Thursday, August 23, 2007

From the cutting room floor: Maria Bamford: AKA: Funny Lady of the Month

I used to do a semi regular "funny lady" posting. But that was a few years and a couple of blogs ago. But I was recently thinking about bringing it back. If there is one thing that I enjoy more than movies(and I think we know how I like those) it is Stand-up comedy. It really is an art form, and not one that just anyone can do..though I they could...that would mean I would have had hope. Anyway, even casual stand-up fans can tell that there is not an overabundance of female comedians topping the charts. Why is this the case? My belief is that a lot of it boils down to old school prejudice. Women can damn sure be as funny(if not funnier) than men, sadly they don't always get the chance. That was my original thinking when I started pointing out the good ones, which by the way there are a LOT of not so good ones out there as well so watch out.

So, when I was toying with the resurrection I really only had one name in mind for the first subject, Maria Bamford. I wrote up a draft of what would have been the beginning I then promptly closed the draft, felt like I wasn't doing it justice and put it aside and forgot about it. That is until the other day when I was doing some cleanup, and now I present to you, for better or for worse, with very little editing, my rough draft...We'll just call this more of a peek into my process than anything else.

Comedy is a subjective thing isn't it? I mean for the most part, we all know that there are some things that are funny to everyone no matter what(like say someone slipping on ice tumbling over and spilling their newly bought bag of groceries all over the street... We all laugh at that). What I am thinking about specifically right now is stand-up comedy. Not only is comedy subjective but it can at times also be downright baffling. What the masses gravitate towards quite often is the watered down, safe stuff. Comedy with a false sense of edginess (because “out there” is good... just not too far out there.)

That being said, once in a while some really good stuff breaks through and people take notice. I have a prediction to make....

I predict that anyone who hasn't jumped on the Maria Bamford bandwagon will in the very near future.

I first took notice of Maria's around her 2001 Comedy Central Presents special. Back then I remember thinking how refreshing it was to see a female comedian being funny while not falling becoming a cliché.

After that I lost track of Maria for a little bit. I recognized her when I saw(or heard) her on TV or in movies and I still enjoyed her CCP special whenever it was replaye (once I got my TiVo it was one of the first shows I ever put on do not delete status, I still have it). But then in the last couple of years thanks to a combination of the Internet, and of course the Comedians of Comedy movie, TV series, and tour I have become acquainted with her talent once again.

The Comedians of Comedy show, movie, and tour really can't be adequately summed up in a short paragraph. So for now I'll just talk briefly about the show I went to in Lansing. To start the venue was very strange to me, the place was called the Temple Club and it was an old church that had been converted into a small music club. The place even had the original stained glass windows up, they were covered with red curtains but with the light shining through you could still see very clearly the holy images. That made made the place creepy(to me at least). Anyway onto the show, I was at an awesome table, dead center to the stage but far enough back so I wouldn't catch the attention of the comedians (a fear I've acquired since hearing the story of how my friend was pulled up on stage by D.L. Hughley).

I'll cut forward to Maria's time on stage. Hilarious, she did seem a bit distracted at first but when she hit her stride boy did she! Thanks in no small part to Maria's contribution I count that as the best comedy show I have ever been to live.

Now the present. Maria Bamford: How to Win! also available from
Maria Bamford - How to Win!

This has the singular distinction of being the only album I have ever bought from iTunes, yep I was that impatient to hear it.

“How to Win!” is certainly a winner(I couldn't resist the easy joke, which is why I'm not a comedian...well that and th paralyzing fear of public speaking, and the lack of writing discipline). Laughter starts from the get go where she begins by explaining her definition of the word party. Of course the voices are back, which if you know Maria you know that is a good thing. She even throws in an impression of her pug Blossom for good measure. Temp work/firing, TV, therapy, evil, even Alicia Keys, anything is potential and hilarious material.

Bottom line, Maria rocks it with great stage presence, strong material, and an originality which is completely refreshing in todays mainstream comedy scene.

Need another reason to love Maria? How about the fact that over at she is part of the iptv movement.

Still haven't had enough? Ok then, head over to and watch her clips from there as well.

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