Thursday, September 09, 2010

Maria Bamford

By Rick V.

Maria Bamford is probably one of my favorite comedians right now, and her album "Unwanted Thought Syndrome" was one of my favorite things that came out last year. Last night I found out she was doing three performances over the course of two days at the Sander Theater at the Fort Worth Community Arts center. This was put together by a group called No 2 Drink Minimum which tries to pull comedians outside of the comedy clubs. That's pretty cool, right?

For those who don't know who Maria Bamford is, look her up immediately. I would write something about her but you guys probably know how bad I am at explaining anything. And frankly, I'm pretty tired.

Here is an email Q&A I did via email with Maria Bamford:

Would you like to answer some non threatening questions so we can put them up on the website as to get people to come out to the shows on Friday and Saturday night?

Yes, I would! Non-threatening, supportive, body-hugging questions that skim the profile.

I personally am very excited that you are coming to Fort Worth. I am even more excited that you are not playing a bar venue/comedy club but a community arts center instead! How did you end up getting hooked up with the (as far as I can tell) nice people at No 2 drink minimum?

They, in fact, hooked up with me- through a great community arts network called The Book of Faces. I am supremely grateful for Carly to make the effort to track me down and poke me.

Any thoughts on comedians playing big chain venues like House of Blues?

The House of Blues is a grassroots-generated folk revival that a couple of old-time-y Bluesmen- Dan Akroyd and Jim Belushi and River Phoenix- decided to open a little hole in the wall diner that would feed the soul. The then sold it to a younger generation of musicians and percussive players and it's just a one-man operation owned by this guy/corporate entity, Live Nation. It's nice to perform anywhere. And get paid for gas.

You've been doing voice work for cartoons for years including the blasphemous Charlottes Web 2. And you've probably been approached about doing voice work more since the popularity of your newest album "Unwanted Thought Syndrome" or the fine programming of "Comedians of Comedy" and "The Maria Bamford Show". Has anybody offered any starring roles?

Not yet, but check out ADVENTURETIME on the Cartoon Network or WORDGIRL on PBS, or, on second thought, lie down and read.

You were on an episode of Mystery Science 3000 playing a violin. Do you know those guys? And what happened to the violin?

Violin let go with burnt sage and given to children who want to jam. I know only TV's Frank and writer Mary Jo Pehl (Austin resident- who is a hilarious stand up and should be booked in Fort Worth).

Whenever I asked around about what kind of questions does one ask Maria Bamford, the most common question was "Will she marry me?". Do you get a lot of marriage proposals from strangers?

Well, this, of course, will change as I age, I'm fairly certain (My mom says - once you turn 50 - I'll get the power of Invisibility!!), but I think marriage is something that you need to think about and really prepare for together, as a couple. Let's say my beloved is 15-20 years younger than me and we have almost nothing in common except a similar sense of humor- it's going to take mutual commitment to get past our differences-that they live in a railroad car outside of Salinas and I'm not high. I think it's easy to "fall in love" with somebody who is amplified, well-lit and mostly scripted. But as a person who has asked my hardworking, warm, stylish, helpful clothes dryer to go out on a date- you've got to wonder if it's just infatuation, not a realistic interest based in compatibility.

What comedians have you come across in your travels that you would recommend to legion of people who think Dane Cook is very unfunny?

Well, I like Dane Cook- he has a nice face- but I would like to recommend the following in no particular order: Jackie Kashian, Jen Kirkman, Mike Birbiglia, Jimmy Pardo, Chris Hardwick, Hard and Phirm, Garfunkel and Oates, Jimmy Dore, Brent Weinbach, David Huntsberger, Marc Maron, Louis CK, Sarah Silverman, Tig Notaro, Susan Rice, Bobbie Oliver, Charleyne Yi and there are thousands more- GO SEE LIVE COMEDY IN YOUR COMMUNITY!!!!!

And as a final stupid question. You have a dog named "Bert" and Brian Posehn has a dog named "Ernie". Any relation?

Bert is a doctor and designer of menswear. Blossom is Catholic and walks around nude in a harness. They have not met "Ernie", but have seen photos and are open to contact.

Would you rather do a phone interview? Because I sure would. It would be a lot more fun, personal and not as awkward. I usually post the audio up on the site as well.

Oof. Rick. I can't talk on the phone anymore. I really, really can't. Well, maybe later. Could you call me at like- 4 PM (my time, pacific). Here's my home phone number which isn't for print but you can pretend it is and print something else other than 555-555-5751. I really hate talking on the phone and talking about myself. I'll interview you. Be ready for my questions. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR INTEREST AND THOUGHTFUL PREGUNTAS!!!


We actually did do a phone interview! Sort of. I was overly nervous and gave Maria a lot of wrong information about the city I live in. It's not so much an interview as just a conversation. You can enjoy it here.

And you know what? I really like what Carly from No 2 Drink Minimum is doing and I interviewed her to!

Carly, why did you move to Fort Worth?

I moved to Fort Worth because my apartment lease in New York was up and my sister invited me down here to get an apartment with her. I took her up on it because the New York market is so saturated with this amazing comedy scene, it’s really hard to get started there. Even though I only wanted to produce, almost every comedian there has their own show that they put on and it’s impossible to compete with shows whose bookers have amazing connections, like friends from SNL doing their shows for free. It also takes a lot of work to get shows up and running in NYC.

How long have you been doing No 2 drink Minimum? And is this your first event? if so, it's a pretty intense one.

No 2 Drink Minimum is just a bay-bay. About 3 months old. And this is its first event, yes. We go big or go home here at No 2 Drink Minimum. Most of the time we go home.

What are your goals with N2DM (ooh catchy) and plans for the future?

The initial goal for us was to create a live comedy resource for the NY and LA comedy scenes. There is just so much amazing stuff going on in these shows that have this sort of cult following, but it takes awhile to navigate and figure out what‘s going on and where, so I thought I could help speed up the process. Plus, I hate wasting money on ridiculously expensive covers and drink minimums.

Plans for the future include expanding the cities that we cover (cities we plan to add include Austin, Houston, San Francisco, Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia, and Atlanta). Also, as far as the production side of No 2 Drink Minimum, we hope to bring more comedians to alternative spaces as often as time and resources allow.



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