If you are a fan of stand-up comedy in any way, shape or form, odds are very high you already know Marc Maron, and he needs no introduction.  But, just in case, Maron is a long time veteran of the art form, and has been a comic since the late 80s.

To say that Marc Maron is “back” with a new comedy special would be incorrect, because that would imply that Maron had been away for a while.  Much to the contrary, Maron’s career has been on fire the last few years.  He is the host of one of the most well respected comedy podcasts — WTF with Marc Maron.  He has his own show on the IFC.  And, he now brings his fans the gift of over 90 minutes of new material in his new special, Thinky Pain.

Originally released as a Netflix exclusive, the special is now available for purchase on DVD by New Wave Dynamics.  The special was filmed at Le Poisson Rouge in Greenwich Village, a very intimate venue. Maron wastes no time using that fact to his advantage and taking a gentle stab at Dane Cook and the massive stadiums where Cook performs.

Although still focused on frustrations, Marc Maron’s comedy is now much less angry and is infinitely more approachable.  In fact, Maron spends most of the special sitting on a stool simply telling stories, treating the audience like a bunch of friends he invited over to dinner.

Maron’s interactions with the audience were largely focused on him pretending to ask what he should talk about next, suggesting that his material is a bit unplanned.  Perhaps it is to a small extent, but make no mistake, Maron’s set is a well-oiled machine.  Maron has bits about performing with the late, great Bill Hicks, a humiliating Little League experience, the fact that he was a hypochondriac and the clever/brutal way his dad chose to deal with that, his relationships (multiple divorces and his current, good relationship with a younger woman), and porn (a topic for which seemingly no comedy special can end without being discussed).

Maron is a master storyteller and only seems to get better as time goes by.  Highly recommended.

Thinky Pain
Marc Maron
Stand-up Comedy DVD
New Wave Dynamics 2014
94 minutes

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