This upset Maron who responded on his show:
I'm relatively pleasant to Zach. I don't mind what he does. If you need to play piano to amplify the fact that your jokes are simplistic and not that funny. If you need to act all weird and crazy to garner attention and make a lot of money and that's a sacrifice you're willing to make, I think that's fine.
But this kinda shit. Why's he got to take shots at me for? I ain't bothering him. I accept him. I accept that he's a little bearded clown that needs props to be funny and I don't criticize him for that...
He's pretty huge. He's a big college act. The kids like his fraudulent insanity. "I'm so weird and off. I'm the little odd man that's cool because I have a beard."
Video below (starts 1:00 in):
My fave parts of this: 1) Maron's claim: "I don't criticize him for that." Yeah, good thing there was nothing critical said! 2) The constant references to "Fuji Water." Makes me think of Mr. Fuji...who actually would make a great bottled water mascot.
Wouldn't you buy water from this guy?
Anyway, before we get our ruffles in a lather, it's apparently a non-feud. A commenter at Best Show Ever host Tom Scharpling's site reports:
Maron said on his show today, that he spoke to Zach, and that they pretty much smoothed things out. Maron admitting it was a misunderstanding. He said that Zach was a really sweet guy.
Phew, crisis averted! Take down that steel cage you were building.
If there's anything of substance to discuss here, it's the idea that a comic who "acts all weird and crazy to garner attention" is doing something wrong. I don't buy that. Sure, some random manic guy covering up the fact that his material sucks is annoying. But that's not Zach, whose stuff shifts from really silly to really cerebral. Just because you're working low doesn't mean you're not working high too. Look at Steve Martin.
In fact, I think Zach pretty much nailed it in his sendup of comedy snobs who look down on physical comedy:
Maron also seems to imply that any comic who uses a prop needs it as a crutch. Now sure, everyone loves to rip on prop comics like Carrot Top for being unfunny. And that's probably fair. But I think people like Zach, Demetri Martin, and Eugene Mirman all use "foreign objects" [I can't stop with the wrestling references!] to fun effect in their acts. Part of what gives those guys a unique voice in the sea of soundalike standups out there.
On the pro-prop tip, here's a video of David Cross using a newspaper and a poster at the end of a set:
Labels: about standup
Permalink | 1/05/2009