Comedian Maria Bamford Gets Support 'A Million Times Back'
Comedian and actor Maria Bamford is known for her many voices, her frankness on mental health, and her ability to marry the real and the surreal. She voices characters in cartoons like Adventure Time and Big Mouth and recently starred in her own semi-autobiographical series on Netflix called Lady Dynamite.
Now, the comic Stephen Colbert calls his “favorite comedian on earth,” and Judd Apatow says is “the funniest woman in the world” is coming to Winston-Salem. Maria Bamford will perform a standup set at the Stevens Center on Friday night. Durham-based comic Lauren Faber will open the show.
WFDD’s Eddie Garcia spoke with Bamford over the phone about her comedy career.
The following excerpts have been condensed and edited for clarity.
On her unique blend of the real and absurd:
There are just so many beautiful comics out there. I think I'm quite milquetoast comparatively. I don't know if you've ever seen Kate Berlant or Baron Vaughan who does beautiful work. Again, I think I'm less and less unique. I'm a dinosaur sinking into the tar of irrelevant redundancy. It's hard when you're inside yourself, but yeah I guess I just write and do whatever I think is funny and hopefully it's funny to other people. But if not, if it's not funny to anyone, at least I've made myself laugh.
On her parents being part of her comedy:
They are super supportive. I did pay them $600 bucks apiece [to appear in The Special Special Special] so I don't know if the financial remuneration was a bit of a pull. Yeah, they're extremely supportive, I'm very lucky. But I mean, they've said stuff when things hurt their feelings or ask me to change stuff, which I have made genuine efforts to do that. And from what I know they're okay with it. Now I'm pretty sure they would tell me something — because they have.
On being open about having Type-II Bipolar disorder:
That's one of the best things about comedy or any art form or any kind of public acknowledgment of something happening, is that you get like a million times support back of people saying, "Yeah I've had that experience." I mean there's always going to be some people who if you reveal something private about yourself are gonna, you know, feel ashamed for you for some reason. Or say, "I wish you would stop talking about that." But usually that only happens on the internet in typing form, and you don't have to read those, it turns out. You can not look at the comments.
On collaborating for her Netflix show Lady Dynamite:
It was scary, but I was also relieved because I wouldn't have the energy to put together a TV show. Whether it's an "I can't," or an "I won't," I'm not clear. But I was extremely grateful to have a group of talented people who said, "Oh no we'll do it." That was really great. They were very gracious and listened to what I had hoped. But also I think some things aren't totally in my voice, but it's because it's like, "Oh yeah, why not let everybody have a good time." When you have the good fortune of getting to do a TV show, and these are the people who are going to have to work on it 14 or 18 hours a day, let other people put their creativity into it.