Things are about to get really meta. Last weekend Marc Maron — comedian and host of the podcast WTF — was in Chicago for a series of shows at the Mayne Stage in Rogers Park. Maron's known for his distinctive free-form style; during his sets he often launches into long, stream-of-consciousness storytelling.
While in Chicago, Maron was also booked at a special edition of The Paper Machete at the Green Mill in Uptown, an experience that he relayed in his stand-up set at the Mayne Stage on Sunday, and then again in this week's edition of his podcast and in a blog post on his web site.
Maron said his overall experience in Chicago was very positive. "I've grown to really like Chicago because it's a real-deal place with its own integrity, its own history. There's beautiful neighborhoods, there's beautiful architecture," Maron said on his podcast. "Chicago's got everything: good people. . . And quite honestly, all the people that came out to the Mayne Stage in Chicago — I want to thank that venue, I want to thank you. I honestly believe those are some of the best show's I've ever done in my life. Something magic happened in this place over last weekend. I mean, I can't explain it to you. It's a great venue, the Mayne Stage. And it's really one of the best venues I've ever played. I wish I could move the Mayne Stage theater from Chicago around on a trailer and travel with it. . . .I was at a comfort level and an open-heartedness that I've never experienced before. I just want to say that those of you who saw some of those shows at the Mayne Stage saw something that was completely new to me and I was thrilled that you saw it."
But Saturday, things took an ominous turn. First, Maron showed up to the Green Mill, which he described as "not a friendly venue to comedians" due to its dark history associated with Al Capone. "There's definitely ghosts in the room," he said on WTF.
The crowd was well and good, at least at first; Maron described it as "kind of an NPR-slash-hipster group, but giant nerd cluster I'll call it, in a loving way."
However, "There's no nerd cluster big enough that's going to battle the spirits of that place," he said. "So I walked in there in full-mystical warfare mode, which I don't get into much. . . there was that part of me that was like, dude, you've been having great shows, you're going to have to take a hit. That was the guy inside of me that regulates my humility."
And lo and behold, something did happen: Maron had a run in with a woman he describes as, most likely, a Machete regular that did not end well: Maron eventually asked her, “Are you f***ing Satan?” after an altercation they had over where he was sitting.
"If there's a moral to this thing, or any word of advice, is be careful: If you're walking around too open, you might become a payback portal for what broke a person," he concluded.
You can listen to Maron describe his experience at The Paper Machete on WTF or read his abridged retelling of the story on his web site. The audio above is from his actual set at the Green Mill, moments after he told the woman to "get the f*** away from me." See if he really "killed it," like he thinks he did.
The Paper Machete is a weekly live magazine at the Horseshoe in North Center. It's always at 3 p.m., it's always on Saturday, and it's always free. Get all your The Paper Machete Radio Magazine needs filled here, or download the podcast from iTunes here.