These laughs are guaranteed to be painful.
With each new bit of casting, Joker comes a little bit more into focus. Last week we reported that Martin Scorsese favorite Robert De Niro had joined the standalone DC villain origin movie, adding the twisted and downright depressing flavor of The King of Comedy to the Joaquin Phoenix operation. Now, comes word that a genuine comedian with a heart of coal has come on board.
Variety announced that Marc Maron would populate the comedy scene of 1980s era Gotham City. Warner Bros. is keeping the plot details and the characters surrounding this standalone origin story pretty close to their vest. Beyond the cast, and rumblings of inspiration lifted from the classic Alan Moore and Brian Bolland graphic novel “The Killing Joke,” we currently know almost nothing regarding the narrative.
Maybe that’s enough, though.
Director Todd Phillips is best known for making one helluva mean-spirited comedy trilogy. For every laugh found within the Hangover films, there is an equally awkward or painful recoil to be experienced. Bradley Cooper’s character deserved the punishment he received for being the letch that he is, and for surrounding himself with likeminded gluttonous beasts. As teeth are knocked from skulls and tigers besiege them, half the laughter is the result of justifiable penance.
You need a sick mind to steer a Joker origin, especially one eager to rob from “The Killing Joke” and The King of Comedy. The saga of a wannabe stand-up comic who suffers one too many bad days and shatters into a demonic prankster destined to take on The Batman requires shepherds who have come close to the brink themselves. Phillips gets that, and you’re damn right Marc Maron understands the hell known as The Comedy Store.
Maron made his bones within the LA comedy scene of the ’80s. He first performed on the stage when he was 24 years old, and he quickly found himself under the tutelage of comic madman Sam Kinison. Alcohol and cocaine became the fuel that kept him going. He came close to acquiring a position on Saturday Night Live but crashed and burned as a result of his not-so-subtle addiction. He descended into a nightmare existence that almost consumed him.
So, yeah, if you want a guy on set who understands The Joker’s stand-up comedy collapse into crime, there is no better brain than Maron. Success as a comic was responsible for his fall and rise into sobriety. He was a natural, but only in pushing towards gigs for HBO, Comedy Central Presents, and Cameron Crowe’s Almost Famous forced him to free himself from chemical dependence.
Maron has been sober since 1999, and since then he has become a staple in the scene and a mentor to rising comedians. Now, he’s sitting pretty on Netflix’s GLOW and ready to lend his wisdom to the latest most-anticipated comic book movie. Shave that scruff off his face, slap him with some crusty greasepaint, and let him take a crack at the Joker. Sure, Joaquin Phoenix is gonna slay in the role, but Maron has already lived that life.