Paul Gilmartin and Marc Maron Talk Mental Illness and Comedy
March 7, 2012 Leave a comment
Paul Gilmartin is a stand-up comedian who was, until recently, the host of Dinner and a Movie on TBS. No, I never saw it. Gilmartin only came onto my radar last week as the guest on the WTF podcast with Marc Maron.
Gilmartin’s appearance led me to check out his own podcast, The Mental Illness Happy Hour. It’s quite common in the podcast world for hosts to become guests and guests to become hosts, and Maron was a guest last year when the two comedians discussed the constitution of comedy.
For Gilmartin, comedy is “socially accepted aggression.” This a frequent contention concerning comedy, that it is fueled by anger. I think there’s something to it, much if not most of the time, but am not yet convinced that aggression is always central to all comedy.
I do think that stand-up comedy is different from other forms of comedy with its emphasis on the individual comedian and their personal life. Maron speaks to that when he discusses his particular reasons for taking to the stage.
I think I was just trying to be seen for myself. And I think that’s why I ended up on a stand-up stage. This is me, this is mine. You guys are my parents, let’s try to work through this.
If you went to really delve deep into humor theory, Maron’s conception of the audience as his parent aligns perfectly with John Limon’s book Stand-up Comedy in Theory, or, Abjection in America. And if you think the title is a mouthful, try reading the contents! Limon’s take on stand-up comedy is fascinating, but it’s a very dense psychoanalytic take.
Gilmartin’s podcast, as the title suggests, focuses on issues of mental health. The Mental Illness Happy Hour doesn’t have the range or free-flow of WTF, but what does? If you’re a comedy nerd, you probably haven’t heard Doug Benson go into detail about his life as much as you will on Episode 36. You can check it out here.
SEE ALSO -
Electricity & Lust: Mental Illness Happy Hour
Werner’s World: Werner’s Ear Candy: Mental Illness Happy Hour