Marc Maron is in the midst of a wave of success. On the heels of the popularity of his WTF podcast he has earned a deal to broadcast several episodes of the podcast on NPR and has scripted a pilot for development. Those familiar with Maron’s comedy know that the majority of his subject matter hinges on his psychological unease and things that do not go well in his life, leaving listeners to wonder what a new album could comprise if positive things are happening for Maron. That question is addressed in the intro, with Maron assuring his crowd that he is not happy or well and that he cannot handle the things that are going well. With that statement, any worries subsided and the album impressed with the way that Maron continues to explore the emotions that inform his daily life and the places his experiences went.
Early on, Marc Maron explores the relationship he has with his notebooks and why he doesn’t use Moleskines, his conversations he has with himself and his cats and the way his mother explained why she raised him the way she did – all with the emotional exploration that permeate every story he tells. These lead to the beautiful three-part centerpiece of the album of “Texting While Driving,” “The Creation Museum” and “A Situation In My Head.” These three stories work well to define the way that Maron seeks to empathize with every one of his listeners and find the shared emotional experience that keeps him from truly feeling alone. From there, the jokes are more riotous and not always as grand in exploration, but they’re involving from an emotional standpoint that differentiates Marc Maron from so many other comics.
Maron sounds like he is doing better on “This Has to Be Funny.” He is not nearly as dark as he was on his previous album, “Final Engagement,” and it lends itself better to repeated listens. Just like on his WTF podcast, the best moments are shared moments of emotional catharsis that ask to be listened to again as a way to feel like a part of something more than the darker inclinations that the mind tends to explore. Marc Maron has been fighting his personal demons for many years and it is finally sounding like he is happy and doing well compared with where he could have been. It has allowed him to create my favorite comedy album of the year without it feeling as though the listener has gone through the emotional ringer with him as his work has done in the past. “This Has To Be Funny” is an album bursting with emotion and laughter at the same time, the components of the best times in life and as a listener it is great to share in a positive time with Marc Maron.