President Barack Obama Speaks Candidly About Race, Smoking, And Comedy on 'WTF With Marc Maron'

President Barack Obama spoke candidly on race in the immediate wake of the Charleston Church Massacre during the hour-long discussion.

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Complex Original

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Just two days after the Charleston Church Massacre, President Barack Obama joined comedian Marc Maron in his gloriously infamous garage to record an hour-long conversation for Maron's WTF podcast. According to Maron, the Obama interview — though certainly historic for the format and for Maron himself — should not be taken as an indicator for the future of the show. "This is not me re-entering political talk," says Maron. "I had an opportunity to talk to the President of the United States and that’s how I saw it. That’s what that is and that’s what it will remain."

Regardless, Maron's proven mastery of the art of conversation provides the perfect platform for candid thoughts from Obama on a wide variety of topics — including, of course, the Charleston Church Massacre and its place in the global discussion on gun control. "This is unique to our country," Obama tells Maron. "There is no other advanced nation on earth that tolerates multiple shootings on a regular basis and considers it normal."

The conversation also turned to racism's continued impact on politics — and its many shapes and forms in today's America. "Racism, we are not cured of it," Obama says. "It's not just a matter of it not being polite to say n***** in public. That's not the measure of whether racism still exists or not. It's not just a matter of overt discrimination. Societies don't, overnight, completely erase everything that happened 200 to 300 years prior."

Maron and Obama also discussed their respective tastes in comedy, what drove them both to initially start smoking cigarettes, and much more. Find the full podcast here.


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