Friday, September 04, 2009

Media Maron

A little more comedy now-- but for a change, it's about an American. The main news, should you want to skip the rest, is that Marc Maron has a new Podcast and it's great. It's called WTF and it's free on iTunes or not on iTunes

I didn't know of Marc Maron much before he started the ill-fated morning program Morning Sedition on Air America way back when. The show was a revelation: smart and powerful hilarity. There was plenty of satire, but very little of "let's have someone imitate a given politician" or "let's write a gag that's not funny but is remotely topical" that passes for satire nowadays, and none of the "Wow, lesbians and midgets are hilarious" that has bizarrely become a standard of unfunny "funnymen." He's left-of-center but I'd be hard-pressed to call him a "political comedian" because most people who do that are about as funny as Jay Leno with chin cancer, and Maron's stuff and that of his writer/performers is usually much more oblique than just reformulating headlines.

Someone has kindly put up an archive of the comedy bits from Morning Sedition, and they are still funny. Especially if you can cast yourself back to the very dark days when Bush was running things but it was somehow treasonous to mention you were ashamed the President was from Texas (unlike now, when the preferred term is for a sitting President is "Stalinist African-born Hitler" -- get right on that Diane Sawyer).

Give these bits a listen -- they're still hilarious. (also they feature Kent Jones, who appears as Rachel Maddow's sidekick now, the multifarious Jim Earl, Wyatt Cenac, and a lot of other good comics).

Maron parted ways with Air America (meaning they shafted him several times), but he's kept a unique and darkly hilarious take. Here's an hour-plus long standup set he did a few weeks ago. It's great how relaxed and natural he is. I'm not a fan of mere "Setup. Punchline. Repeat" comedians and he's certainly gone way beyond that. It's theatrical in the most basic sense, and had me roaring with laughter.

Go check out Marc Maron's new WTF podcast, either on Itunes or not on Itunes. He tells a few stories, rants a bit, and has a long and interesting conversation with Jeffrey Ross (who I respect a lot more after this interview).

There's a lot of Maron's history I've left out-- I've just put up mostly what drew me to his work. If you want to read more, you can start with Wikipedia and visit his website.

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