I’m not sure how I feel about the concept of recaps. We’re not recap-heavy here at Laughspin. In fact, the only show we currently recap is Community. Some sites love recaps. I’m skeptical. I’m not sure they add any value. Regardless, I’ve recapped the first episode of Maron, which just premiered at 10:30 pm ET on IFC tonight (they played a “sneak peak” episode at 10 pm). If you haven’t watched the show, obviously you shouldn’t read this– so don’t cry to me like they just shot the Easter Bunny about how we’re publishing spoilers. My goal is to recap the show each week. We’ll see what the response is. If you want to read a more formal review of Maron, go here. If you’re ready to dive into a recap, keep reading. Enjoy!
In the opening seconds of the premiere we find Marc doing what he does best—splaying himself wide open and spilling his guts! It’s a tight shot, but we know he’s in his therapist’s office, right? Wrong, you geese. He’s talking to his vet who’s administering to Boomer– arguably Maron’s most famous cat—no disrespect to Monkey and LaFonda. Marc seems confused when his pretty lady vet stops his free-form speech after he mentions an animal-themed sex dream he had co-starring the good doctor.
By the way, Boomer just has a stomach virus. So, don’t worry.
But Marc, naturally, wants to see the nice lady vet again. So he’s going to bring another one of his cats in because it seems, um, “unhappy.” After some not-so-subtle recon with the office receptionist, Marc learns the doc is married. But that doesn’t stop him from.. wait! Some shithead on Twitter named @DragonMaster – it’s a real handle but dude isn’t very active, I checked! – thinks Marc isn’t funny. “I’m not engaging with him,” he tells the beyond-disinterested receptionist.
But of course, he is. Let’s do this! Oh, it’s Marc in the famed garage and he’s on mic doing his top-of-the-podcast rant– and he’s fretting the day he finally runs into his second ex-wife.
Ok, time to insert myself into Maron’s timeline: It’s March 2009 and I’m sitting in the basement of the Bleecker Street Theatre in New York City. Marc Maron is there. It’s where he’s performing his show Scorching the Earth. I’m producing the show. Upstairs, Mike Birbiglia is performing Sleepwalk with Me. Nathan Lane is producing that. Marc isn’t happy about being in the basement. He leans over to me. “I’m going to start a podcast.”
Back to Maron. Boomer shit in his cage on the way back from the vet’s office, so Marc feels the need to take care of this right away. He busts into a coffee shop to use the bathroom and…fuck! Marc runs into his ex and Jerry, the guy who married her. And she’s pregnant. We’ve all heard Maron’s bit about his ex having a “spite baby at him” but it’s an ungodly, awkward pleasure to see it acted out. My skin crawls during this scene—but in a good way. I think. Vitriolic words are exchanged and Jerry shoves Marc (which was totally warranted) and Marc, at the urging of the barista, exits with Boomer, who’s still laying in a shitty cage. Poor Boomer.
@DragonMaster tweets at Marc again. It’s not a compliment.
Hey, look! It’s Dave Foley of Kids in the Hall Fame. And he’s drunk on Maron’s porch. He was supposed to show up last week for a WTF interview but he thought this week was last week. He lost his wife, too. And his money. And the kids. But Foley manifests depression differently than our protagonist, that is to say, he’s happy to lay face down on the kitchen floor and/or couch and laugh at what @DragonMaster has to say about Marc, who’s now determined to find out the true identity behind the Twitter handle. Maron bribes Foley off the couch with the promise of a burrito— and off they go in Maron’s sensible automobile. Boomer goes along for the ride, naturally. Maron proclaims to his would-be podcast guest: “I’m taking a stand against Internet bullies– these maladjusted assholes who anonymously spew lies and hate…This is a crusade for decency.” Fuck yeah!
After Dave takes a quick piss behind a Dumpster in Glendale, the two comics are back in the car talking cats vs dogs. Of course, we know where this is going. Marc likes cats because he has to fight for their affection. Dogs are too needy. And if there’s going to be a needy asshole in the household, it’s going to be him. Which reminds me: Maron writes in his book Attempting Normal (which just came out April 30) about possibly having kids and he talked about it onstage in New York at the recent taping of his new album/special. I never thought he’d have kids, but the dude seems pretty goddamn serious about at least thinking about it. Note to Marc: those things (kids, that is) are seriously fucking needy. I’ve had to stop writing this twice already because my nearly two-year-old doesn’t know how to stay asleep. Call me, Marc.
Finally, the Maron and Foley excursion to Orange County is done. Maron arrives at the comic book store, in which @DragonMaster (aka Darryl) is supposedly playing Dungeons and Dragons with is friends. After a tense back-and-forth with the socially awkward clerk (or is it Marc who’s awkward?…discuss), Maron forces his way back into the nether regions of the shop, wherein Darryl – lisp and funny hat and all — is engaged in what I guess is an intense game of D&D. I have no idea. I’ve never played it. Does anyone remember those stories about kids killing each other during games of D&D. Am I just making that up? Or is that something my parents told me so that I wouldn’t start playing D&D? I never had the attention span to play role-playing games. Was the original Legend of Zelda for the 8-bit Nintendo considered a RPG? I played that shit a lot. I also remember playing Kings Quest pre-Nintendo, on, like, a giant computer that was heavy enough to crush a small car. I liked Tecmo Bowl, too. But then I had to stop playing all video games because I would get too emotionally invested in them and want to jump off a roof if I lost.
Ok, well Darryl is a complete and total dickwad, making fun of Marc to his face, which is pretty much what Marc wanted. That’s how he likes it. If there’s no conflict, it didn’t happen. And Darryl’s friends, especially the black dude wearing the white elf ears, also don’t like Marc. But then Dave, who was patiently waiting in the car, comes in to report that
Bammer Boomer has shit in his cage again. And wouldn’t you know, the nerds love Dave Foley. But that’s ok, because our hero finds redemption in stealing some shit off the shelves of the store as he angrily exits.
Back in the car, Dave finally gets his burrito and is ready to lay down some truth. “Look, Marc, you’re just not for everybody. You just got to accept that. I mean, I’ve spent the whole day with you and it’s been trying.” Regardless, it’s time for Dave to finally do the WTF interview…except, that now, after their adventure, neither comedian is really into it. Marc’s filled with self-doubt and self-loathing and Dave’s filled with beer, beans, cheese and beef. So, fuck it. The interview is postponed. The next time we see Marc, he’s at Hal’s Pet Shop – it’s a real place; I just called it – where he befriends another cat owner who listens to WTF religiously ever since his wife left him—which reminds me:
When we were selling tickets to Scorching the Earth, we always sold a lot of single tickets. You know how when you usually buy tickets for a movie or a live show, you go with someone? Well, back in 2009 – not sure if its changed since then – a lot of single tickets were sold to Maron’s shows. It makes sense. It’s a truly unique experience, one you don’t want or need to necessarily share with a loved one. Or maybe you don’t have loved ones. Or maybe you resent your loved ones. The point is, some of my favorite comedy show experiences happened when I was alone in a comedy club without having to entertain a friend. It’s how real comedy fans go to shows, man.
Back to the garage for the final word from our favorite podcaster: The message, you guys, is that most things you care about don’t work out. But, you need to reconcile why they’re not working out. Is it because of your absurd expectations or because you’re just a dick? Marc’s going to work on figuring it out.
And we’re done. Marc Maron’s television show is officially a thing. I’ll be back next week recapping– maybe, if this is something you guys don’t hate. What did you guys think of the first episode of Maron?