Editor’s Note: This is part one 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. [#16 through 20] [#11 through 15] [#6 through 10] [#1 through 5]
25. Joan Rivers
Where do we even start with Joan Rivers? The raspy-voiced, proudly plastic surgery-happy comedienne has essentially built her late career around a public persona of excessive disclosure. From her many reality show appearances (“Celebrity Apprentice,” “Joan & Melissa: Joan Knows Best,” etc) to her self-deprecating red carpet rants to her new online talk show “In Bed With Joan” (literally set in her bed), there are just about endless examples of Ms. Rivers oversharing (her recent autobiography is even titled “I Hate Everyone… Starting With Me”). But Rivers — who has been in show business for over 50 years — has somehow managed to make her unrestrained candidness endearing. If you don’t agree, watch Ricki Stern and Anne Sundberg’s 2010 documentary “Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work,” which paints Rivers as a showbiz survivor who utilized her lack of boundaries to reinvent her career. –Peter Knegt
24. Jerry Seinfeld
What’s the deal with Jerry Seinfeld? The comedian has maintained a low profile since his eponymous sitcom went off the air in 1998. But working quietly on a variety of projects, from an animated film to a web series (“Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee”) and hundreds of club dates in between, Seinfeld has, like few other performers in the history of comedy, revealed his inner workings by creating a shared language between himself and his audience. The deceptive simplicity of his humor is itself ingratiating. He’s the king of basic observations about daily peccadilloes that become cultural signposts, emblems of the collective amusement, or annoyance, derived from our interactions. But the end result is both familiarity with his disposition — which is actually far more complex than the “what’s the deal with…?” cliches he himself has joked about — and a more intimate and incisive knowledge of ourselves. He doesn’t just share himself with us, but our own selves as well, giving us first the clarity to recognize our idiosyncrasies, and then permission to laugh at them. — Todd Gilchrist
23. Vincent Gallo
It wasn’t much of a surprise when Vincent Gallo, a fiercely committed film artiste with a devilishly punk attitude (see the “services” section of his merchandise website), was cast in Francis Ford Coppola’s highly personal 2009 film, “Tetro.” Coppola, especially in his current phase of self-financed (and inspired) films, and Gallo, he of the do-it-all-myself, so-honest-it’s-kinda-embarrassing mold of filmmaking, are clearly kindred spirits. Just look at Gallo’s two distributed films (will audiences ever get to see 2010’s “Promises Written in Water”?). “Brown Bunny,” unfairly maligned by most critics when it was released — though Roger Ebert famously rescinded on his original, worst film in the history of Cannes declaration after seeing a new, shorter cut, to which he ultimately gave three stars — is so achingly sad and lonely, like the adrift protagonist played by Gallo, that most people probably rejected it because of the soaring discomfort levels. And, of course, his best film to date, “Buffalo ’66,” not only sees the multi-hyphenate dominate the credits but also setting the sadistically funny ’90s indie classic in his home town of Buffalo, NY (a place he disdains, as confessed on Howard Stern). He looks harshly, through an exaggerated yet not far from reality version of himself, at his own neuroses and shortcomings. –Erik McClanahan
22. Tom Green
Tom Green televised his battle with testicular cancer, including video footage of his surgery and putting his sidekick, Glenn Humplik, in physical contact with his removed gonad. And rather than keep his one notable relationship (with Drew Barrymore) private, he teased the media for an extended period of time in regard to their wedding, including her leaving him at the “altar” on “Saturday Night Live” in 2000. Green’s TV success turned out to be something of a flash in the pan, his notorious oversharing cut short after he went off the air on MTV post-cancer battle. Green made several attempts to resurface, though none have come close to “The Tom Green Show.” He first tried an MTV late night series, then a rap career and his own online-only show. Green now does stand-up and the odd guest appearance, and seems to have calmed down from his heyday of scaring his sleeping parents by putting a severed cow head in their bed, or getting dragged off the stage at the Razzies. Love or hate his brand of shock humor, it’s nearly impossible to think of the outlandish lyrics to “Lonely Swedish (The Bum Bum Song)” without cracking a smile. — Caitlin Hughes
21. James Franco
James Franco’s ubiquity can feel like a living performance art project. At a moment of restlessness about the state of his acting career, he enrolled in a creative writing course, which led to further studies. And then his acting career took off again, but that hasn’t stopped Franco from trying his hand at whatever art project in whatever medium caught his fancy. He’s now at a point where, somehow, he’s more famous for his grad student Renaissance man conceptual art eclecticism than he is for headlining blockbusters like “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” and “Oz: The Great and Powerful.” That’s one of the most intriguing angles to the ongoing James Franco Project, which is one of the most public studies of celebrity and creativity extant: the product of media’s confusion at an actor not doing the industry-standard actor stuff, and some canny manipulation of that coverage by an amused Franco, no doubt chuckling to himself about how meta this all is. — Danny Bowes
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.