The last time Marc Maron performed a full, headlining standup show in Tampa was around 2008. That was just before the launch of his wildly popular podcast WTF With Marc Maron. Which means it was before the dawn of Marc Maron as we know him.
Over the last decade-plus, Maron has reinvented himself from respected standup into one of the world’s most popular podcasters, interviewing everyone from Robin Williams to Keith Richards to President Barack Obama. The success of WTF has pushed him from clubs into theaters and earned him roles in TV shows (Glow, Maron) and movies (Joker, Sleepwalk With Me).
But just as Maron’s a different comic now, Tampa’s a different city. The whole Tampa Bay area is home to a host of celebrities who would make great WTF guests. And we’re not just talking about stars who grew up here, like Angela Bassett, Channing Tatum or Stephen Stills. (He has, alas, already interviewed Gallagher.) We’re talking about celebrities with homes here right now.
Maron finally returns to Tampa on Saturday for a show at the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts. If he’s got the time and inclination, here are 15 Tampa Bay stars he could track down while he’s here. And if not, maybe he can at least extend them an invite to his garage in Los Angeles.
Hulk Hogan: The ultimate Tampa Bay celebrity. He’s one of the biggest pop-culture figures of the last 40 years, and he’s sure lived an, um, interesting life. Maron has interviewed wrestlers on WTF before (Mick Foley, CM Punk, Colt Cabana, AJ Lee), and he did star in a Netflix show about wrestling. This needs to happen.
John Cena, Dave Bautista or Chris Jericho: Plenty of wrestlers live around Tampa Bay, but it’s hard to separate these three. They’ve made enormous waves outside the ring, starring in blockbuster movies, honing their comedy chops and reinventing themselves as rock stars. Any could talk about so much more than wrestling.
Derek Jeter: Maron almost never interviews athletes (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar being a rare exception), but Jeter’s Q rating extends far beyond the diamond. If Maron can score an invite to the new Hall of Famer’s sprawling Davis Islands mansion, he should take it.
Robin Zander: The Cheap Trick singer, Rock and Roll Hall of Famer and Safety Harbor resident seems like a natural fit for Maron’s show. He’s already rubbed elbows with Rick Nielsen, which seems promising.
Andy Bell: Maron’s a rock guy, but it’s not a huge stretch to envision him sitting down with the lead singer of ’80s alterna-pop heroes Erasure, who lives part of the year in Tampa.
Bubba the Love Sponge: While their comedic and broadcasting styles don’t exactly match, Tampa’s signature shock jock is a radio veteran well-known in the comedy world. Maron’s never been able to book Howard Stern, but a Bubba episode might be an even juicier listen.
Brian Johnson: Maron has interviewed plenty of legendary classic rock icons (Roger Waters, Roger Daltrey, Bruce Springsteen, Neil Young). With a rumored comeback in the works, the AC/DC singer, who has a home in Sarasota, should have plenty to say these days.
Stephen King: Another all-time, A-list guest that only a podcaster of Maron’s caliber could book. He, too, lives across the Skyway in Sarasota, but if Maron could get him, it would be a Hall of Fame episode.
Chick Corea: Opening it up to Clearwater’s Scientology community ushers in a whole realm of possibilities. Jazz fusion master Corea, who got his start with the likes of Stan Getz and Miles Davis, would be a great start.
John Travolta: Travolta lives up the road just a bit, but of all the celebrity Scientologists out there, he tends to be the most visible around Tampa Bay. He recently popped up on stage in Tampa with his old Grease co-star Olivia Newton-John. (And let’s not forget, Travolta’s wife, Kelly Preston, is pretty famous, too.)
Kirstie Alley: If Travolta’s tied up, Maron could call his old Look Who’s Talking co-star, who also reportedly has a home in Clearwater. Think of all the great Cheers stories!
Dick Vitale: Honestly, we just want to hear these two voices play off each other. Boomer lives, baby!
IF YOU GO
$37.50 and up. 8 p.m. Saturday. David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts, 1010 N MacInnes Place, Tampa. (813) 229-7827. strazcenter.org.