“End Times Fun”, a special program on the state of the nation, is his most ambitious production, sometimes at fault, going from reflective to scorching, covering everything from anti-vaccination and #MeToo movements to evangelical politics . Some of his premises, on Trump’s shadow or Pence’s sexuality, are too familiar. What stands out is its anchor theme: a skepticism of unshakable belief of all kinds.
Speaking in a dead end that becomes more raucous the longer the sentence, Maron, who wears jeans, a waistcoat and a bushy beard, has left behind his old anger. He seems more tired, impatient of everyone who thinks he has the answers, including his podcasting colleague Joe Rogan, who he points to to sell health supplements before saying that he will get a flak about it online from “The Monoculture of Free Thinkers ”, A salvo that seems to target the class of commentators and comics in reflex at war with the politically correct. Maron describes himself as “85% have woken up, the remaining 15% that I keep for myself.”
He distinguishes three major American religions: Fox News, Christianity and the Marvel universe. He spends the least time with Fox, while pointing out that Marvel and Christianity were both “created in the rooms of Jewish writers.” In Jewish comedy, pride has always been hidden behind self-hatred, a paradox that Maron examines (and lives in) as well as anyone.
After three and a half decades in comedy, Maron has become a devious clever joke mechanic. Smuggling punch lines into asides or apparent tangents, he tries to approach more of a conversation than a configuration and punch line structure, full of Socratic dialogues, news and parlor theories. Sometimes he seems more interested in a literary development than a belly laugh. Her last joke is not hilarious but it recalls no less than four different from the previous hour. In previous specials, he almost fetishized spontaneity, but his work is now more overtly written, complex and structured.
Over the years, Maron has been part of several avant-garde comedies, from the birth of the alt scene in the 1990s to the podcast revolution over ten years ago, but with age and success. he has become an integral part of the establishment, a television star whose podcast is also likely to present Brad Pitt springing up on the host’s IFC show as a comic and scrappy chat shop. (Full disclosure: I appeared there, and during a recent episode, he told me about reviewing his special, the first time I received a podcast review.) Maron is now the old guard. It is not uncommon to hear young comics laughing at him. This is part of the price to pay for a decade of public nostalgia as well as the inevitable hypocrisies that you will engage in if you live long enough. Maron hates comic book culture, but of course he appeared in the movie “Joker”.