The neurosis is real.
The rage lies just below the surface.
The inner blogger reporting on his condition: Is that supposed to be me? More later.
Marc Maron: More Later, directed by Bobcat Goldthwait and filmed at The Vic Theatre in Chicago this June — the same month Marc Maron interviewed President Barack Obama from the garage in Maron’s driveway in Los Angeles for his WTF podcast — finds the 51-year-old comedian in truly uncharted territory.
Perhaps that’s why he’s still looking over his notes backstage about an hour before he’s supposed to go on, allowing cameras to capture his constant questioning and second-guessing of himself. Even as he looks over the backstage spread of Chicago deep-dish pizza and salad. Or perhaps it’s because, once you go back two years to his Thinky Pain special on Netflix, it’s almost another two decades before you could find Maron on TV delivering a full set of his material. Or it could be that, because he’s found such a home confessing his feelings to the microphone for his podcast, that Goldthwait’s camera crew is filling in as a surrogate. And this backstage angst is a necessary thing before the thing.
He says he wants this hour — actually, he does 69 minutes onstage — to include callbacks to prove that he can “be a professional and structure something,” and yet. “See, that’s who I am. I’m taping this special tonight and I think I’ve got the ending. But I’m not sure. And I’m not even fucking kidding.”
But Maron has become much more comfortable in the not knowing, at least onstage. So even if he allows a single woman in the audience to derail his train of thought almost immediately, that’s not a bad thing for him. “I just wanted it to be weird when I came out, and it’s happening,” Maron said. “I don’t know what to do sometimes! I can’t handle the love and respect from you people, so make no mistake, I’m hating myself inside.”
And that inside voice comes out repeatedly over the course of the performance. Think Jim Gaffigan, but with more self-doubt. And unlike Gaffigan, Maron will explain why his inner monologue is coming out: “I’ve got an inner blogger that reviews my show while it’s in progress,” and “more later” is his blogger’s sign-off.
Though Maron’s two marriages have failed and his more recent dating experiences have been up and down, at 51, he’s starting to think that even with only two cats as companions, he may be winning at life now. Especially when he talks to a guy friend who’s got the traditional life victory package of a wife and kids.
He’d like to believe his cats aren’t dumb, imagining they’re thinking about Egypt or something abstract when he catches them staring out a window. He’d like to think all of his personal and professional success has made him a happier person, too. But he’s aware that his anger hasn’t left him.
“I just have a river of rage running through me at all times, and it’s just right there, and as I get older I realize it’s really up to me as to whether or not I’m going to put the kayak in the water.”
Perched on his stool, though, he’s only halfway there. Not even, maybe. Because the microphone is not an oar. And the stage is no river. He’s safely ashore here.
And despite the fact that contempt and empathy can co-exist so closely that he expresses them both in the same joke sometimes, it’s the empathy that allows his contempt to come across so humorously. Whether that’s learning about the fate of his children’s TV host back in Albuquerque, Capt. Billy, or about the time he booked a gig in the South on Easter Weekend, and tried to figure out the Christian way of life.
He cannot understand kale, however.
And relationships? Maron has tried dating a woman his age after going younger for a while, and he’s also tried dating women that force him into long-distance relationships and Skype sex.
But at some 16 years clean and sober, Maron’s finding it’s a very sweet sixteen, indeed. Because ice cream still exists. And it speaks to the addict in him. “It’s a beautiful drug.”
And if that’s the biggest problem in Maron’s life today, well then, life is pretty sweet. More later.