Marc Maron Bluma Appel Theatre, Toronto ON, April 19
Published Apr 20, 2015Towards the end of his hour, Marc Maron hit the nail right on the head: "What I do is creative complaining." There is no more succinct way to describe the sweet 51-year-old embodiment of neuroticism, whose late night performance in the gorgeous Bluma Appel Theatre was laid back yet thoroughly entertaining.
Throughout the show, he grumbled about a massive variety of subjects. Many of his his targets were very personal, such as his tumultuous relationship history, and his anger issues. However, several of them were cultural: kale and bacon fads; the fact that most jazz sounds the same. Moreover, he deprecated himself a lot by interweaving his material with opinions from two voices: a snobby blogger and Maron's own self-criticism. The blogger would comically point out the flaws in his performance, while other voice would nervously add explanations to his jokes to prevent any hint of offence. These served as fantastically funny narrators that threaded the show together.
Contrastingly, Maron also had a lovely innocence and optimism to him. He took joy in hearing the audience become tense as his water bottle rolled close to the stage's edge, described his adoration of ice cream, and fondly recalled memories of being overjoyed about rocks as a child. Similarly, he also noted how grateful he is that he doesn't have to deal with the stress of a marriage or family, and his appreciation of Canadian fans. In addition, Maron did more crowd work than usual. He did a great impression of a very relaxed audience member, and amusingly quipped "Savour it" when one woman continued to laugh after the rest of the audience quieted down. In combination with the predominant negativity of his material, the audience was given a detailed sense of Maron's life, and gradually got the impression that Marc Maron is happy despite his ongoing fixations.
Marc Maron's opener was Ashley Barnhill, a rising young comic who also recently opened for Dave Chappelle. Barnhill's delivery was dry and deadpan, and her material was wittily observational. She compared her looks to Jared Leto, talked about the annoyances of dating, and spoke about being a poor juice bar employee despite having a law degree. She wasn't outstanding, but her writing was good and she provided a few chuckles.
Overall, despite the fact that Barnhill was unexceptional and the structure of Maron's hour was a bit loose, this was a wonderfully fun show. Maron's hour of overwhelmingly new material enjoyably alternated between being hilarious and heart-warming.