Marc Maron explains why he likes Andrew Dice Clay

Marc Maron was on the "Keith and the Girl" podcast and it's a really interesting interview [thanks for recommending, Myq]. At one point, Maron talks about why he's come to like Andrew Dice Clay:

Most of my life I've watched comedy. I've lived in comedy places. And it's gotten to the point where if I close my eyes, I can't tell the fucking difference between comics. They don't have a point of view. They don't take any chances. Most of it is just clever, detached, smug humor.

All of them are doing a version of Attell or Hedberg and a Todd Barry here or there. But their delivery system is half-hijacked from somebody else...I can't tell where they're coming from. I don't know who the hell they are.

And then Dice shows up just to do a drop in set and gets up onstage, and within five minutes I was so happy to be in the hands of a professional. A guy with real gravitas, a guy who has a point of view. Despite whatever you have to say about that guy, he INVENTED that guy. No one else did that guy.

He is definitely an American original...He's got a very specific point of view and it's not necessarily mysoginistic, it's not wrong, it's almost poetic. He has an original way of seeing the world. And it was a pleasure to watch him for 40 minutes.

Maron's not the type of comic you expect to hear sticking up for Dice so I thought it was really interesting. Def makes me feel I should think harder about what I'm inventing onstage vs. the things I'm saying that could also come out of another comic's mouth.

Some other Maron Stuff: The Comic's Comic posted a video of a great set he did at UCB LA about a month ago. Also, you know how comedian bios always suck? I think the one at Maron's site is prob the best/most honest one I've read.


myq said...

You're welcome.

KATG is a great podcast, and Maron is a great everything, so everyone should listen.

Regarding this statement:
"Def makes me feel I should think harder about what I'm inventing onstage vs. the things I'm saying that could also come out of another comic's mouth."
Isn't that what came out of another comic's mouth?

J/S. (A cross between "just kidding" and "serious.")

Sincerely, Maron is an inspiration on that and many other levels... He is so much himself, almost to a fault. (Maybe completely to a fault, and beyond.) And the self that he is, is so funny and honest and aware and poignant. Even just reading the quotes that flash across the top of his website, words on a screen that jump out in his voice even though he's not physically using it.

(That paragraph is also stuff that could have come out of another comic's mouth. Or fingers, typing-wise.)

So, in conclusion, enjoy Keith and the Girl, Maron, and Andrew Dice Clay, and invent your own original character. (Mine is the one that's telling everyone what to do.)

Matt Ruby said...

"Isn't that what came out of another comic's mouth?"
Ah Myq, it's adorable how you're always trying to tweak me! It did come out of his mouth but it's also come out of my mouth, well, hands, here at this blog before. And I've quoted others (Larry David, Seth Godin, etc.) giving similar advice too. Advice to "be yourself" or "be an original" isn't being invented by any of us. But it can still be a healthy reminder when you hear it from someone like Maron. And that's what I meant. But you knew that already, now didn't ya?

myq said...

Adorable tweaker is the original character I have created for myself. (Or perhaps that the universe created for me, maybe it wasn't me at all... See? I even tweak MYSELF adorably.)

On this topic, seriously though...
It is often said that comedians should strive to be as original as possible, persona-wise, such that one's jokes become essentially un-stealable, because to do so would involve taking on the creator's very essence, which would either be much more noticeable, nonsensical, or otherwise impossible.

Sincerely though, there definitely are good jokes that great comedians have written that could easily be told by other great comedians. It's especially easy to see with folks like Steven Wright, Hedberg, Demetri Martin, Nick Thune, quirky one-liner types who can certainly have very different characters but occasionally deliver similar content.
Additionally, even among more personal story-telling types, some overlap can occur. (In longer bits that go different places before and after, by Maria Bamford and Mike Birbiglia, both end up answering the question "what's your biggest fear" with "bears."

I know Mike Birbiglia has said that he actually prefers not to listen to many other comics, and to just write from his personal experience, his self, in order to make sure his comedy comes out of exactly who he is, without any outside influence. And he is very successful and talented, but I just wanted to note that even with those goals, aspirations, and hard work, one can still end up saying something that another comic might say (or actually DOES say).

Which is to say (whether or not anyone else has said it), I don't think people need to think specifically, "COULD this joke/thought/idea be presented by another comedians?" and if the answer is yes, then throw it away...
(Not that anyone is necessarily advocating that. And I don't specifically want to discourage people from being as unique and original as possible in their personas or material. I guess I just wanted to be discouraging on this issue of practicality. Perhaps because no one else was saying it. I'm original!)

PS I do think it's worthwhile to ask oneself "How likely is it for another comedian to THINK of this thing?" as opposed to "Would this thing make sense coming out of someone's mouth that's not mine?"

Point is, Marc Maron is great.

Abbi Crutchfield said...

Maron sounds like he was praising craft along with innovation. "...in the hands of a professional" suggests what he enjoyed about the set was Dice's professionalism and the thought and care with which he performed his art.

With not being able to tell "them" apart, was Maron referring to professional comedians that are also 20 year veterans, or just 20-something people still finding their voices? You can't expect much from the latter.

Being funny trumps being unique. Unique makes it to TV, but funny rules the moment, live on stage, in all situations. I guess that's why Matt wants us to be uniquely funny. By the way are there any comedians of our generation NOT trying to be TV stars?

Chang-chang, changity-chang she-bop; I always thought Dice was a rip-off of Grease characters. OH!

Abbi Crutchfield said...

I didn't really always think that Dice was a rip-off of Grease characters. I just thought of it now.

I don't want to rob an artist of the validity of his ideas. I just want to poke fun at Dice. I was raised that way.

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