I can be a dick.— marc maron (@marcmaron) May 14, 2013
If you’re on Twitter, you’re a narcissist. If you’re a celebrity, you’re a bigger narcissist. If you’re a celebrity on Twitter, you’re an even bigger narcissist. And if you’re a celebrity on Twitter whose public persona is predicated on you being a narcissistic celebrity on Twitter, you’re Marc Maron.
That being the case, it comes as no surprise that the most common subject on Maron’s Twitter feed is, you guessed it, Marc Maron—the way Marc Maron feels about the world, the way Marc Maron feels about his own psyche, the way Marc Maron feels the airline industry, the way Marc Maron, well, feels. He’s amassed 240,000 Twitter followers, created the one of the most popular podcasts on the internet, netted his own IFC show and got a book deal by giving the people what they want: himself, warts and all (the more warts, the better). He's a straight shooting, no-bullshit kind of guy, and his adoring public loves when he's cantankerous. After all, he’s just Marc being Marc, Marc being real. And what's realer than publicly, unapologetically expressing contempt for one of your contemporaries?
In the interest of giving said people what they want, Maron’s gotten embroiled in Twitter arguments before. (The people, they love drama!) The latest such argument was with comedian Michael Ian Black, the former VICE columnist who has starred in things like The State, Viva Variety, and those mind-numbing VH1 talking heads shows about ALF. The two exchanged words yesterday, much to the amusement of their bloodthirsty public. Let’s review.
At noon, Maron tweeted the incredibly Maron-esque:
I guess if everything is garbage principles are stupid.— marc maron (@marcmaron) May 21, 2013
To which Black responded:
So you watched your show, huh? :( RT @marcmaron I guess if everything is garbage principles are stupid.— Michael Ian Black (@michaelianblack) May 21, 2013
Thus instigating said argument. Marc responded:
@michaelianblack No, I was just reading your book.— marc maron (@marcmaron) May 21, 2013
And on it went, for 40 captivating minutes. Highlights include:
@michaelianblack I got my in the free box at Goodwill.— marc maron (@marcmaron) May 21, 2013
@marcmaron I thought I recognized that shirt.— Michael Ian Black (@michaelianblack) May 21, 2013
@michaelianblack No, man. I was donating stuff. I wasn't going to tell you. I feel bad now.— marc maron (@marcmaron) May 21, 2013
@marcmaron Don't feel bad. I'm glad somebody else has the opportunity to enjoy it as much as the 93 people who gave it 5 stars on Amazon.— Michael Ian Black (@michaelianblack) May 21, 2013
Before ending with a terse:
I'm going to take a break here and talk to an adult for a while.— marc maron (@marcmaron) May 21, 2013
Previous to Twitter, there was essentially no way to enjoy the private conversations of others in a public forum without eavesdropping. Twitter has not only made it incredibly easy to be a voyeur, it’s made voyeurism a national pastime. And in the case of Maron, it’s made it profitable. After all, who doesn’t want to see famous people snipe at each other in real time? Enjoy the venom you just read? Maron: Fridays at 10, 9 Central, on IFC.
Before social media made the whole world a stage, comedians used to eloquently eviscerate each other in private. Take, for example, Judd Apatow and That 70’s Show creator Mark Brazill’s legendarily mean-spirited 2001 email exchange. (Brazill: “Have you ever read ‘What Makes Sammy Run’? I think you'd like it. Get cancer.” Apatow: “I guess if Mark Brazill doesn't go insane over stuff that makes no sense, the terrorists win. Good luck with That 80's Show. And I look forward to That 90's Show.") Apatow and Brazill’s flame war predated Twitter by five years. It was published in Harper’s Magazine a year after it took place. If the public were able to consume it as it was happening, who knows what the result would have been? Hell, Brazill could have actually been handed the keys to That 90's Show. Apatow could have made The 40 Year Old Virgin (and his career) four years sooner!
In an interview with Salon, Maron explained that the events of yesterday were blown out of proportion. That he and Black “have an understanding. We ride a line. But we are generally OK with each other.” He continued, “It’s easy to get me worked up. I’m kind of a raw nerve on Twitter. How is that not going to be entertaining? I don’t always come out looking good but it’s an engaging thing for everyone involved and very revealing. Even if it is in ‘good fun.’”
Indeed, the argument was (mostly) fictitious. And why wouldn’t it be? The man is an entertainer, and clearly a very smart one. He knows what side his bread’s buttered on. He knows what people want. After decades of toiling in obscurity as a stand-up comedian and radio host, he finally broke on through to the other side of celebrity by making the public private and giving people deeply personal material they could feel honored being a party to. Twitter put him in the zeitgeist. And Twitter’s gonna keep him there. Maron: Fridays at 10, 9 Central, on IFC.
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