Marc Maron has a new Netflix comedy special! It’s low key, with mellow energy and has more interesting ideas than really great jokes. But it’s nice. Obviously Marc Maron is better known for other things than his stand up. He does his podcast, which I only listen to when there are guests I really really love– like St. Vincent. He is also great in the Netflix show Glow, when I first saw him I didn’t recognize him, but also I wasn’t into comedy so I wasn’t looking for him.
The week after Maron’s special, Tom Segura also had a special come out. I stopped watching Tom Segura’s Ball Hog because of the energy that he presented. So much of it came off as being edgy, and mean spirited. I didn’t think I would like Ball Hog, but I gave it a chance anyway, so grant me that. In a lot of ways Marc Maron is like the opposite of the political spectrum as Tom Segura. Marc Maron is more overtly political, as in the case with liberals in comedy, but they both don’t focus their comedy on politics. But it’s there, in their personality. In their candace, their fashions and obviously– what they say.
This isn’t the funniest special, but it is one that digs in a little bit deeper into ideas than other specials. Maron opens by walking up to the stool and sitting on it. This, along with the warm hues, wooden flooring and background, and his gentle voice, and word choice, add a level of comfort. That’s what this special presents, comfort comedy for those who already agree with Maron.
His first joke is about some guys not recognizing him on the street. “What do I know, then it went from there to like What do I know really, and you gotta be careful with this kind of rabbit hole in your own brain, cause it go quickly to like “Do I even exist” which is sort of sophomoric” The way he is able to twist these relatively complex ideas and express his emotions and own personal judgements in them is extremely well crafted, in the above joke he is able to get a laugh just by twisting the word “Sophomoric” in a harsh way that is both surprising and insightful. He doesn’t waste time getting to the ideas. But he does waste time by making them funny.
One part of the special I enjoyed was when he went into Marvel movies. He jumped to this point through a discussion of his religion, judaism. His thesis in this bit is that Marvel movies are a religious system and the “grown male nerd children” deny that it’s a religion and they also run “the cultural apparatus” This joke comes back around toward the end of the special. I related to Maron on this point– as this year I have told my friend “I’m not going to watch any more Marvel movies” but alas I watched a Captain Marvel, thought it was bad and now I’m watching this special like “Thank god someone is putting this to words, and not the only one”
Another truly impressive aspect of this special is the way Maron transitions. Everything comes off as seamless. Often he will jump back and build on things that he discussed before. He is able to present a consistent self reinforcing show of his own view of the world. It’s impressive how intricate and consistently he presents it. This special isn’t about punchlines are hard hitting jokes, but rather ideas– which will turn some folks off. But by this point, don’t you already know if you like Maron or not?