Marc Maron makes Richard Lewis sound like a Hallmark greeting card. If you listen to stand-up comedy CD s to feel better, Marc Maron Final Engagement is going to make you hang yourself.

This is excellent, very funny and smart stand-up, but Maron’s nihilist existential take on things on most of this 2 CD set requires a particular mindset to really be appreciated

Not all of Final Engagement is pitch black partly because the stand-up manages to make the darkness funny and partly because he also tosses in a few relatively lighter, more audience friendly material.

Maron travels the unlit side of Boulevard of Broken Dreams and hits the brick wall in the cul-de-sac for the audience’s enjoyment. The comedian immediately sets the tone for the show by challenging the audience and with the observation weekends are now the time for taking stock and realizing you have Enron.

“Fine” is the centerpiece of the first comedy CD in this double set. This is a somewhat surreal extrapolation on what could happen during the show and the meaning of the word “fine”.

Not all the material here is dark. Maron throws in the occasional piece such as Gym Theory that sounds more like your standard stand-up material. There is the sneaking feeling though he tossed it at the audience as a respite before another trip down the mine shaft.

The second CD begins with a bit on the difference between racial and racist humor that echoes similar routines “To find out if you are racist look at who you blame when something goes missing or wrong.” This comes from the audience’s reaction to a joke about Katrina victims versus the victims of the fires in the hills of San Diego.

Also included on the second disc are a solid bit on religions, the Patriot Act. The middle is autobiographical comedy about Maron’s marital problems. This is some of the more vicious material I have heard in a while. The second CD and the show do end a bit abruptly.

Marc Maron has a very strange outlook on things. Final Engagement is an excellent  stand-up comedy CD set but you have to be in the right frame of mind and out of razor blades to really appreciate it. Stand Up! Records has many excellent comedy downloads and CDs

Final Engagement
Marc Maron
2 Stand-up Comedy CD
Stand Up! Records 2009

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