MONTREAL – “Yes, there are problems.”
The cold opening to Marc Maron’s intimate Place des Arts show drew huge laughs. The line was unexpected, yet not – after all, Maron traffics in problems, to heartwarming and introspective effect. And indeed, we really couldn’t conceive of a more appropriate sendoff to our week in Just For Laughs-land than an evening spent in the company of Maron and his character-defining problems.
Spending much of the set perched on a stool, Maron’s hour-long performance cascaded through a series of hilarious events. Much like the self-professed “river of rage” constantly running through him (“Fuck! Fuck! Fuck!” he punctuated while miming paddling a kayak), Maron’s particular strengths as a comedian pertain directly to his ability to go with the flow of a show’s natural rhythms. Several audience members shouted non-threatening responders to a few of Maron’s interludes, which the nimble-minded comic easily incorporated directly into his act. One particularly memorable moment occurred when an audience member with a boisterous laugh continued filling the room with guffaws long after all other laughter died down. “I can’t imagine what your neighbors must think,” Maron said to the man’s significant other, with a knowing wink.
Beyond engaging with the audience, Maron came prepared with a quiverful of arrow-sharp material – some new and relatively untried, some classic Marc. From compulsive ice cream eating to the ups and downs of Skype sex, nobody can work a room to full neurotic perfection quite like Marc Maron. French or English, anger is a language everyone can speak, and Maron’s fluency in the universal stuff of human vulnerableness is exactly the kind of memories we’re excited to leave Montreal this year with. Au revoir, Monsieur Maron, and you, fair heart of Quebec. We laughed until we cried, and we wouldn’t have it any other way.