The road to HBO’s Marc Maron: From Bleak to Dark began during the pandemic, when the comedian began to share his grief with fans via instagram. The longtime comedian and podcaster was broadsided with the sudden death of his girlfriend, Lynn Shelton, and he needed a place to vent.
“It was a way to stay in touch with some sort of audience or community,” Maron recalled during Saturday’s Contenders TV event. “One hundred to 1,000 would watch every day as I moved through breakfast and grief. It was crazy.”
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Eventually, Maron developed two years of material that addressed aging, antisemitism and, most important, grief. “It’s not talked about enough,” he said of grief, which he began to talk about in small venues. “Everybody is going to experience it at some point. Grief is always going to be there.”
And now, Maron calls From Bleak to Dark — his first HBO comedy special, which was filmed in front of a live audience at New York City’s Town Hall — his best work ever.
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“It’s really tricky to make that stuff work,” Maron said. “It’s the most full piece of work I’ve ever done and the most grounded. Despite the topic matter, it’s the funniest I’ve ever been.”
That’s not to say he didn’t have moments when talking about his late girlfriend was extremely difficult. The writer/director died in 2020.
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“I’m talking about losing someone. It wasn’t funny,” Maron recalled when he was first workshopping parts of the special in smaller venues. “It became a support group situation. I would get choked up. How do you balance a joke about visiting her body the night she passed? When working on some of this stuff, it was still very emotional. I had to find that balance.”
“I’m not an arena act,” Maron said. “There’s no way I’ll be that guy. I’m not even sure I got into it to be an entertainer. I [use it] to get to your own personal truth. It was about being seen and making people think about things even differently. It’s a noble profession.”
Check back Tuesday for panel video.
Deadline Contenders Television is sponsored by Apple TV+, Coverfly, Eyepetizer, Final Draft, Los Siete Misterios, Michter’s, and Village Roadshow Entertainment. Partners include: Four Seasons Resort Maui, The American Pavilion, Julia Wong Designs and Pampring.
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