Editor’s Note: This is part two of a series of five articles exploring the rise of radical honesty in comedy, film and TV. In partnership with IFC and its new original comedy MARON, Indiewire has put together a list of our 25 favorite oversharers working today. MARON starts Friday, May 3rd 10/9c on IFC.
Marc Maron has made oversharing into an art form. The comedian, whose stand-up career has been punctuated with stints hosting Air America shows and “Short Attention Span Theater,” found an ideal online platform in podcasting. His semiweekly “WTF with Marc Maron” begins with Maron opening up about his life in intense, neurotic and often very funny detail, discussing his professional insecurities, his relationship, his pets, his past addictions and more. There’s a vulnerability to these confessions that fuels the in-depth, candid interviews that follow, conversations with the likes of Sarah Silverman, Louis C.K., Dave Foley, Mel Brooks and more. Inspired by Maron’s new IFC comedy based on his own life, Indiewire is offering up our favorite other oversharers currently working in film, in comedy and in TV, a list we’ve been rolling out over the week. [#21 through 25] [#11 through 15] [#6 through 10] [#1 through 5]
20. Kevin Hart
Kevin Hart’s rise to success as a stand-up comic and actor was fairly — but not completely — typical. He mines his personal life for comedy material, though no more than many of his colleagues. But with his latest venture “Real Husbands of Hollywood,” Hart really hit on something. Part reality show spoof, part meta-reality show, “Real Husbands” features Hart, who co-created the series, lampooning an inept showbiz social climber named, yes, Kevin Hart, who along with co-stars Nick Cannon, Boris Kodjoe, Duane Martin, J. B. Smoove and Robin Thicke sends up programs like the “Real Housewives” franchise pretty brilliantly. Its ambitions are deceptively modest, with touches like inverting racial tokenism (Robin Thicke is the one white Real Husband) seemingly only because it’s on BET, but it’s really quite a show. In particular, the question of oversharing delves deeply into meta territory, as on “Real Husbands,” Hart both reveals himself and doesn’t, in a very of-this-pop-cultural-moment way, forcing his audience to question what’s real and what is not. Unless we’re too busy laughing. –Danny Bowes
Ah, where to start with Tarantino? You may love his films (like this writer); you may hate them, but there’s no denying the motor-mouthed human library of all things cinematic certainly puts himself (literally and metaphorically) into his work. When Vincent Vega in “Pulp Fiction” talks about his experiences in Amsterdam, that’s from the life of Tarantino, who traveled there after the success of “Reservoir Dogs” to write his next film. The thing most of us associate with the recent Oscar winner is his slavish devotion to other films, distilling his favorite moments and genres from the past and reinventing them in his own voice. Even then, when he’s ripping off or paying homage (depending how you look at it) to other movies, it feels personal. Uma Thurman getting a needle slammed into her chest to stave off an overdose? Sure, that’s pretty much taken verbatim from a story by the subject of Martin Scorsese’s hard to find 1978 documentary “American Boy: A Profile of Steven Prince.” Tarantino is one of the biggest movie nerds out there, so every film he cribs from leaves a very personal breadcrumb trail for other potentially burgeoning cinephiles to follow. Go down that cinematic rabbit hole with him, and you’ll learn all about his childhood spent consuming movies. When you’re real life is your reel life, like QT, that’s as personal as you can get. –Erik McClanahan
18. Roseanne Barr
From the moment she became a household name in the late 1980s with her landmark eponymous sitcom, Roseanne Barr has been a pretty consistent open book. And though “Roseanne,” the hugely popular series that made her a star, was largely autobiographical itself, it’s really only the tip of the actress, comedienne and would-be Green Party candidate’s oversharing iceberg. From her autobiographies (“Roseanne: My Life as a Woman,” “My Lives” and “Roseannearchy”) to her very public romances, divorces and plastic surgeries to — more recently — her occasionally outrageous twitter feed, her Hawaii-based reality show “Roseanne’s Nuts” (about her literal nut farm there) and her outspoken run for the 2012 presidency, Barr has never been particularly shy about anything. And while that’s certainly led to her fair share of detractors, she has and continues to own her public persona (and doesn’t have too much issue with people poking fun at it either, as proved in last year’s Comedy Central roast). –Peter Knegt
17. Jonathan Ames
Writer and television show creator Jonathan Ames’ various works are all hugely autobiographical — like a lot of other authors, though it’s rarer that authors share such intimate sexual fetishes and eccentricities, even veiled under the guise of fiction and aliases like “Jonathan A,” the protagonist in his graphic novel “The Alcoholic.” His characters enact his inner fantasies, as his same-named “Jonathan Ames” (played by Jason Schwartzman) did on the now-defunct (but possibly set to be resurrected as a TV movie) HBO series “Bored To Death,” working as both a writer and a private eye, merging his own persona with Raymond Chandler-type mysteries. In addition to scripting out his fantasies, Ames actually made a foray into amateur boxing, becoming “The Herring Wonder.” One match involved him catching a football on stage and pasting money on his body so that he would get tackled. Whether or not the sexual fantasies described in his various works of fiction are true, his clever turns of phrase, refreshing takes on literary references (P.G. Wodehouse! Noel Coward!) and palpable sense of humor are omnipresent in all forms of his creative output. A true oversharer, Ames has even managed in screen adaptations of his own work, popping up in “The Extra Man” and baring all in an appearance on “Bored to Death.” –Caitlin Hughes
16. Doug Block
Doug Block is not the only director to make personal documentaries, but he’s one of the foremost to have his self-documentation feel not only like filmmaking but also a compulsion. The justly lauded “51 Birch Street” found Block delving into his parents’ marriage after the death of his mother, when his father announced his intentions to wed his former secretary, sell the family home and move to Florida. A late visit to the house by Block became a sometimes painfully intimate feature-length investigation of who he thought his parents were versus who they actually might have been beneath the suburban veneer and the haze of subjective memory. But the results were more uncomfortable when he pointed his lens at his daughter for 2009’s “The Kids Grow Up,” tracking her from childhood to when she’s ready to leave for college, as she becomes increasingly unwilling to serve as a subject for her father’s filmmaking. It’s never an easy thing to witness someone ask for the camera aimed at them to be turned off — it’s a reminder that we’re the ones voraciously gazing at what’s on screen — but Block’s asking his daughter “So what can’t I film?” and his filming of his wife’s struggles with depression feel helplessly intrusive, looping everyone, including the audience, in as squirming participant in what’s really an act of self-examination. –Alison Willmore
Indiewire has partnered with IFC and its new original comedy MARON (premiering Friday May 3rd at 10pm). MARON explores a fictionalized version of comedian Marc Maron’s life, his relationships and his career, including his incredibly popular WTF podcast, which features conversations Marc conducts with celebrities and fellow comedians.
Learn more about MARON here.