Jul 2, 2014

Life Lessons from Maron - "Mouth Cancer Gig"

Marc Maron
Welcome to a new recap series on the IFC series Maron in which comedian/podcaster Marc Maron lives life and tries to learn how to be a better person. To pay homage to the series, these recaps will be released on Fridays and chronicle the various life lessons that are presented in the 30 minute format on a weekly basis as well as a meter that determines just how angry our protagonist seems to be. Join us as we tackle the psyche of the popular angry man and pray that he doesn't lose it entirely.

Left to right: Maron and Andy Kindler
Plot: Maron gets scheduled for a gig somewhere only to become paranoid that he might have mouth cancer.

A Line That Sums Up the Episode: "Black is not a great color to have in your mouth."

Left to right: Maron and Brendon Walsh
Guests Review: This isn't necessarily a flashy episode when it comes to guests. There isn't a traditional interview to ground the structure. It is a road episode in which Ralph Garman and Tom Kenny play rowdy DJ's and deliver all of the hilarious incongruous nature of morning radio. There's also an appearance by Tig Notaro, who feels like a relevant cameo simply because her album "Live" is a landmark contemporary narration on having cancer. While it eventually was for naught, it feels like a small nod to the comedian's struggles. However, Brendon Walsh steals the show by being a comic who kind of sucks at his job. He may have not had a lot of material to do, but the entire car ride alone makes his performance one of the more memorable of the episode and will hopefully, like Andy Kindler, will be back around to bother Maron with his problems.

Anger Meter: 8 (out of 10)
For those familiar with WTF with Marc Maron, it is likely already well known his story about the lip sore that he thought was cancer. Most of these stories derive from the podcast, and thus already have a familiarity to long term fans. Even then, seeing just how far he goes to let everyone know how paranoid he is of cancer is really solid. Including the stand-up scene where a set is derailed by his personal confessions, this feels like a passionate episode meant to explore how paranoia sometimes gets the best of everyone. In this case, it is the simple rule that you do not eat licorice before checking what you have in your mouth.

Tig Notaro
Overall Thoughts: Even if the previous episode diving into Marc's family life is likely to be unsurpassed for the season, this episode definitely succeeds in being a weird, pseudo parody of The Shining down to the room 237 reference. It may have dropped several familiar conventions, but it replaced it with Maron's excellent paranoia that seeps into what is usually seen as mundane road work. Even the moments in the hotel room with Murph (Jerry Lambert) are creepy in all of the right ways. The series really has come to understand what it wants and even when the plots have the anticlimactic ending as evident this week, the characters are becoming more interesting and thus strengthening the weaknesses of Maron, which have diminished with each episode. It may not be the greatest, but this Maron has enough weird subtext to make it a keeper.

Rating: 4 out of 5

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