8B - The Michigan Daily - Wetea, 4e. - Thursday, February 1, 1996
Maron caught between rock'n'roll and an old place
By Ted Watts
Daily Fine Arts Editor
"It's time to become perverse. It's
time for white people to start talking
about fucking again.".
So says comedian Marc Maron. The
former host of the now-cancelled
Short Attention Span Theater, Maron,
also featured in his own HBO special
last fall, is coming to Ann Arbor to
serve up some scrumdidliumptious
And will the white people Maron
talks about want to hear the comedian
discussing the aforementioned sub-
"If the crowd is all loosened up and
they wanna talk about fucking, I'll
talk about it (chuckle) ... I can use
fucking in an encouraging way or in a
hostile way. So, if they don't like me,
I can talk about fucking angrily, but if
they do like me, we can all embrace
"It works either way but I don't rely
on it as much as I used to," he contin-
ued. "I have enough material that I
don't need to talk about it. It depends
how I feel, where the set is leading
me. I try to experiment as much as
Where: Mainstreet s
When: Tonight, Fri. and Sat.
Tickets: $12, $6 students Thurs.
Call 996-9080 for showtimes.
possible. Take the people on a little
Maron's own little stroll through
this world has taken him through
plenty of cities in the past. That's
what happens when you're a travel-
ing entertainer. His itinerary has even
brought him to Ann Arbor.
"Last time I was there I had a real
good time," he said. "School wasn't
even in last time I was there. It was
towards the end of the summer, but I
still thought it was a good city.
"Lot of good stores, lot of good res-
taurants. I remember hanging around
with a bunch of kids who had nothing to
do. Smoking cigarettes out in front of
that deli place that's open real late.
They were making the rounds, but I sort
of stayed in one place. I didn't want to
go to the pinball place."
Maron knows the slacker high
school punks. He knows the city. He's
virtually one of our classmates.
Perhaps more important to his busi-
ness here, Maron also likes the
Mainstreet performance space. "That
room is real good. It's a good place to
see comedy. It's like a great old com-
edy room in the sense that it's in a
basement and the ceilings are so ...
You can find a transcendental joy in
the man's inability to express what
the ceilings do for him. Imagine what
he can do underneath them.
Maron finds himself caught be-
tween generations - he's not a baby
boomer, but he's not a Generation X-
tra, either. His comedy is slightly dark,
and that's good. What all this is lead-
ing to is that he has found himself
attached to something dubbed "alter-
"The alternative comedy idea is some-
thing some people started in Los Ange-
les, some friends of mine, Janeane
Garofalo and Dana Gould. Basically,
it's just trying to find audiences that are
more like us. The regular comedy audi-
ence is, by and large, a lot of working
people. None of the kids are coming
out, none of the hipstrers are coming
out, cuz it'sjust not that. 'There's noth-
ing hip about comedy.' Very few people
go to comedy clubs between the ages of
25 and 35. Not what you'd call sophis-
ticated or current. It's not their trip,"
"So we started to create different
venues to get these people out, people
more like ourselves," the comedian
"We did stretch the comedy a little
bit, not having to pander to people
who didn't know where the hell we
were coming from."
The comedian does have an inkling
of why alternative comedy became
needed, however. "I don't know why
people started leaving comedy clubs,
but I have a pretty good idea. Comedy
started to suck."
That statement might strike a nerve
in a few comedians working during
the past several years. But a hard truth
is always better than a soft lie.
This general attitude can be found in
Maron's act. "I don't know if I'm bitter
so much as I am cynical," the comedian
said. "People seem to confuse the two,
especially in show business. I was talk-
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Comedian Marc Maron arrives at the Mainsteet Comedy Showcase this weeken
ing to my friend the other night, about if
you are a critic of contemporary media
culture, people will call you bitter if
you are in that business."
But it would be an unfair accusa-
tion against Marc Maron. He may
even have a show in development
soon. "The idea I have is 'The Late,
Late Morning Show.' It's for people
who get up around noon. It's a show
about doing nothing and shirking your
Sounds like a college audiencetome.
Ifyou know what's good for you, you'll
see Marc Maron while you have a
chance. And if you don't know what's
good for you, listen to someone who
does and let them convince you to go.
Candidate Forbes leaves paper trail to presidency
The Washington Post
The big news for magazine addicts is
that oneoftheirown, aprofessional maga-
zine man, is running for president. Imag-
ine: a fixture of the glossy pages as the
great and powerful editor ofnational life.
Since the early 1970s, Steve Forbes has
been not only a manager of the family
biweekly, but also a regular columnist.
Thus, we have an unusually extensive
written record of his views on foreign
affairs, fiscal policy, health care and fab
Manhattan restaurants. Last year he ad-
vised anyone dining at Bolo on East 22nd
Street to "try gazpacho with large shrimp,
and the soft-shell crab with pappardelle."
We're talking hundreds of columns
in the Steve Forbes archive, perhaps the
only record of this sort that we've had
on any presidential candidate, ever. Last
week, Los Angeles Times writer Ronald
Brownstein analyzed Forbes' writings
based on a review of 563 columns dat-
ing back to 1975. Palpably yearning for
a gotcha, Brownstein wrote that "in a
handful of instances" the columns show
IThe Magazine Column
Forbes "reversing long-held positions
to align himself with prevailing atti-
tudes in the GOP."
Despite the foreboding tone, the re-
view didn't turn up much newsworthy
stuff, policy-wise. "Mostly, however,"
Brownstein wrote, "the columns dis-
play a consistent, coherent and staunchly
ideological way oflooking at the world."
Supply-side rhapsodist, admirer of
Reagan, vaguely libertarian, etc.
But a column that's been running that
long can't help but tell us a lot about
what's in the writer's head and heart. Just
looking at Forbes, one can see he is no
self-contradicting vessel of complexity,
no gonzo man of appetites. His wildman
father, the late Malcolm, was more of that
species. During the long period when
they were writing side-by-side columns,
they presented a total reversal of the clas-
sic magnate-scion dichotomy. Dad was a
rakish voluptuary, while Junior was all
prudence and restraint, his passions strictly
above the neck.
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In the Feb. 5, 1990, issue, for in-
stance, Pops turns in a libidinous recol-
lection ofa favorite World War II movie
star: "Marlene Dietrich was our sultri-
est, stunningly legged, husky-come-
hither-voiced, sexiest goddess. ... Mil-
lions of us fantasized, her German
In the same column he not only praises
"Rolling Stone magazine's brilliant cre-
ator, Jann Wenner," but also notes:
"Wasn't it cool the way
'Columbia'snagged our 1l-ton, near-6-
year-old science satellite that was losing
altitude and heading for a likely bum-up
.?" And cool old Malcolm offers this
joyfullittle apothegm: "When dreams are
more real than reality, you're alive."
"How to Get the Dow to 37,000" is
the headline of Steve Forbes' column in
the same issue. And below that, this
piquant item: "Poland Needs Incen-
tives, Not Austerity." Where Malcolm
penned his restaurant tips in the first
person, Steve's are attributed to "the
distilled wisdom of brothers Bob, Kip
and Tim" Forbes, as well as othr Frbes
staffers. No time to eat out wh o're
boning up on Polish econ!
But since taking over his father's edi-
tor-in-chief column, Steve has cultivated
a few of his own passions. Last April,just
before plugging that crab dish, he re-
vealed a certain yearning for his own
Dietrich equivalent: "We can't wait until
Maureen Dowd begins her twice-weekly
column on the New York Times Op-Ed
page this summer," he wrote, referring to
the cunning columnist as the "decidedly
undowdy Dowd." The same month .k
proposed the"dazzling Pamela Haim
as a "natural" for secretary of state. Cold
shower time, Steve-oh!
Still, the most revealing peek into the
candidate's hot core has to be these
lines from his review last June ofabook
by Steve Neal called "Dark Horse: A
Biography of Wendell Wilikie": "Fas-
cinating story of one of the most im-
probable figures in American presiden-
tial history. Wendell Willkienwas
electric utility CEO at a time when t
industry was in ill repute, a Democrat
who didn't become a Republican until
he decided to seek the GOP presidential
nod, and an advocate of an activist
foreign policy when most Americans
were isolationists. He had no political
base. He was distrusted by party regu-
lars, and he entered no primaries. Yet,
with support of a handful of publishers
and the fervent backing of hundreds
thousands ofamateurs, Wilikie wont
nomination in one of the liveliest, most
raucous conventions ever."
Just two months after writing those
words, Steve Forbes announced his in-
tention to run for president.
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