Thursday of the festival kicked off with a mixer, running into some old friends, making a few new ones. Then things kicked things off with Marc Maron’s keynote address. Andy Kindler brought out Maron with his signature neurotic ranting style, he’s been a longtime friend of Marc’s, he was funny, he was honored, and he seemed excited.
Maron’s standing-room only keynote speech started off normal enough, telling a hilariously funny story about how he, Kindler, and Eugene Mirman got lost during an unassuming road trip to Target due to a terrible GPS. He even pulled of pretty great impressions of the two comedians who as he described are “three very different kinds of Jews.” But it wasn’t until Maron’s speech focused on his own life did things get really interesting. Maron went deeply personal during his speech and how comedy nearly killed him and saved him at the same time.
Discussing how he spent a long time “building his clown,” that stalled out until he found something unique in comedy with his WTF? Podcast. He stated that doing the podcast and talking to other comedians on the show literally saved his life. Maron overcame his demons to get where he has and he assured us that he’s happy to find his little plot (or in his case, garage) in the comedy world. Maron gave pause at one point to hold back tears as his keynote went in a powerful direction we’re not entirely sure anyone was expecting.
Here’s a clip of Maron’s tribute to the comedians, shot by Cringe Humor.
UPDATE: Maron has since posted the entire keynote on his website.
After the keynote it was panel time! Not to bore you with a ton of details but it included [adult swim] panel for Childrens Hospital and and NTSF:SD:SUV with actors and the creative staff including Rob Corddry getting in some great jabs across the panel. After that was the “Podfathers” panel that was a round table with Greg Proops, Marc Maron, Paul F. Thompkins, Chris Hardwick, and Scott Mosier discussing the joys they get from podcasting, how to monetize it, and the freedoms that come with it.
After getting our learn on at the panels it was time for Variety’s party honoring their annual “10 Comics To Watch“. It was loaded with people, free drinks and plenty, of people to meet and talk to. And as the day programming ended, it was time for the night programming to kick off, and who better to do that with than some Weird Al?
“The Amp’d Showcase” was hosted by Weird Al as he performed a few songs and welcomed fellow musical comedians Bo Burnham, Garfunkel And Oates, Tim Minchin, Reggie Watts, and Tom Green who after 20 years reunited his rap band Organized Rhyme.
Then at the terrifically seedy “fetish bar” across the street Cafe Cleopatra was the scene where “Cheat Live” kicked off. Joe DeRosa, Robert Kelly, and Bill Burr made a short film about the subject and what better place to so some comedy about relationships than a strip club? It all works out perfectly. DeRosa warmed the crowd up before Kelly came out and delivered some new material about married life, but it was Bill Burr that closed the night with just some absolute killer material and jags about gold diggers and probably the most succinct summation of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s woes we’ve ever heard.
The last show of the night was down the street to catch John Mulaney. Amy Schumer opened up for Mulaney, a welcome addition that I wasn’t aware of but definitely wasn’t upset about. Then it was time for Mulaney to work out some of his adult issues and the SNL writer didn’t disappoint with some hilarious material about growing up as a different ethnicity and the meanness of 13 year old kids.
Next up tomorrow it’s time for the awards, a conversation with Louis C.K., and state of the industry address by Andy Kindler.