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“Maron” Review: Episodes 1-4

Maron Gallery Art

(For some reason, I’m listening to Anne Hathaway’s rendition of “I Dreamed A Dream” from the Les Misérables soundtrack as I write this. It’s on repeat. Yeah. I know.)

Comedian Marc Maron is probably best known for his podcast, entitled “WTF with Marc Maron,” in which he conducts one-on-one interviews with comedians like Chris Rock, Louis C.K., Amy Poehler, and various television people. He’s even had an episode with a porn actress, which didn’t devolve into shaming or anything of the sort.

Before finding success with his podcast, Maron was mostly a stand-up and hosted a program called Morning Sedition on the now-defunct Air America for a short time. Unlike some of his peers in the New York alternative comedy scene, he never quite hit it big until he ventured into the world of podcasting. (Well, “big” is relative. But he has his own show, so he’s bigger than most people working in the entertainment industry.)

The podcast showcases Maron’s excellent, although – at times – aggressive interview skills (if you’ve ever listened to his podcast, then you know he’s definitely not someone who shies away from asking a question – ask retired prop comic Gallagher), but also his ability to just have a compelling and thought-provoking conversation with someone.

It’s because of his podcast that Maron was eventually able to acquire his own show, Maron, where he plays a fictionalized version of himself. The self-insert has drawn a lot of comparisons to Louis C.K.’s show, Louie, and while I understand why Maron would invite such commentary, I would argue they’re very different shows because of the inherent differences between the two comics’ personalities.

Maron’s style of comedy is much more bitter and rage-fueled, driven by his outrage at the world. At the same time, the show is tonally very light. Whereas Louie has delved into some dark, gut-wrenching material, Maron is much more of a comedy and centers of Maron’s tendencies to blow things out of proportion.

“Internet Troll”

The premiere episode centers on Marc tracking down – as you can guess from the title of the episode – an internet troll. He brings along his friend, Dave Foley, for the ride. The internet troll doesn’t back down when confronted by Marc, however, and Marc ends up walking away feeling disappointed and slightly ashamed that he went through so much effort just to track this one anonymous Internet user down. Rating: B-

“Dead Possum”

Marc acquires an intern/assistant, Kyle (Josh Brener), and must also contend with a dead possum stuck in his air vent. Despite help being readily available to him, Marc insists on handling the situation himself, but first he must go out and buy the “necessary” equipment. In the end, a neighbor deals with the possum after Marc gives a speech about how his father was never around to teach him how to do these “manly” things. Rating: B

“Marc’s Dad”

Marc’s Dad, played by Judd Hirsch, shows up at Marc’s house. He’s mentioned in each of the previous two episodes. The two have a turbulent relationship, as chronicled in the episode, thanks to Marc’s Dad being a very strange, non-sensible man. (He quit being a doctor and is now selling vitamins and living out of his RV.) Rating: B+

“Dominatrix”  

Marc’s friend Illeana Douglas, played by herself, sets him up on a blind date with a bookstore worker (Maria Thayer). Marc winds up going out on a date with a dominatrix, Justine (Maribeth Monroe), instead. Marc reasons that he must be evolving as a person because he’s so tolerant and open-minded about Justine’s profession, but the relationship is one banana bread-loaf from falling apart. Marc’s Dad is still parked outside Marc’s house, as well, and reveals that he’s in a relationship with a Filipina woman, which Marc has trouble wrapping his head around. Rating: A-

Maron airs Fridays at 10/9 PM central on IFC.

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