WTF With Marc Maron may have lost its Podcast Of The Zeitgeist crown to Serial over the last year or two, but that doesn’t mean Maron can’t still pull the occasional big guest. And while figures like Louis CK and Robin Williams were landmarks for the show, the name Maron announced on Thursday’s program is about as big as an interview get can get: President Barack Obama.
Yes, America’s commander-in-chief is apparently coming to the Cat Ranch, visiting Maron’s garage/recording studio as part of a Los Angeles tour that also includes fundraisers from Tyler Perry and Chuck Lorre. Obama is expected to sit down with Maron for an hour on Friday morning, for a special, commercial-free episode.
WTF won’t be Obama’s first time dipping his toe into the pool of online media; in 2014, he traded barbs with Zach Galifianakis and his famous foliage for an episode of Between Two Ferns. That exchange was part of Obama’s effort to expand awareness about HealthCare.gov, while a series of YouTube interviews he did earlier this year with popular online content creators, including Hank Green of the VlogBrothers, was designed to explain and double down on ideas expressed during the State Of The Union address. It’s not clear yet what issues he’ll be talking about with Maron—whose previous career includes work in political talk radio—or if he’s just decided to pull rank so that he can meet the comedian’s much-talked-about cats.
It’ll be fascinating to see how Maron’s irreverent style interacts with the obligations and expectations of an interview with one of the world’s most powerful men. The comedian built his reputation as a podcaster by breaking away from the standard interview formalities and niceties; WTF first gained national prominence thanks to an episode where Maron politely, but relentlessly, grilled Carlos Mencia about the persistent accusations of plagiarism that had dogged his career. It seems unlikely that he’ll be allowed to go after Obama with that same rigor, but both men are media savvy enough to know that a softball conversation won’t pass without remark. On Thursday’s episode, Maron expressed his desire to both do a “classic” style WTF interview with the president, while also “trying not to lose my shit.” Lofty goals.
The Obama episode of WTF is expected to go live on Monday, June 22.