The new season of Stewart Lee’s Comedy Vehicle is upon us.
Not everyone gets Lee. Then again, not everyone got Bill Hicks, or Lenny Bruce, or Mort Sahl for that matter. There are those today who don’t “get” Doug Stanhope or Louis CK or Marc Maron, either. Y’know…because they don’t tell “jokes”…
“There’s that word again: jokes. Does it matter if Lee doesn’t have jokes, in the usual sense? Is his humour, mainly derived from a tortuous style and pregnant pauses, hilarious on its own merits? The gag of Lee’s performance is that he’s not prepared to give general audiences what they expect from stand-up comedy — with a pace that makes Steven Wright look like Lee Evans. Lee would rather breakdown the minutiae of his own material, during the gig itself, and preempt audience criticism in the moment.”
Read the rest of Dan Owen’s piece here.
Load up on Stewart Lee here and here.
R.I.P. Jackie Cooper.
Famous to many for The Champ, also for his career rebirth in the Superman movies. But when I was a kid, I knew him best as the towhead who had a big crush on Miss Crabtree. I didn’t blame him.
Suffering For His Art and Your Laughter
“Left wing, right wing, I am wingless and tired of trying to fly. Here comes the ground.”
The title of Marc Maron‘s newest album is an deliberate pun; after the acrimonious and painful divorce he has recently been through he’s probably unlikely to jump off that bridge again. But Maron, like the greatest bluesmen, takes that pain and transforms it into art.
Anyone who has seen Maron or heard either of his two prior albums (Not Sold Out and Tickets Still Available) would likely peg him as a curmudgeon (albeit a brilliant one). After all, this is the man who claims that he would like to wander the malls at Christmastime dressed like Jesus, pointing to shoppers and saying “no, no…you’ve got it all wrong!” He does not suffer fools, though he freely admits to being one; it’s an unusual vantage point and one he leverages beautifully.
His takes are intellectual without being condescending but still hysterically funny, and he’s an astute social critic who targets religion, fate and relationships with a fresh and everyman perspective. (The big question is no longer “what is life?” but “How am I being used and am I okay with that?”.) He was a natural for Air America and is rumored to be under consideration for an MSNBC show to follow Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow.
But Maron is also one of the truly great political voices, even sharper than Bill Maher; his rants recall the boiling point of Bill Hicks and the subject expertise of Will Durst and Mort Sahl. It will be interesting to see how his ire is directed in the Obama age (Bush was an easy target); but tune in to Maron v Seder for clues.
Pain and anger are also making him more prolific – right on the heels of his new album he is now performing his one man show Scorching The Earth (currently workshopping to cut it to festival length). Having found his voice even in his deepest pain and heartbreak, Maron is poised to be ranked alongside the true sarcastic and satiric masters. I hope to interview him later this Summer, so I’ll save the deeper content until then.
Here’s a sample of Maron in action. More in a future TGIF.
Marc Maron on MySpace
Marc Maron’s Official Website