Scorching the Earth

Time Out Ratings :

<strong>Rating: </strong>4/5

Marc Maron knows the score. For instance, as he said onstage, he finds it fitting to perform his current show, Scorching the Earth, in a basement venue while the “doughy and successful” Mike Birbiglia regaled a far larger crowd on the main stage upstairs. It did seem appropriate that we were all consigned to the depths; Maron's show, a monologue riddled with manic digressions, chronicles his lifelong attempts to exorcise the befanged love demons that persist in pulling him down nonetheless.

This tale of woe begins with him wandering New York in the '80s, dusted with misfired cocaine. He speaks openly about his era of “casual” drug use: He “only” used Thursday, Friday and Saturday—but later realized that normal people don't do cocaine at all. (He's been clean for nearly a decade.) Many of Maron's observations about life are like this. He's self-destructive because he doesn't know any better (he has issues with his parents, obviously). After cheating on his first wife with the woman who would become his second, Maron moved West, bought a home and achieved some level of normalcy. But obviously, that was just demons lulling him into a false sense of security. When the rug is pulled out again, shit really hits the fan.

What makes the show captivating is that, even as he performs it, Maron is still stuck in his personal hell. There are even times in the show that totally lack hindsight or perspective—they are the strongest parts. The audience watches him continue to grapple with the tragedies he mocks. He reads depressingly hilarious (and fairly recent) correspondence between himself and his now ex--second wife, which come straight out of the divorce proceedings. Watching a masochist rake himself over the coals isn't for everyone, but the show is refreshing in its candor, and relatable to anyone who's ever been on the wrong side of love.—Drew Toal

Scorching the Earth plays Sundays in March at the Green Room.

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