Marc Maron Finds Strength in Comedy Right After 9/11 in The Voice of Something

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This month marks the 10th anniversary of 9/11 and the release of The Voice of Something, writer and director Jodi Lennon’s 18-minute look into Marc Maron’s experience just four days following the attacks in 2001. Shot from his then-home in Astoria, Queens and on to The Comedy Cellar in Manhattan, the film gives a raw glimpse into Maron’s ability to find strength and some solace in comedy during a time when many of us were not ready to laugh.

Maron tells me by phone, “Obviously we were all horribly angry and upset and devastated. We were victimized in the eyes of the rest of the country and New York was such a strong, defined place and I sort of had an issue with this. If you were there on 9/11 that’s the way people approached you, as if you’d been victimized, and that really annoyed me. They [the audience] didn’t even have access to the part of them that could laugh but yet they wanted relief so they were at a comedy club.”

Lennon, a veteran of Chicago’s Second City, is showcasing the film at theaters around the county this month and will continue to showcase it at festivals later this year. We spoke by phone before the premiere of the film last week at Upright Citizens Brigade, when she also teaches.

“The day was extreme and Marc is a dynamic personality and the combination is something worth taking a look at. Obviously, it’s a glimpse of his process on such an extreme day. Marc was very sensitive and he definitely took a lot of time articulating what he was thinking to be sensitive to the subject.”

Marc Maron told me that “you really saw who people were — do we start rounding up Muslims or do we ask questions? There were definitely two camps. The asking questions camp was definitely the smaller camp and less vocal and if I didn’t speak up…well, it was rough going for awhile.”

The film shows Maron trying out new material mere days after the attacks, when people were sensitive, to say the least. “The only joke that I really did was about Osama working at the deli down the street from me in Queens. I said because of this we are going to be living in a police state for the next ten years. I was very connected to New York and felt a great deal of sadness and pain and I wanted to help. I am who I am so I was initially coming from a place — I was trying to be diplomatic but there was still this element of fighting an overreaction.”

If you want to catch The Voice of Something, here’s a list of upcoming screenings:

9/27/11 8pm @ The P.I.T. NY

10/04/11 7:30pm @ UCBLA

11/08/11 7pm @ The Annoyance Theatre CHGO

11/09/11 7pm @ The Annoyance Theatre CHGO

Jessica Pilot is a freelance writer based in NYC. Her work has been featured in Vanity Fair, New York Magazine, and Penthouse, among others.