The Weird, Scary and Ingenious Brain of Maria Bamford
July 18, 2014 10:59 AM   Subscribe

She is the best. I had no idea things got so bad for her after the death of her dog. I really wish there were some way I could get down to Charlotte next week to see her.
posted by Rock Steady at 11:22 AM on July 18, 2014

I love Maria Bamford and I love her willingness to talk openly about her mental illness.
posted by Librarypt at 11:41 AM on July 18, 2014 [2 favorites]

I highly recommend her most recent special if you haven't seen it. It's so rare that somebody comes up with an entirely new way to be really weird and really funny - she's done it with that special, performing an hour of stand-up in her own house for her parents. At one point she goes into the kitchen to get them some tea. IT IS SO WEIRD. And so good.
posted by something something at 11:53 AM on July 18, 2014 [8 favorites]

something something, it's not just a special -- it's a special special special. ;)

"TV's" Frank Conniff* linked this article on his Facebook yesterday, and I thought it was an excellent profile. I really admire Bamford, because she surprises me like nobody else in comedy right now. Neurotic comedians are a dime a dozen these days, but Bamford is a true survivor of some really dark existential turmoil, and the fact that she can take something that personal and subjective and make it so instantly relatable is really out of the ordinary. Speaking as somebody who's had some really disabling bouts of depression in the recent past, it gives me a lot of hope to see her rising above it personally and professionally.

*I don't recall if this has been mentioned on the blue before, but Maria was the offscreen fiddle player for a "hoedown" sketch on MST3K back in the day. Being that she's from Minnesota, I'm guessing she must have travelled in the same comedy circles as the Best Brains crew, which is even better.
posted by Strange Interlude at 11:56 AM on July 18, 2014 [9 favorites]

[MetaFilter] “You’re horrible,” she thinks about a friend who visits her in the psych ward and says all the wrong things. “But can you come back tomorrow?”
posted by Sophie1 at 12:02 PM on July 18, 2014 [5 favorites]

Her portrayal of a Paula Deen recipe as a suicide note is one of the funniest bits I have heard recently.
posted by zzazazz at 12:07 PM on July 18, 2014 [6 favorites]

Maria's wonderful, thanks for sharing this. Gotta watch the special special special soon!
posted by danabanana at 12:21 PM on July 18, 2014

Her episode of the Mental Illness Happy Hour podcast, which is generally just the best thing ever.
posted by 912 Greens at 12:27 PM on July 18, 2014 [2 favorites]

Maria Bamford is spectacular, and such an excellent profile.

Thank you for sharing.
posted by Pudhoho at 12:28 PM on July 18, 2014

My favorite part of the special is the end when her mom says a few things and sounds EXACTLY like the impression of her. She's a genius, and yeah sometimes mental illness comes with that territory unfortunately.
posted by mike_bling at 12:29 PM on July 18, 2014 [3 favorites]

I so, so, so, so, love and get Maria Bamford. She's a damned treasure, that one.
posted by Thorzdad at 12:35 PM on July 18, 2014

We watched The Special Special Special a couple of weeks ago and despite being familiar with Bamford's persona/material/real life mental illness, it still felt uncomfortable sometimes to laugh, but laugh we did.
posted by Kitteh at 12:49 PM on July 18, 2014

ump... beat me too it, was reading this last night/this am and planned on posting.

live in Duluth right now and between the city winning the Outside Mag best outside town contest, Trampled by Turtles being on Letterman and Bamford being in the NYT it's like an extravaganza right now. Oh and we've hot peak summer so frankly this is paradise.
posted by edgeways at 12:51 PM on July 18, 2014 [2 favorites]

I don't recall if this has been mentioned on the blue before, but Maria was the offscreen fiddle player for a "hoedown" sketch on MST3K back in the day.

Hm. I'm guessing that would be the "Promenade" sketch. The Satellite News MST3K Episode Guide backs it up: In segment 2, I like how they go from square dancing to slam dancing in two seconds. Note: Servo loses his head. Also note: The fiddle music is being supplied by the now-famouser Maria Bamford. Here's her name in the credits of 617: Bloodlust.
posted by JHarris at 1:03 PM on July 18, 2014 [2 favorites]

Her portrayal of a Paula Deen recipe as a suicide note is one of the funniest bits I have heard recently.

I've been repeating the line "people keep talking about how easy it is to cook, but it's not any easier than not cooking" all the time lately.
posted by Rock Steady at 1:08 PM on July 18, 2014 [4 favorites]

I highly recommend the Maria Bamford show, it's completely brilliant and stomach hurting funny. The woman is a gifted impersonator.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:08 PM on July 18, 2014 [3 favorites]

She was on Jordan, Jesse, Go! recently and she referred to Unitarian Universalists as "Unitarian Unicorns".

Yeah, I love Maria Bamford.
posted by brundlefly at 1:25 PM on July 18, 2014 [5 favorites]

Metafilter loves it some Maria Bamford, even if it can occasionally be a bit discombobulating. The crazy idea that she started driving cross country in a blonde wig and a bathing suit looking for "angels" with a drug dealer named "Lips" until her parents found her on the sidewalk selling clock radios in Detroit isn't really any harder to believe than the totally true fact that her peppy sister is a life coach whose website Follow Your Feel Good displays the tag line "Ready to have an absurdly fantastic life? Well, of course you are! It’s your destiny!"
posted by Doktor Zed at 1:40 PM on July 18, 2014 [1 favorite]

Like Brandon Blatcher, I also must highly recommend The Maria Bamford Show, the webseries she made (as mentioned in the article) in which she as "Maria Bamford" had a breakdown and went home to live with her parents in Duluth; she plays every character, male and female (except for Blossom the pug, who plays herself... RIP Blossom).

All of the episodes are up on YouTube, and they are a total go-to comfort-rewatch for me, over and over. Extremely funny and perceptive.
posted by theatro at 1:41 PM on July 18, 2014 [2 favorites]

I love Maria Bamford, but I can't listen to her all that much. Her work can hit me where I live a little too well.
posted by pxe2000 at 1:47 PM on July 18, 2014 [2 favorites]

And thanks for linking back to that previous Bamford thread on the blue, Doktor Zed. I think it's handy for people to have that extra context of where the episodes of The Maria Bamford Show came from.
posted by theatro at 1:50 PM on July 18, 2014

I recently saw her do standup at a cemetery. I like her more live because whenever I see her on TV she tends to give me what I call the Curb Your Enthusiasm reaction where I have to fast forward or mute because it's just too much to bear. It's harder to dodge the confrontation live. That said, she didn't seem super enthusiastic to be there, and who can blame her? The audience was a bunch of stiffs.
posted by feloniousmonk at 2:09 PM on July 18, 2014 [1 favorite]

Maria Bamford is completely fab. One thing I find quite interesting is the way that she plays herself as low-status, but almost all her characters are high-status - she speaks haltingly in this tiny, high-pitched voice, while they are deep-voiced and certain. I can see why this is for dramatic reasons, and assume that she is herself more like the characters she plays than the Maria Bamford she plays, but I've wondered whether this is something she's thought through in those terms and whether she enjoys the opportunities to occupy high-status roles.

The Special Special Special is a thing of wonder. You used to be able to download it for $5, but that company went out of business. I think it's on Netflix, though.
posted by Grangousier at 2:18 PM on July 18, 2014

"Ready to have an absurdly fantastic life? Well, of course you are! It’s your destiny!"

I can't help but hear that in her impression of her sister's voice, through bitten fingernails.
posted by aaronetc at 2:18 PM on July 18, 2014 [3 favorites]

I've always enjoyed her stand-up but I love her current honesty and humanity. There are bits of hers I think about daily.

I may have to put the Special Special Special on again.
posted by darksong at 2:24 PM on July 18, 2014

My favorite comedian of all time. She's just the best. I got to see her with Jackie Kashian (who is also fantastic) here in Seattle a couple years ago, and they were both stellar.
posted by Errant at 2:24 PM on July 18, 2014

<3 Maria!
posted by Glinn at 2:38 PM on July 18, 2014

Maria Bamford makes me feel at home in the world, like there's a place for people like me. Aside from her blazing comedic genius, she has so many characteristics to love: boundless humility, a strident upper Midwestern accent, earth-shattering love for flat-faced dogs, and a willingness to shed light on her darkness with such boldness and clarity that it gives me goosebumps. She elevates the constant background whine of self-destructive musings from exhausting to hilarious. Her work is enormously important in so many ways.

In Slate:
People get really irritated by mental illness. "Just fucking get it together! Suck it up, man!" I had a breakdown, and a spiritual friend came to visit me in the psych ward. And they said, "You need to get out of here. Because this is the story you're telling yourself. You know, Patch Adams has this great work-group camp where you can learn how to really celebrate life."

It's something people are so powerless over, and so often they want to make it your fault. It's nobody's fault. I started thinking of suicide when I was 10 years old—I can't believe that that's somebody's fault. Like, "Oh, you're just an attention getter." Mental illness isn't seen as an illness, it's seen as a choice.
posted by divined by radio at 6:49 PM on July 18, 2014 [4 favorites]

i just watched her special special special on the recommendations of this thread. thank you metafilter. thank you.
posted by echocollate at 8:01 PM on July 18, 2014

So I happened to be at a small open mic night in Echo Park last night, and Maria came in unannounced to test out about twenty minutes of material. There were only about ten people in the audience, almost all of whom were young comics who had already been onstage. Maria's set was fairly upbeat, and she finished each bit with the same quiet critique: "too much story, not enough jokes."

After the show, I saw her dash across a busy road. She ended up stuck on the median for a minute as traffic raced by in both directions, and a part of me worried that she might need help to get where she was going, but of course she made it to the other sidewalk just fine.
posted by roger ackroyd at 7:57 AM on July 19, 2014 [4 favorites]

I love Maria Bamford SO MUCH. One of her lines, "...fulfilling my potential would REALLY cut into my sitting-around time..." is on permanent heavy rotation in my personal lexicon. Even my friends will ask me (when I've been complaining about being too busy), "So, guess you haven't been getting enough sitting-around time then, eh?"

Love her so much.
posted by hapax_legomenon at 10:55 AM on July 19, 2014 [2 favorites]

« Older 1:35 p.m. For the first time, I heave.   |   All kinds of genius Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments