Maron on IFC: He’s doing this, folks
Comedian Marc Maron, who has often provided a neurotically introspective soundtrack for my daily commute via his WTF podcast, has a new 10-episode series coming to IFC. Maron is a sitcom in many extremely traditional ways, but the low-key show is so incredibly close to what the obsessively misguided standup has portrayed to podcast listeners as his real, feline-filled life that it throws the watcher for a loop. For instance, an episode focused on Maron confronting an internet troll is clearly a contrived plot device. On the other hand, doing it with a hungover podcast guest Kids in the Hall’s Dave Foley (playing himself) and a sick kitty in tow is, well, so Maron it seems uncomfortably personal . . . in a good way.
Still, knowing that Maron has built his recent success on pouring his real life into his humor, it’s a little jarring to watch a facsimile of that world that includes both well-known actors playing themselves (Denis Leary and Jeff Garlin as podcast guests) and well-known actors playing characters (Sally Kellerman and Judd Hirsch as his parents). For an avid Marc Maron listener, it calls out the inauthenticity of the situations facing someone we believe to be a pretty genuine guy.
In terms of character, Maron shows a great sense of awareness of what makes him annoying, what makes him funny and what makes him humorously irritating. And, like some of the comedians that have successfully played aspects of themselves in television comedies—Louis C.K., Garry Shandling, Larry David or Ricky Gervais—is not afraid to make himself sometimes unlikable and often the butt of the joke. “I spent the whole day with you and it’s been trying,” Foley tells Maron in the first episode.
All in all, this is an understated, slow-burn show that shines in its more nuanced moments, like the look that passes over Maron’s face when his agent asks if he and comedian Pete Holmes, who is sitting in the room, are friends.
I’ve only seen three episodes, but I’m on board and setting my DVR to catch the rest and find out what happens when Ken Jeong, Bobcat Goldthwait and Aubrey Plaza show up. The series starts Friday, May 3, but you can watch a full episode now courtesy of IFC.