair around and the hair on my head around, I finally got old enough to accept certain things. And I think I just leveled off… I did shave my face entirely a year or so ago for a movie role. It was nice to check in with my face. But I don't know, I've gotten comfortable with the configuration I have now. I don't know why it took so long, I guess I grew into it. I guess I thought that this was the most organic of the choices.

How Jewy did you look with your face totally shaved? I don't know that I ever look Jewy, but I might be the wrong guy to ask.

No, I'm looking at your image right now. You think it looks Jewy?

I don't know that I've ever seen you with a bare face so I can't really comment either, but with the glasses, the facial structure, I think you might look a little Jewy. I mean that as a compliment. My nose...

I was not gonna say the word nose, Marc. I went with the euphemism "facial structure." Look, I never thought I looked Jewy. I always thought I was getting away with it, that I wasn't Jewy looking, that it was surprising.

You thought you could pass. I thought I could pass! But I guess most people know, as soon as I start talking quickly.

Now you have been doing a lot of talking. You've got the podcast, now you have the TV show. Your career is soaring. Are you happy? I'm busy. I am definitely happier. I guess what happens—and you know, you've had these waves of success in your life that come and go—

[Laughs] I was waiting to see how long it would take for the passive aggressive remarks to start. It took three minutes. You know there's a lot of excitement, but the podcast has given me a lot of gratification and satisfaction and happiness. And I feel that's sort of ongoing as I do it. But as you know when you have something that's about to happen or you've completed something that isn't out there yet, I'm proud of what I've done with both the book and the show. And I'm excited about it. But there's also that panic and mild dread of how other people are going to react to it. So I'm anticipating and it's causing me a little bit of anxiety but I do feel happier, yes.

I wonder if some of the anxiety is misplaced, because the show is on IFC so nobody's even going to see it. Yeah, well I mean that's comforting. Michael, you know it is based around me and I know you don't really have experience with that. Generally, you're like one of a trio or part of a sketch or maybe a sidekick in a bowling alley. This is really about me.

With the exception of the extremely well-reviewed deeply personal memoir I wrote that you didn't mention during our interview. But go on. Well I didn't know if it was real, you know the cover … It's very hard to know how to take you seriously. There's a silly cover, and unlike mine, which is me with a cat on my shoulder. That's a portrait I can live with, it characterizes me.

The cat is your muse. They're around. So you're telling me Michael that your memoir was very well-reviewed and people thought it was a really great personal memoir?

Whatever it's not about me today, but if any readers are interested they can just go to Amazon.com and read the glowing reviews, it doesn't matter! What's important is you today Marc. Oh Amazon reviews.

No, no, no, no, no... you can look up the good published reviews as well, but Amazon would be an easy resource to go to. But again it's not about me, it's not about my extremely well-reviewed book. But I want to help you, because I know it didn't sell that great, so if you need to put that in.

On a day-to-day basis, what's a good day for you? When you wake up, what turns into a good day for Marc? Well that's a pretty good question. I guess what turns into a good day is if I can pace myself to where I don't feel like everything is closing in on me. I don't seem to have much time. Theoretically I should have at least a little time. There's enough time for me to argue with you on Twitter for an hour and a half but I happened to be on a plane. I guess what's a good day for me is if I don't get sucked into some sort of hole where I run out of time. If I just have time to drink some coffee, play guitar for ten or fifteen minutes, to cook some food, along with the other things I'm doing, that's a good day. But if I don't get to do one of those things...

Then it's a bad day. So the business keeps the anxiety at bay... I think it utilizes it. I don't know if it keeps it at bay. My problem is, if I get too busy and I feel overwhelmed, then the anxiety, turns to anger and then that's going to need a receptacle of some kind.

And what's a good receptacle for your anger these days? The best thing I can do is play guitar for a half hour. The worst thing I can do is yell at my girlfriend. The second worst thing I can do is call my manager up and tell her I'm not funny. That there's just no reason for it to go on, that I'm a sham, I'm just not funny. The third worst thing I can do is eat ice cream or cake or barbecue with a vengeance. Sadly that's also one of the best things I can do.

I wonder, and I wonder if you wonder this: do you think you hold onto your anxiety because you're afraid that letting go of it would adversely affect your comedy? No, I think I hold onto it because I don't engage the very simple tool of realizing, for the most part, that things are usually OK in whatever moment you're living in. It's when you're anticipating things or you don't think that things are going to end that they continue the anxiety. So no I don't do any of that stuff on purpose, I really don't. If I'm afraid to lose my anxiety, it's not calculated. I can't say that the answer to your question is not yes on a deeper level, but it's not conscious.

Is there a level of control? Being unable to control the universe, is that what freaks you out? Because you're always either anticipating or worried that something's going to end and you can't control those things? No, I could use a little more of that. If I am it's on a very small scale. So that really manifests itself as slight OCD activities, maybe I should move my computer a couple inches this way. It's really not about that, it's about "Oh my god, I have so much to do and I just…" some part of my brain I think it's not control it's more like "Why can't someone do this for me! Isn't that what you're supposed to do, mom?!" I think it's more like that, as opposed to a controlling thing. Like "I just don't want to do it anymore!"

Right so it's a level of infantilism that you have. Yes. Yes.

You need a diaper and somebody to pat your back to tell you it's going to be OK. Well I wouldn't mind going a few years older than that. I don't know if I'd need to be burped or poop my pants. I think I'm out in the world doing things I want to. And when I have something that I need to do that I may not want to, I get a little infantile. I think that's where the anxiety comes from.

Did you express it on the TV show? Because that's a situation where there's nothing but anxiety, shooting these long days, scripts due and notes coming back from the network. Did that freak you out? I was completely consumed with it. It didn't freak me out because I'd never really done that before. It's usually things like being interviewed by contemporaries that I dread and don't really enjoy doing.

But you love this. You're having a great time with this. Yes.

So I'm glad that that's happening. Yes that was a joke and you just deflected it so nice job with that. No I just have a lot of little things to do, but the TV show was great 'cause I'd never done anything like that. I really didn't think like that was going to happen for me. So to be involved in the writing and involved in the producing, all the elements and every aspect of this endeavor was great. It was something I'd been waiting my whole life to do.

So even on set I didn't get childish. You know there might've been a couple of moments forward the end … I'm in every scene. And we shot like six and a half weeks, so there was one day that was a 15-page day. So I didn't have a lot of time … I just figured out a way I could get through it and be present for it and realized that it was a great thing. I just sort of locked in, did the shooting, went home and memorized the lines. I really created a schedule for myself so I could do the best I could in everything that was expected of me.

So would your coworkers say you were a "joy" to work with? I think I was very professional. I don't know how many times I've been referred to as a joy in a genuine way. But I think I was professional, I was fun, and I got things done. I think I was a relatively good leader when I needed to be. But I had a good time, I was very excited to do it and to do the best I could.

I read in an interview that you did in which you said watching the show now is uncomfortable because it felt too close to home. Which struck me as odd, because it seems to me you've always used your own life for material. So is it the fact that it's literally being reflected back at you? Is that what makes you uncomfortable? I don't watch or listen to a lot of what I do after I do it. And when you're doing this there's editing, there's final cuts and things so you sort of grow accustomed to myself playing myself. And in situations that are somewhat taken from reality. The one in particular, there's a scene with my father. And I thought "Oh my god, it's so infantile, a guy my age should be over this." And I think I am over it in real life, but to see it played out again and expect your father to change who he is or answer for who he was is really an infantile expectation after a certain point. At some point you have to accept them for whatever the hell they are. And I think seeing that play out with Judd Hirsch was a little difficult for me to watch.

Judd Hirsch is a grump right? No, he's not. He's a very pleasant guy. It'd be nicer if he was a little grumpier. He's a pretty chipper guy.

So would you say he was a "joy" to work with? I just want to know if everybody was a joy to work with. He was very professional and it was challenging for me, I was surprised that I wasn't nervous at all about the shoot. I seem to be at this point in my life, actually ready to do this. To handle this. I don't think that would've been true at another time.

Did IFC give you the freedom to do what you wanted? Yes, definitely. I don't think there is anything in there that I didn't want to do, and I don't think they had me take out things that I was so married to that it upset me. It was a very diplomatic and supportive process.

I believe you. You are known for truth-telling. I think you are telling the truth. And that makes me happy to hear. It sounds like you had a great experience making this show. I know I'm excited for it, I'm sure all your fans are and I think that it's going to open up an even wider audience for you. And I hope that's the case because I think you deserve it. Thanks, Michael.

Oh yeah, and I mean it. One of the running themes in your podcast — and I'm assuming in your life — is about making amends and trying to right wrongs. Is that important to you? It is important to me, because as I get older I realize that a lot of this stuff and the way that I've behaved at different times was really out of some insecurity, or fear or resentment and that kind of thing. I like people and I want to be liked, and I think a lot of what I was like earlier on was just so preemptively hostile. What was the question exactly?

Is it important for you to make amends? Yeah because if I can't try to make a relationship work, even with like whatever you and I had...

I accept your apology! I accept it! Didn't I do it once? Didn't I try to do it or no?

In a very half-hearted, passive aggressive way yeah. It was the "I'm sorry but I'm not sorry" apology. Oh. No, I am sorry! But I think ultimately what happens with people like you and people who've known me a long time is better than it used to be, now I have people who know me well enough to know that when I come up to them I'm going to say something passive aggressive or mildly insulting. And there's literally people in my life now who I'll walk up to and they'll say "OK, just go ahead, just do it, whatever you're going to do, say it. Alright. Is that it? Alright. How are you?"

Well there's a level of self awareness that I think you have now about it that you didn't have back then, I think that might be the difference. Where maybe you weren't even aware that you were doing it. It was "I'm trying to be nice, but I can't quite bring myself to be nice" hoping that wouldn't get recognized but it always did. Yeah I don't know I think I was pretty hurtful to some people at another point in my life. And I think I thought it was OK to be that way. So yeah what you're saying is true, I no longer think it's OK to be that way.

Well, I hope that the show is a success. And that it brings you, more than anything, a level of happiness and serenity that you deserve even more than the professional success. I know I'll be watching. I remain a committed fan of yours. And I wholeheartedly accept all your past apologies and future apologies. And offer my own, for the shit I will inevitably write about you on Twitter as soon as we get off the phone. Well I'll respond to that, but from a clean slate. I think we should start working towards the next apology as soon as we get off the phone.

Thanks, Marc. Thank you, Michael.