LIVE: Marc Maron @ Troy Savings Bank Music Hall, 3/11/17
By Greg Haymes
Early on in his hour-and-45-minute set, Marc Maron summed up his state of mind regarding the political culture of the moment. “I’m terrified. My phone is freaked out,” he said. “The world is ending.”
Then he imagined a Tweet that he might receive from the current resident of the White House: “Never heard of Marc Maron. Heard he’s not funny. Sad.”
There’s certainly no question where Maron lands on the political spectrum, and the nearly sold-out crowd at the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall was clearly standing with him. So after his relatively short opening volley regarding the Trumpification of America, he pretty much steered clear of the political and delved deep into the personal.
Often perched on the plain black centerstage stool like some foreboding old-world gargoyle high on some building looking down on the strange hustle and bustle of humanity from a vast distance, Maron played up his misanthropic nature.
At various times throughout the evening he proclaimed:
“It’s difficult to be me.”
“I’m emotionally crippled.”
“I’m difficult because I’m cynical.”
“My brain only goes in two directions. ‘I gotta get the fuck outta here’ or ‘I’m gonna kill myself.’ Those are my options.”
“It’s hard being human… having to tolerate other humans.”
“When you’re an emotionally fucked up person, you have this dream that someday you won’t be,” he explained. “Not gonna happen.”
Clearly, Maron – or at least the “Marc Maron” that he plays onstage – is a man with issues, which fits nicely with the cliched stereotype of the laughing on the outside and crying on the inside stand-up comedian.
And the 53-year-old Maron delved fairly deep into the topic of aging, which led him into a surprising – even to him – music-heavy discussion of Phish (“I don’t have time for them”), Tom Petty, the Dave Matthews Band (and an imaginary email exchange between him and Dave) and a lengthy segment about his trepidation of attending a concert by the septuagenarian Rolling Stones (during which the thinking man’s comedian engaged in some pretty spot-on physical comedy).
The pre-show music, by the way, was a non-stop parade Rolling Stones greatest hits.
Along the way Maron also riffed on museum-going, dinner parties, Cap’n Crunch cereal (?!?), casual racism, the yawning of psychic vampires, the state of disrepair of Columbia County barns, Trader Joe’s, the overwhelming experience of Home Depot, a nice Stetson hat that someone sent him, dying alone, his mother’s inappropriate use of emojis, the backsliding line of political correctness and the difficulty of maintaining a healthy relationship.
“The space between despair and orgasm is hard to fill,” he explained as he read through a handful of material written on post-it notes. “They’re not jokes – just thoughts…”
And indeed, midway through his generous show, Maron noted, “Some people think that comedy takes courage. I don’t even know if what I do is comedy.”
Opening act Marina Franklin – last seen in a Greater Nippertown spotlight as the opener for Maria Bamford at The Egg a couple of years back – delivered an engaging 20-minute set, although she never really delved below the surface.
John Rodat’s review at The Alt
An excerpt from Steve Barnes’ review at The Times Union: “Eloquent yet conversational, existential as well as carnal, Marc Maron is a thinking person’s comic. Though his subject matter may at times broadly resemble that of many other middle-aged male comedians — relationships, politics, senior parents, feeling out of sorts with technology and current pop culture — the specific form and content are distinctively Maron’s, refracted in the prism of his searching intelligence. Maron, now 53, opened his show Saturday night before a three-quarters-full crowd at the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall with about 10 minutes of political material, which came with a warning: ‘Maybe there’s some Trump people in here — not your night.’ Judging by the laughter and the apparent departure of only one patron, the self-selecting audience was in the right place.”