The fact that there is a second season of “Maron” is something of a show business miracle. Before his “WTF” podcast became a hit, Marc Maron’s comedy career was in stasis. Facing a lack of prospects, he went into his garage and started talking to comedian friends, baring his angry, embattled soul in some of the most compelling conversations on the Web. When “WTF” debuted in 2009, Maron’s star started to ascend. His stand-up shows commanded bigger venues, he got a book deal (last year’s “Attempting Normal”), and he landed a quasi-fictional comedy series on IFC chronicling his fraught road to career redemption.
Season two, which premiered May 8, picks up the thread after a series of emotional and professional breakthroughs, but with Maron still struggling to rebuild bridges with alienated colleagues. This season they include Michael Ian Black and Chris Hardwick, host of the “Walking Dead” companion series “Talking Dead.” Maron’s personal life, as depicted in the series, is also complicated, as he deals with a jealous husband in a menacing white truck, and a family bent on driving him to insanity.
We spoke with Maron by phone about the new season, his podcast, and success.
Q. If season one was the start of the rebuilding project, then season two is where the real work happens. Would that be an accurate assessment?
A. Yeah. I think season two, things are going a little better. Things are starting to work out. Obviously I’m not a celebrity, but I’m trying to deal with the fact that I have a little bit of success on my hands. It’s actually not too far from my life.
Q. I recognized a lot of the stories from your book and your podcast. The different formats can reveal different things and allow you to do different things with the stories.
A. Definitely. It’s an interesting thing. A thing like [the] “Talking Dead” [episode], that’s a completely fictional story other than some elements of the relationship dynamic. But I was able to pull in my public relationships with Michael [Ian Black] and Chris [Hardwick], and they really showed up and did a great job. So that’s sort of built on a lot of different things. Some stuff was built on some stuff that was familiar about my ex-girlfriend and [my] relationship and also some stuff that was [public] about my feelings about Michael and Chris, and we were able to mash that all up into a pretty compelling episode. And the story in “White Truck,” that story did not go that way. But the basis of that story, emotionally, is true. And some of the events are true. But the real life story was . . . [laughs] it was a little more drawn out and a little more disturbing, actually.
Q. Are there certain groups of fans that mainly know you from the TV series?
A. That’s starting to happen a little bit since Netflix. I’m doing shows and people are like, “I love your show,” and then people are still like, “I love your podcast.” I don’t know where they’re coming from. The podcast people know me really well. And sometimes the people who watch the show, they don’t have any of the back story. And that’s the other interesting thing, is that people come to the show or they watch my stand-up special without knowing me, and that takes them to the podcast. And all of a sudden they can enter the world of almost 500 conversations.
Q. I’d imagine the show came out as an extension of the podcast, so that it works for people who don’t know the podcast has to be gratifying.
A. Yeah! I think the stories all stand on their own. And also you and I both know that I am sort of a specific taste and I’m not necessarily everybody’s cup o’ tea. But I think what’s starting to happen, which sort of eluded me through most of my career was, how do I find those people? And what I’ve found with the podcast and with the show, too, is a lot of my people are not necessarily comedy people. It’s not like a demographic, it’s more like a disposition. It’s people that think or experience life a certain way.
Q. I love the relationship with Andy Kindler. It’s almost like a feedback loop because you have so many of the same kind of problems.
A. Andy and I, it was really fun. And Dave Anthony is in a few, and him and I have a very specific type of dynamic. I like working with guys I’ve known for years, Bill Burr, Joey Diaz, Dave Anthony, Jonah Ray. I like playing off guys that I already had a relationship with for years. It’s very comforting, and it reads onscreen, I think.Interview has been edited and condensed. Nick A. Zaino III can be reached at nick@nickzaino