There’s an extra bittersweet poignancy already to Marc Maron’s 2020 Netflix special, End Times Fun, which came out in the second week of March, just as the coronavirus pandemic began sweeping across America.
Lynn Shelton, his girlfriend at the time, directed this special, and died suddenly and unexpectedly (not from COVID-19) in May.
Can we still have fun joking about the end times with Maron? There’s still his politically divisive closer for everyone to digest, and that’s not changing anytime soon.
Nevertheless, some solid truths remain. As I wrote in March:
We don’t have Carlin around today to tell us how to act or react to the insanity around us, although comedy fans and others still gladly share clips of the legendary stand-up which prove either prophetic or eerily fitting today.
We do have Maron. And Maron is not the curmudgeon he used to be. As he gets older, his comedic persona has evolved and elevated to a higher, subtler, satirical plane.
So he can, at once, poke fun at Trump in an observational way without getting too political, while also mocking liberals for their previous and sometimes ever-present passivity. If the rule of law breaks down, do we break down with it, or if we choose to hold strong, are we normalizing it? If we live to see the global climate destroy us, what did we do to prevent it, exactly?
He filmed this before the COVID-19 coronavirus began spreading globally, so it’s comedy karma doing Maron a solid, perhaps answering his fundamental question:
“I don’t know what it’s gonna take to get everybody, you know, to…you would think at this point that we’d…haven’t we been entertained enough? Weird thing for me to say, but Jesus. Like, isn’t there something that could bring everyone together and just realize, like, we’ve got to put a stop too, like, almost everything. Right? Oh my God! What would it take? Something terrible. That’s what brings people together. Nothing good. Occasionally a concert outdoors. But that never really goes anywhere. It’s gotta be something bad and big. Get everyone to snap out of this, fuck, whatever it is, trance…”
Instead of coronavirus, Maron wonders how we’d react if the sky caught on fire, still clinging to our respective belief systems. Living in California, he already knows how accustomed he and his neighbors have become to nearby wildfires that it doesn’t take any leap of faith or imagination to picture Maron and others taking selfies with natural disasters. Or to put our faith in Sean Hannity or Marvel superheroes or Jesus Christ.