This marks the first of an occasional series called Expert Opinion, where The Bay Citizen seeks an informed judgment on a cultural event or place. Comedian W. Kamau Bell attended something of a contradiction in terms — a live podcast — to opine for us.
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“Why don’t you come by cobbs tnite. Come on for a few minutes.”
This was the text I got from Marc Maron at 3 p.m. Friday, just a few hours before I had planned to head to Cobb’s Comedy Club to review Marc’s show, a live edition of his podcast, “WTF with Marc Maron.” Marc’s podcast is currently the number one way for cool people to express their coolness. It began a little over a year ago, and in that time Marc has gone from hustling to fill the Punch Line Comedy Club, with its 175-person capacity, to easily selling out the 500-seat Cobb’s.
And on this night at Cobb’s, as part of SF Sketchfest’s podcast-heavy schedule, WTF promised to do the thing on which it has built its empire — Marc talking, riffing, trading barbs and road stories with comedians. The main difference between the live WTF and the studio version is that in studio, the podcast can frequently get into painful or uncomfortable — and therefore revealing —territory. Live, neither Marc nor his guests dwell on these moments as much, as everyone is aware of the audience... including the audience. And when comedians see an audience, it’s hard not to set our phasers to KILL!
So I fooled myself into believing that I was doing some old-school, Hunter S. Thompson-style gonzo journalism, and I set my phasers to KILL!...