Marc Maron & Kirk Fox

Note: This review is from 2007

Review by Steve Bennett

When you see two comics sharing a Fringe show, the reasonable conclusion is that these are a pair of up-and-coming acts, eager to develop but not yet with enough material or confidence to sustain a full 60 minutes.

That may well be the case for the unexciting journeyman Kirk Fox; but it completely undersells Marc Maron, an experienced, accomplished US act with something to say, and an enticing way of saying it. He really ought to have the kudos of his own Fringe show, rather than losing 20 minutes of his set to a less skilful colleague.

The disappointingly small audience did neither of them any favours, but it was the unenergetic LA-based Fox who suffered most. The fact his subject matter was mostly familiar didn’t help things, telling us about that time he got high from a pot cake, or how pathetic bird flu sounds (imagine a pigeon with a cold!), or some nonsense about evil dolphins…

There are a few good jokes in all of this, but not nearly enough. Plus he did one of the laziest things any visiting comedian could do, launching into a bit about his FICO score being 100, he asked: ‘I don’t know if they have it here, FICO?’ but did it anyway. Here’s an idea: why not show some respect that the whole world isn’t American and check before you go on stage? For the record, FICO is a credit rating and 100 isn’t good, as he eventually explained; though I like to think of it as a Federal Index of Comic Originality – and 100 still isn’t good.

Maron’s a world apart from this: an irascible comic with lashings of bitterness on top of his Jewish insecurities. He’s 43 and understandably grumpy about how his life’s gone to rack and ruin. His wife left him, and where he once partied with an Everest of cocaine, now he lives for the sugar rush of a decent ice cream.

He’s perpetually depressed, but believes that should be everyone’s default state in this screwed-up world. ‘If you had one good parent or any self-esteem, this is not the show for you,’ he explains, long after we’d worked that one out for ourselves.

Thankfully for the audience, though, he’s channelled all his misanthropy, misery, and crushed dreams into some seriously good comedy, honed over more than a decade on the US circuit. His set ranges from the way his parents screwed him up from a very early age to why his wife shouldn’t have a gun.

He, too, was understandably distracted by the size of the audience, and didn’t seem to be firing on all cylinders. But even at reduced throttle, the content and attitude is appealing. He certainly deserves greater audiences – and much better billing.

Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

Review date: 1 Jan 2007
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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