Maria Bamford is a hard-working comedian – she might try her best to deny it, suggesting her with her latest comedy album that she’s only running at a fifth of her capability – but the yards are there in the rear-view mirror. And in a year or two where she’s had the first season of a quirky and popular Netflix show (the fantastic Lady Dynamite, more of that coming later this year with a second season) and a marriage you might think those twin-happiness’ – success and love – would be something of a problem when it comes to stepping on stage and making things funny…but no, not for Bamford.
Ever self-aware, she’s electric in the changing of voices, in the passing of characters, in the way she uses articulation and accent to help deliver the joke – and to actually be part of the joke – and she’s also, for the post-part, running PG-content, nothing riskier. This is situational/observational stuff but it’s about the delivery, the mindset, and the little surprises that come at the end of sentences, as post-scripts to punchlines, as weirdly wonderful mid-point deviations.
You can hear the influence of Bamford when listening to her – the character of Garth from Wayne’s World, Dana Carvey was basically just impersonating Bamford right? At least a half-dozen of Kristen Wiig’s SNL characterisations are busking-parody versions of Maria in full swing.
She’s emerging – later in her career, and hey, ain’t that almost always the way – as a true visionary, one of the greats, a unique voice. And there’s enough here to please the devoted fans already, and to act as a decent entry-point for fans of the show who haven’t (yet) experienced her comedy, or for anyone who knows the name but hasn’t (yet) delved into the content.