Published May 03, 2016Exclaim! is reviewing every standup comedy special currently available on Netflix Canada, including this one. You can find a complete list of reviews so far here.
With his first televised special since the success of his biweekly podcast, WTF, Marc Maron's 2013 special Thinky Pain comes off more like a victory lap than the stride of a hungry comedian.
Opening with the obligatory backstage scene, Maron chats with longtime friend Tom Scharpling (of The Best Show on WFMU) about the fact that, if his newfound fame occurred ten years earlier, he would have most certainly blown it. In contrast, throughout this 90-minute special, the L.A.-based comedian goes on to demonstrate just how in-control of his destiny he's managed to become.
Recorded in the tiny basement showroom at New York's Village Gate, the 49-year-old comic comes off looking utterly relaxed, at ease and charming, an image that works directly against the Maron of old. Fans of his podcast will no doubt notice that Maron covers a lot of familiar ground throughout his set, rehashing jokes from his podcast's intros, including bits about finally getting around to understanding Captain Beefheart and how being a son of a doctor makes you a hypochondriac, but mostly for the attention.
For better or for worse, Maron funnels his one-time neuroticism and rancour into a buoyant set that straddles the line between traditional standup comedy and his unique brand of from-the-hip conversational musings, while Maron talks about the how depression and horniness must lead most people to self-erotic asphyxiation, and how inept atheists would be at owning their own soup kitchens.
Maron's material via 2013 seem much punchier, characterized and in faster succession than what his fans are used to. Although he likes to remind the audience that he doesn't prepare for his jokes like other comedians, Thinky Pain still manages to show Marc presenting a twisted and bleak worldview, only now it's presented by a bona fide star who is more than ready to bask in the spotlight.