Marc Maron talks empathy and Louis C.K. on latest podcast


Marc Maron talks empathy and Louis C.K. on latest podcast

 (Barbara Davidson / Los Angeles Times)
(Barbara Davidson / Los Angeles Times)

After tweeting on Thursday that he planned to discuss the sexual misconduct allegations against his friend Louis C.K., actor and comedian Marc Maron has followed through on his promise. 

On the latest episode of his podcast "WTF," Maron unpacked his thoughts and feelings about the C.K. accusations and clarified what he knew about the stories beforehand as well as his own experience with unwanted sexual conduct. 

"He's my friend and it's a difficult position to be in," Maron said. "Because I certainly can't condone anything he did. There was no way to justify it. There's no way to defend it. There's no way to apologize for him about it."

Maron moved on to address whether there was culpability for C.K.'s actions, given that rumors about his now-admitted inappropriate behavior had swirled around the comedy community for years.

"There was a story out there," Maron said, "going back several years. That there were unnamed people in the story. Took place in a hotel room in Aspen. It was always out there but then it would pick up momentum at different times and I would ask him about it."

The podcast host and star of Netflix's "GLOW" recalled asking C.K. about the story, if it were true that he made women watch him masturbate, and said that C.K. always denied it. 

When Maron would suggest C.K. quash the rumor publicly, the "Louie" creator would say, "No, I can't. I can't do that. It'll give it life. It'll give it air."

Maron also had thoughts on the empathy required for men to force themselves out of their own head space and into a woman's perspective and the struggle he's had with acknowledging the inherent power dynamic involved in the workplace.

"In a situation where there's a power dynamic. In a situation where you're not even seeing a person. You're just seeing a person who is there to receive your garbage," Maron said of overcoming "man brain." "It's hard to understand that the power dynamic is real and it exists because things have been the way they've been for a long time."

Before the episode was over, Maron also attempted to illustrate the problematic nature of C.K.'s actions to those who may wish to dismiss them on grounds of not being illegal. 

He shared a story of being a college undergraduate struggling with a philosophy class and finding guidance from the professor, a man he looked up to. 

Maron described the professor as a "powerful, impactful guy" and said, "I wanted him to acknowledge me as someone who is smart, who is on the right path, who is going to do it."

The professor and Maron grabbed dinner one night and afterward, his teacher kissed him. 

"And my body went into like a paralysis," Maron recalled. "It was almost like a leaving-the-body kind of moment and I could not do anything." 

Though careful not to suggest his own experience was on the same level as that of the women C.K. targeted, Maron explained what made the encounters so devastating.

"Well, the big deal is that it's boundary-shattering. It is traumatizing. It is unexpected," he said. "These things — they may not destroy your life. They may not even register in the big picture. But they're stuck there. They're stuck there as trauma."

The latest episode of "WTF" can be heard here

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