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Monday, February 17, 2014

DVD Review: Marc Maron: “Thinky Pain”

Marc Maron’s new special, Thinky Pain, was recorded at an intimate venue, which works perfectly with the personal nature of his material and the conversational tone of his delivery. The special begins with a bit of backstage footage, with Marc talking with a friend. And then it’s time for him to go out on stage. There is no big hoopla when he goes out; the move seems casual, from backstage banter to onstage banter, which is wonderful.

I love Marc Maron’s delivery. Near the beginning he says he didn’t prepare for the special, and maybe that’s true, at least to a certain extent, because the whole performance gives you the feel of being involved in a cool, very funny conversation in which you never actually get to speak yourself.  Although then toward the end he does actually ask the audience a question, like seeking advice, and folks do respond.

The anecdotes are quite personal, and he talks to the audience at times as if they’re old friends, or at least acquaintances – and before long you feel that you do know him. He takes the audience through his process of writing, including necessarily illegible penmanship, then trying to decode it later (something I can personally relate to). He also tells a story from his childhood, regarding a life-changing incident on the baseball field. By the way, from that anecdote comes the special’s title.

About drug use, he has this to say: “There is something to be said about doing a lot of drugs at some point in your life. I personally don’t have a lot of respect for people that don’t have the courage to lose complete control of their life for a few years.” And then he takes on the voice of someone who has just come out of that period: “I’d like to think I did some good writing but there’s no real evidence of it. Random pieces of paper.” That leads directly to an incident involving Chinese food.

I absolutely love all of his material on music, and in particular the stuff on Captain Beefheart. I also appreciate the tangents, such as off-hand remarks about his girlfriend that are completely fucking hilarious: “Because I don’t really know if someone loves me if I can’t make them cry.”

Like most comedians, he uses his relationships for material. He urges folks to try Viagra at least once, saying, “When you’re fucking on Viagra, there is like a moment where you look down at your cock and you think, ‘It doesn’t even need me.’” And about dating younger women he says, “I actually thought about having business cards printed up that just said, ‘Marc Maron: A Phase You’re Going Through.’” When talking about his current relationship, the material doesn’t feel like a routine at all, but rather him opening up, which is interesting, and different from the standard stand-up fare. He says, About his current relationship: “I don’t think I could get rid of this one if I had to. She’s fucking terrifying.” And this line totally cracked me up: “She should appreciate just how much I’m not making her cry right now.”

At 94 minutes, this performance is longer than most stand-up specials. There is a little bit of backstage footage at end. The DVD contains no special features.

Thinky Pain was released on January 21, 2014 through New Wave Dynamics.

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