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Humour - Released December 14, 2018 | 800 Pound Gorilla Records

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Humour - Released May 2, 2014 | Comedy Central

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Humour - Released August 8, 2011 | Comedy Central

After an "honest" sound check (“Test, test, one, two...I disappointed my parents...two, two...testing...bad career choice...one, two...”) standup comedian Marc Maron knocks them cerebral on This Has to Be Funny, offering up a Spalding Gray joke as if everyone knew the guy. If you do know of the monologist, he’s an easy reference point for Maron’s debut for the Comedy Central label, as it feels entirely less standup than his earlier releases, which he admits “were done at the worst comedy club in the country for half a house!” Since then he’s hosted a radio show on the liberal radio network Air America, and more importantly, he’s created his WTF! podcast, a rich and wonderful experience that caught fire by word of mouth and boosted Maron from “comedian’s comedian” status to Internet star, and arguably podcasting's best face. Here, Maron’s Gray-like monologue -- disguised as a standup set -- deals with his fear of success and the thrill that comes with it, before touching upon all sorts of other neuroses passing through the comedian’s head. A sometimes blissful, sometimes insufferable, domestic life filled with demanding cats and supportive yet destructive girlfriends supplies a wealth of the material, which fans of the podcast will find familiar, although here, the cathartic bitching and one-sided stories are more finely tuned. As far as the laugh count, it’s probably not as high as you expect, but Maron’s craft is now more humorous than straight humor, which, in the end, is a richer experience. If it helps, think of him as the tough-guy version of Spalding or early Woody Allen with some guts, but just know he’s masterful at making what seems like mere babbling turn into something riveting, and that’s not something you encounter often enough. ~ David Jeffries