I’ve seen Marc Maron’s standup a handful of times, including, most memorably, at the height of the Bush administration, open a set at some generic New York comedy club. That night he was frantic, a being of pure comedic rage, racing to empty a stream of consciousness during a short set. He was hosting the Air America morning show, and the hours in between, he’d seemingly spent stewing beneath an avalanche of lefty newspaper editorials.
It was a beautiful thing, one enjoyed by some small handful of audience members, in amongst a sea of out of town show goers seemingly incapable of processing what had just unfolded before them. We stayed for the middle comic, too, who wowed the crowd by feigning some vaguely middle-eastern accent during, if memory serves, a bit about terrorist foodtruck employees.More memorable still, albeit for largely different reasons, was a performance in the basement of a NoHo theatre (the larger upstairs space, I believe, was occupied by the seemingly endless stage run of Mike Birbiglia’s Sleepwalk With Me).
The show was billed as a workshop, with Maron working out the kinks of a one-man show, fittingly tield Scorching the Earth, on the top of the comedian’s recent, still extremely raw divorce. It’s a peculiar word in this context, “workshopping.” Working through things on-stage is precisely what makes Maron’s comedy so good. And it has been, by extension, a big part of what has made his podcast so excellent. The best episodes of WTF are also the most cathartic for all parties involved.
I can’t say I had a bone to pick with Maron, nor he with my. When he stopped by for a quick chat, I introduced myself as the guy who tried to hook him on electronic cigarettes on a three episode arc of his final Air America show, Breakroom Live. “Yeah,” he said, “I remember you,” and went back to fiddling with his phone. I’m happy to report, however, that once the mics flicked on and the conversation began flowing in reasonably organic fashion he opened up, forgetting for a moment, the hectic travel schedule, the stifling New York City heat and the forthcoming premier of the final episode of his IFC show’s first season.
Best of all, no one even had to take off their shirt.
#maron #marc maron #wtf