The Just For Laughs Comedy Festival is underway in Montreal this week and to kick things off comedian Marc Maron delivered a keynote speech. The Comic’s Comic blog was there and was cool enough to repost the entire speech which you can read here.
It’s a fantastic speech and I recommend you read it all. Here’s an excerpt where Maron talks about the origins of his podcast that has completely revolutionized his career:
Broke, defeated and career-less, I started doing a podcast in that very garage where I was planning my own demise. I started talking about myself on the mic with no one telling me what I could or couldn’t say. I started to reach out to comics. I needed help. Personal help. Professional help. Help. I needed to talk. So, I reached out to my peers and talked to them. I started to feel better about life, comedy, creativity, community. I started to understand who I was by talking to other comics and sharing it with you. I started to laugh at things again. I was excited to be alive. Doing the podcast and listening to comics was saving my life. I realized that is what comedy can do for people.
You know what the industry had to do with that?
When I played an early episode for my now former manager in his office thinking that I was turning a career corner and we finally had something he listened for 3 minutes and said, “I don’t get it.”
I don’t blame him. Why would he? It wasn’t on his radar or in his wheel house. There’s no package deal, no episode commitment, no theaters to sell out. He had no idea what it was or how to extract money from it AND I did it from my garage. Perfect. It took me 25 years to do the best thing I had ever done and there was no clear way monetize it.
I’m ahead of the game.
So, back to the offer for this speech. I thought wait that’s the reason they want me—I do this podcast out of my garage that has had over 20 million downloads in less than two years. It is critically acclaimed. I have interviewed over 200 comics, created live shows, I am writing a book, I have a loyal borderline-obsessive fan base who bring me baked goods and artwork, I have evolved as a person and a performer, I am at the top of my game and no one can tell me what to do—I built it myself, I work for myself, I have full creative freedom.
I am the future of show business. Not your show business, my show business. They want me to do this speech because I am the future of our industry.
Like I said, it’s a great speech.