November 28, 2013

Marc Maron: Thinky Pain

Lance Bangs, 2013
Marc Maron performs in front of a small crowd in an intimate setting in this made for Netflix special. Any fan of Marc Maron's very popular WTF Podcast or his recent Television series on FX is familiar with his personality. He is an open book. He is experienced but he has work to do. He is reflective but neurotic. Intelligent. While he is admittedly not a religious person, he certainly channels some of the neurotic Jewish comedic chords in the same vein as Woody Allen, Richard Lewis, or Mel Brooks. Maron is not a set-up to punchline guy. He is proud of his lack of preparation. He comfortably sits on the bar-stool and throws the unnecessary notebook to the floor. He is taking it moment to moment, reading the crowd. He knows that it can go either way, and that's fine with him. Brilliant deconstructionism. Breaking down his method as he shows chicken scratches on hotel stationary. His act at times comes off as more of a cathartic therapy session. It becomes an outlet to confess some childhood fears. They are all going to get through it together. He doesn't hesitate to let you in. Some frustrating elements of his relationship with a much younger female. Possible damage to the body from past drug use. Psychologically damaging moments in childhood sports. Frustration about having to deal with alpha males in childhood and in adult life. The hypochondria created from having a doctor for a father. The food guilt with being a fat kid from with an anorexic mother. And while it all comes from real place, it's all funny. The highlight of the special is when he pinpoints a childhood moment on a baseball field. He confesses that his life would have gone in a completely different direction had he caught a baseball. And while there is clear trauma and a bit of tragedy associated with the story, it's relatable and the vulnerability makes it pure. You get a clear sense that he's done a lot of the hard work, and while some of it was done on a stage, most of it was done inside himself. The honesty of the evolution is inspiring. He's come a long way and he wants to talk about it, or perhaps talk THROUGH it. It's thinky pain, and it's real.

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