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Actor / EntertainerI’m Maria Bamford Comedian Extraordinaire. Ask Me Anything.

Dec 20th 2017 by topicstories • 22 Questions • 172 Points

Here we go again. I still don’t understand what’s happening exactly, but it’s very exciting and confusing.

The reason for my second Reddit internet interview is because I just launched a 12 part web-series called “Ave Maria Bamford” on Topic.com. No, never heard to it? Of course not. There is a tidal wave of content heading towards your already-flooded, ocean-side iPhone. Take care of yourself. But if you'd like to watch a flawed person in a jazzy bishop’s costume suggest that the Worst may be the Best — this may be for you. Then again, it may be offensively flip on a range of issues that are genuinely heartbreaking. “Ask Me Anything!” unless of course you are from my troll demographic (young dads of children, under the age of 5, living in a suburb of Denver)……

Proof: https://i.redd.it/7btac8yrfr401.jpg

Watch Ave Maria Bamford here.

Edit: Thank you for all the great questions. Signing off now. I'll let you know next time I'm back.

Q:

Hey Maria! You are my favorite stand up comedian. I've seen your show twice. I actually got a tattoo inspired by one of your jokes.

So I guess my question is....whatcha think?

https://i.imgur.com/uM7aS7w.jpg

Edit: Oh! And also I'm a therapist, thank you for talking so openly about mental health! :)

A:

GORGEOUS! WOWEEE! That is so pretty!! And thank you for your service to our nation.


Q:

Maria, I want you to know that you are one of my idols, and you help me feel less crazy and less alone. Even though I don't know you. I bought your adorable critter shirt as a reminder that you support me, and a reminder that we're all just weird people doing our best. I also bought tickets to your Salt Lake show because not seeing your act would actually ruin my month.

I guess I have a few questions. What is your favorite book? When you feel like you're losing grip, how do you pull it back? What is the most valuable thing anyone has ever told you?

Again, thank you for everything.

A:

The Artists Way was given to me by Frank Conniff (follow him on Twitter!) and it really changed my life (I think).

Sometimes, things get so bad, that nothing can really make you feel "better", but I know asking for help (even from strangers- phone operators, suicide hotlines, delta airlines representatives) can be oddly helpful in a pinch.


Q:

What's your favorite food and why?

A:

I love peanut butter and diet coke. A scoop in the morning with a cold DC straight from the fridge is a real wake-up call.


Q:

Hi Maria, is there someone or thing that influences your comedy more now than when you first started in your YouTube days? How are you dogs doing?? Thx!

A:

My hubby influences me a ton because he has a lot of great movement and vocabulary that I've never had access to and he lets me use it in the family business. The dogs (we've had 6) are now Betty the black pug and Jackie the Chihuahua and they are doing very well. Scott has taken them out to poopoo pee pee!


Q:

How has mental health stigma hurt you professionally? Is eroding it a conscious goal of yours?

A:

Well, obviously, I don't really know about jobs I didn't get. And entertainment is much more lenient, liberal and understanding about mental health issues than any other industry. (My manager said when I called him from the psych ward- "Oh! I have two other clients with bipolar- call me when you feel better!") If it has, I don't care- I didn't have much to lose by being open about it and it turns out, weirdly, it's been a cash cow, haha.


Q:

Hey Maria, I just want to say that you have helped me so much with talking about my bipolar. You are my favorite comedian and you're a huge inspiration to me. I can't wait to see you in SLC in March the day after my b day!

What's a superpower you wish your dogs had?

A:

I'd love if Jackie Onassis the chihuahua mix could learn not to mark inside the house. That would be like a cape.


Q:

What was the last song you listened to?

A:

Better Day by Lake Lady, a singer songwriter from Los Angeles!


Q:

Have you ever dealt with ever feeling like you weren't doing enough, or weren't far enough in yourcareer. Did it ever cause you to make rash decisions about your life, like feeling you have to move to a different city or make some other kind of drastic change?

A:

Every few seconds. Yes, of course. OF COURSE. What helps me is community- which means I belong to several 12-step groups, I call people, I've learned the name of every barista at the coffee shop (Brooklyn, Jeremy, Sarah, Angel, Gabby, Lydia, Anja, Matt) and I ask my friends for help A LOT. I need to "bookend" (checking in with someone before and after doing a task) in order to do the simplest 5 -minutes of rehearsal. For reals. It is sometimes setting a timer for 5 minutes, calling my friend Alex and telling him I'm going to rehearse and then rehearsing and calling him again when the timer goes off. It is sometimes EXCRUTIATING to get myself to do things and then, even when I do things, I am flooded with thoughts that it's not enough. It's bullshit. I think it's along the lines of a phobia- where your brain is trying to keep you safe by raising your fear levels- that you're not in any danger, you are doing enough. I know as much as you do on that front for sure. It is painful to just keep moving.


Q:

What is your favorite film to watch for inspiration?

A:

Hm. The best inspiration is my friends, family, hub, dogs and writing itself.


Q:

I saw your show in Toronto last year, and the last 5-10 minutes was you blowing raspberries. I felt it was a wonderful denouement. Has the response to that bit been mixed? edit: last

A:

I'm not sure what the response has been because I don't read internet comments, but I'm sure it's not everyone's favorite, but who cares. I don't really have a choice except to do the ideas that come to me and if they're not "good", oh well.


Q:

Hi, Maria! Long-time fan, and I finally have the chance to see you perform next month! You're one of my all-time favorite comedians, and I love your work in other mediums as well.

What do you think a comedian's responsibility is regarding material that may make the audience uncomfortable? I typically roll my eyes when people complain about political correctness, but I understand the desire to push the envelope or stretch the medium. How should a comedian tastefully experiment with their material in a way that's not harmful? Sorry if this is a loaded question, have a lovely day!

A:

I don't know- I have an extremely limited perspective- I am a white, older, well-off (now) lady and I try to wake up, but I know there is no way I am not going to make mistakes as a result of my cultural ignorance. If someone is hurt by something, they are hurt and I think, it needs to be addressed- that it's an important part of being a human being- to acknowledge the experience of others. People can then agree to disagree, but to say someone's wrong or too sensitive for not liking something also is irresponsible.


Q:

SCTV, SNL, or Monty Python?

A:

I'm going to say SNL because it is still on and features the GREAT MELISSA VILLASENOR!


Q:

What what your first comedy show like?

A:

I think it was really in high school doing a speech to get elected for office- I did a "funny" speech in our school chapel (Catholic school) and I got elected as president of our class (beat out Alex Tretinayk- the perhaps more qualified applicant!)


Q:

Hi Maria! I just saw you last Sunday in San Francisco. We got there 45 minutes early and we passed Jackie Kashian going in the stage entrance, but I didn't realize it was her until I saw her Christmas suit on stage. If I ever see you out in public, is it ok to approach you and tell you how much I appreciate your work, or should I mutter my thanks to myself and leave you alone thank you very much?

A:

I am always down for a hello, but if we are in a bathroom or if I am in a heated conversation with my husband about whether he should share his onion rings with me before he's even had a chance to eat one himself- then- maybe just know that I love and appreciate you from afar!


Q:

For a while now, you've been doing voice work in animation. What lead you to that? Do you have any plans to expand to video game voice work?

A:

I'll do anything for a paycheck (unless of course it is against what I'm down for- like, I won't do commercials anymore because the Target thing was so hard to not be able to criticize publicly- As soon as someone tells me I can't say anything, it becomes problematic)


Q:

One thing I love so much about Lady Dynamite is how you capture Minnesota. Some of the names in Season 2, and the way characters treat one another is really spot-on. Have you been finding this translates in a universal way for people from other places, or does this distinct neurotic flavor seem unusual to them?

A:

I just know Minnesota, but from what I've heard worldwide through other comics- is that every region has it's own distinctive dysfunction.


Q:

Hi Maria! Huge fan here. I'm excited to check out your new web series!

Do you have any advice for someone who is dreading going back to their hometown for the holidays? Granted, I'll only be there for one day, but many of the circumstances involved is triggering lots of anxiety for me.

Thanks for being so open and honest with your own mental health struggles. Your honesty and humor makes you one of my favs, hands down.

A:

Well, something to do in your old home town that is FREE. FREE, I tell you- is go to an open AA, NA, OA, DA, Alanon meeting- where people talk anonymously about their lives and you can realize you are not alone! You don't have to have any of those issues to go- just go and you can sit and listen to a bunch of strangers and it's nice. There's some talk of higher powers and such, but i find I can let it wash over me with the free coffee and sometimes snacks (though not at OA) provided.


Q:

You are coming to Fresno in April and I’m DEVASTATED because my bff is getting married that night. I already missed you once in LA. My question is... why does the universe hate me? WHY?!

A:

It's a numbers thing- there is no Higher Power controlling this situation. If you follow me on twitter, You'll increase your statistical odds- I do daytime shows a lot in LA.


Q:

Any plans to come to Toronto? I really loved last year's show at the Queen Elizabeth theatre!!

A:

No- but i'm sure I'll be back (if asked!)


Q:

I just wanted you to know that I almost hyperventilated while watching Lady Dynamite at the gym from laughing too hard and I personally blame you.

Maria, why don't you think of others when making your show?

A:

I am a frightened animal and make choices from fear rather than my center of general ok-ness.


Q:

Do you prefer performing live or on camera?

A:

They are both great for different ways, but I love hearing laughs- that is very satisfying.


Q:

Do you think Meryl knew?

What are some good clubs in L.A. for a wannabe comedian with ZERO experience talking, being on a stage, or having people like him?

A:

www.thecomedybureau.com and start your own show! There is no better way to become a comedian than by starting to be a comedian. It is all terrifying. Might as well do something you're into. Do a show today!