The critical success of IFC’s Comedy Bang! Bang! proves that podcasts can be successfully adapted to television, and it’s been only a matter of time before Marc Maron’s rampant success with his bi-weekly podcast WTF with Marc Maron bled over into other forms of media.
Maron, a half-hour, semi-autobiographical, scripted comedy about Maron’s attempt to salvage the fraying ends of his personal life while interviewing various celebrities and comedians in his garage, will premiere on May 3rd, adding to what is already a growing lineup of interesting comedy series on IFC (Comedy Bang! Bang!; Portlandia).
It’s not hard to see comparisons between Maron and FX’s Louie. After all, they are both semi-autobiographical shows focusing on over-the-hill comedians who are recovering from divorce and a general dissatisfaction with human existence, but to me, the similarities seem to end there. If Louie portrays a depressed view of day to day human life, Maron seems to hail from more manic shores. When faced with conflict and absurdity, Louie tends towards baffled resignation. Judging from Maron’s podcast and his overall personality and desire to seek out answers (a natural born interviewer if ever there was one), Maron’s tone seems to be more confrontational, more off-the-rails than the quiet suffering of Louie C.K’s character.
The biggest question regarding Maron seems to be whether Maron’s charm will translate to sitcom format. The podcast features mostly off-the-cuff dialogue (both by Maron and his various guests) which helps give the show its confessional-like gravitas and humor. Will the writers and production team behind Maron be able to utilize Maron’s personality in a scripted format? Who knows, but regardless, it looks like Maron will be bringing along his legendary ability to catch big name guests. Bobcat Goldthwait, Denis Leary, Aubrey Plaza, Adam Scott, and Danny Trejo, to name a few, are already on the list of guest stars for the first season. If the show ends up being anything like WTF, IFC may have another superb comedy on their hands.