Arts & Culture » Small Screen

Marc Maron laughs to keep from crying

The comic and podcaster stars as himself in Maron, a new IFC sitcom about his less-than-sunny outlook on life.

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Less flippant than Curb Your Enthusiasm and more derisive than Louie, Maron is the latest self-referential sitcom based on the life of a stand-up comedian. It stars Marc Maron, the acerbic 49-year-old comic whose podcast, WTF With Marc Maron, is easily one of the best and most compulsively listenable shows on the Web. A couple times each week, Maron sits down with a fellow entertainer and talks shop. The resulting conversations are consistently candid, invigorating, and hilarious.

Though hardly a household name, Maron is one America's most prolific comedians, having spent more than 20 years as a comic's comic. His brash persona kept him from penetrating the mainstream, but the Internet has provided Maron with a venue for his distinct brand of disparaging—but stimulating—comedy. Maron pulls from its star's experiences as one of the premier podcasters in the business. Those familiar with WTF know it operates as half interview show, half personal therapy session. Being able to endure Maron's almost incessant cynicism is the general litmus test for stomaching his comedy.

At the top of each episode of WTF, Maron opens with a monologue of sorts, riffing on his day-to-day, a mixture of narcissistic rambling and naked self-analysis. The plot of Maron's first episode, "Internet Troll," feels like an extension of one of these monologues—partly because it was inspired by real-life events, but also because Maron, like his peers Larry David and Louis C.K., has attained the highest comedic standard possible: he's mastered his own voice.

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