Along with the return of Glow, an excellent TV show, comes the return of a crush that I find mildly embarrassing to admit to: Marc Maron, particularly in his role as Sam Sylvia. I say it’s “embarrassing” not because I’m unsure of my stance, but because of the reactions this opinion elicits. For instance: When I proposed highlighting Maron as the subject of “Totally Kind of Hot,” people mostly laughed at me. I think this is because Marc Maron is a male comedian, a largely repellent class of people. He’s also significantly older than most of us, and like, the podcast guy. Also I’m gay, so I think he was just an unexpected choice coming from me all around.
But you know what? I don’t care. I think he’s hot. I like his glasses (all of them), and he has nice hair and a nice voice. I find his temper appealing in its unthreatening-ness. And after much labor and patience on my part, I found a few colleagues who were willing to talk about our shared attraction.
Katie Heaney, senior writer: Thank you for being the (shockingly, to me!!!!) few on our staff willing to go on record as thinking Marc Maron is hot. I really did not think this would be controversial. Maybe a little bit. But I thought it’d be like, “Oh, yeah, lol me too” from eight different people. I was ready to bond with my heterosexual colleagues, and all I got was disdain and bewilderment.
Izzy Grinspan, senior editor: I know, it turns out that we are all true weirdos. Katie, I am especially curious about how he fits into your crush pantheon, which I feel generally tends in the direction of Mackenzie Davis in Terminator.
Katie: You mean “gay”? Yes, that is accurate. I have, like, four crushes on famous men, and zero on non-famous men.
Izzy: Who are they? Is there a theme?
Katie: So one is Marc, since like … 2013, probably. My No. 1 is Timothy Olyphant, which seems inarguable to me.
Izzy: I love Quiz Your Colleagues About Their Sexual Preferences hour.
Katie: I have some other kinda-old-man crush I can’t remember right now. And the fourth is Harry Styles. So the theme is “age inappropriate.”
Izzy: Do you like Marc Maron’s podcast? I ask because I find it unlistenable, which is why this crush is especially confusing to me!
Katie: I haven’t listened in a while, but generally speaking yes — I listened a lot in the early days, and went to see his stand-up in Minneapolis when I still lived there. My friend and I met him afterward. A lot of people say they can’t get through the intros, but I guess I find the anxiety spiraling relatable.
Izzy: What was he like in person?
Katie: Very friendly! I mean it was a brief photo-op type thing but he was nice.
Look, I mean, as with all my male crushes, I don’t want to do anything about it. But there is just this sort of residual thought pattern I have from my assumed straight period where I enjoy the idea of a man, like, picking me up. More so Timothy Olyphant there. Marc Maron is pretty much my size.
Izzy: Marc Maron is exactly the same size as my husband. Like, I think they could share pants. This is definitely not unrelated to my crush on him. Up until Glow, I mostly thought of him as a counterexample to use when people complain about female celebrities oversharing — I would even say I found him actively off-putting.
Katie: I honestly don’t know why [the podcast] doesn’t bother me because normally I can’t stand listening to a man talk uninterrupted for more than one minute.
Izzy: It’s possible that I just have a crush on Sam Sylvia [Maron’s character on Glow], but that’s also embarrassing!
Katie: He’s a dirtbag with a heart of gold. Or at least heart of silver.
Izzy: I love a dirtbag with a heart of gold. I would say the one thing that links every crush I’ve ever had has been the dirtbag factor. I think there’s also something really appealing about the crush who you maybe hate? I mean, that’s the basis for so many romantic comedies. Jane Austen. Shakespeare. Marc Maron and Alison Brie in Glow.
Katie: I did not expect to root for them in the show, but I totally am now.
Izzy: Me too! It shouldn’t work on paper, especially for a show that’s self-consciously feminist, but somehow it does.
Stella Bugbee, editor-in-chief: “Marc Maron is exactly the same size as my husband,” lol. I don’t find him attractive at all, but I love thinking about what makes people attractive, and once convinced will be forever changed. It had never occurred to me that he was hot. But once we started talking about him I was very willing to think about it, which must mean something.
Katie: I am charmed by his vulnerability! In his stand-up he used to do a bit about being afraid of flying, which I also am, that I loved, where he was, like, worried he’d be asked to help fly the plane.
Stella: Yeah, he has a kind of ’90s radical vulnerability that appeals to me. It’s sort of dated but in a way that still works. I believe he really does have self-esteem issues. It doesn’t seem manufactured for sympathy. Which is … TOTALLY KIND OF HOT.
Katie: (I also think he’s one of few male comics to attempt to openly and thoughtfully struggle with the Louis C.K. aftermath!)
Jane Larkworthy, beauty editor–at–large: It’s the self -deprecation and annoyance at everything phony that he just puts out there. The podcast used to bug the crap out of me, how much he just talked and talked, but once I started actually listening, I felt a kindred spirit.
Good point, Katie. That was a hilarious episode of Louie, though … am I allowed to say that?
Stella: You’re allowed to say that, Jane.
Jane: Marc also seems to really respect women, and it’s like he can’t believe his good fortune with this show. Always plays it down. Glow!
Katie: He hasn’t always been the best about having women guests, or interviewing them well, but he doesn’t edit it out when his women guests call him out on that, which I appreciate. But I’m not going to pretend this attraction is very well-thought-out. I just think he’s sexy.
Jane: Agreed. If that four-eyed, mustached man smiled at me in a way that said, “you’re funny,” I would melt. I just picked up Glow again last night after a couple dormant years. Watched five eps.
Katie: It’s so good. And he’s really very good in it.
Izzy: He can actually act, which is not true of all comedians. Gah, I can’t believe the last “Totally Kind of Hot” I did was Beto, and now this.