Finishing Second in A Comedy Competition Fueled Marc Maron’s Career

Finishing Second in A Comedy Competition Fueled Marc Maron’s Career

Comedy legend Marc Maron says that his stand-up career only took off after a second-place finish in a Boston-area competition. By that metric, the Buffalo Bills should all have a killer tight five by now.

The New Jersey native and Boston University alumnus is no stranger to the New England comedy scene. As a 60-year-old veteran of the East Coast club circuit, Maron has plenty of colorful memories, both negative and slightly less negative, about his rise in the alt-comedy scene of the early 1990s that included stops across Massachusetts and Maine. “It was so developmental for me, performing for every type of New England audience,” Maron explained during a recent interview with Boston Public Radio, during which he detailed an experience with a different regional radio station that jump-started his stand-up career.

In 1988, Maron participated in WBCN’s Comedy Riot competition in Boston, leaving the contest with a metaphorical silver medal and a newfound belief in the possibility of a comedy career. Maron told Boston Public Radio, “When I came in second to Sue McGinnis in the riot, that’s when I started working.” In case Maron still needs reassurance that he made the right choices with his life, a cursory Google search reveals that Sue McGinnis never interviewed a sitting president

“I spent a lot of formative, traumatic time there doing one-nighters all over the New England area,” Maron explained of his affinity for the northeast ahead of his set at Medford’s Chevalier Theatre. Maron recalled how his early gigs in the area included being an opener for a dirty hypnotist and testing his now-famous “aggravated, neurotic” stage persona on Massholes and Mainers across the region. Maron told how, “Coming back to this part of the world always feels very familiar — and a little bit like returning to where the trauma happened.” Despite his characteristic fixation on the more fraught parts of his personal history, Maron insisted, “But I still love it.”

As a graduate of both Boston University and the Boston comedy scene, Maron has had plenty of experience with the particular personalities of Beantown and its surrounding areas, and, for better or for worse, he agrees with the comedic consensus on the Commonwealth. “One of the greatest sort of depictions of my experience in my idea of what New England is that Dunkin Donuts commercial that SNL did,” Maron explained.

Given how Marons self-professed stand-up origin story goes, its no surprise that he connected to Casey Affleck — they both have plenty of experience being second-best in Boston.


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