Do you think it helps the audience relate better to the performer? I think the guy who is sort of like Rodney Dangerfield, "I don't get no respect," the guy who life takes a shit on -- I think that point of view is not so much self-deprecating as much as it's sort of characterizing yourself as the underdog. I think it's very popular because it is very relatable, because everyone's got problems. And really I think a lot of comedy is about release, about putting things into some sort of perspective that gives you some sort of peace or validation or release around it. But you've got to be careful because you don't want to come off as "poor me," instead of , "well aren't we kind of all screwed?"
Do you still see yourself as an underdog? Along with the podcast, this year alone has been pretty successful with the new book (Attempting Normal) and the new IFC show (Maron). I don't know if I ever saw myself as an underdog, I think I struggled. The underdog thing is the way I got framed because of how long I had been out there plugging away.
The show is done and the book is done and now I'm back to my life and my life still revolves around going to my garage to interview people and trying to build new stand up material and it's not like the financial payoff has made my life so easy that I get to retire or anything. I've still got to work and I want to continue working. In that way I don't feel like my life has changed that much. I feel validated. I feel like my work has paid off but I'm not sure that I necessary have changed dramatically in my point of view.
In the first episode of Maron you confront an online hater -- an internet troll named "dragonmaster" who really gets under your skin. At this point in your career, does that type of online criticism really still get to you? Yeah of course it does. I know now that some people just do it for attention and that when you engage them, they got what they wanted. And I know that lots of them aren't necessarily really who they present themselves to be -- some of them are just dicks because that's what they do online, but a lot of them are not necessarily like that as people. A lot of them are just trying to get a rise of you. But the ones that are hostile and are abusive-- yeah, it affects me. But I've just got to try to stay strong and not engage in that shit.
[But] sometimes I can't. Sometimes I do and it never ends well.