Thursday, March 10, 2005

Maria Bamford interview

Here's the email interview I did with Maria Bamford. Email afforded her the time and focus to think of truly bizarre responses that are nevertheless so very Maria.

St. Murse: Why did you want to be part of the Comedians of Comedy documentary? Why do you think you were asked to be part of it?

Maria Bamford: My main reason for being in the documentary was the money. And the prestige. I love money and prestige. And I think I was asked to be a part of it because the producers knew I was pro-money and pro-prestige. That's what I've always stood for and I've never wavered.

St. M: Why does the kind of comedy you four do seem to work well in rock clubs?

MB: The Rock club audience is non-sedentary - it stands and has freedom of movement. It has to get its own drinks. It's this kind of mass pioneer spirit that canappreciate the likes of Patton Oswalt and Co.

St. M: What unites you as performers? What divides you?

MB: What unites me with the performers is the excitement/fear that- if there were some sort of natural disaster or emergency quarantine while we were at the club and we were stuck together for 7 or 8 days, trapped in a green room with just some Crystal Geyser water and Twizzlers, then the comedy masks might fall and while performing the tasks of human survival - washing eachother's hair andmaintaining long periods of eye contact - we decide to start a family.

St. M: Tell me about the experience of riding around in a van of, presumably, somewhat stinky guys?

MB: Well, let me tell you, I'm a bit of a stinkpot myself sometimes! I dribble skim milk and oats on my shirt front to start the day off, then I fart around (literally!) and recite my Oprah affirmiations. There are some things that Allure (by Chanel) can't cover up! I also - much like my dog- have overfunctioning anal glands that sometimes secrete during overexcitement(morning radio shows, scarf-knitting).

St. M: Pitch me your dream sitcom.

MB: After having a nervous breakdown on stage at the Detroit Comedy Castle, I move back in with my parents in Duluth, MN. I play every character (including the love interest and dog). It will be called "Homeward Hound".

St. M: Your Tivo score was impressive this week (Dennis Miller, Dharma & Greg, Charlotte's Web 2). Is there a critical mass of appearances that will trigger an explosion of Maria Bamforditude that will sweep the nation?

MB: To reach critical mass, we need to have a core group of volunteers who are willing, on March 15th, to ride their bikes (skateboards welcome) to the Capitol. For 12 hours, a circling vortex of people who really care about the future of our world will perform bits from my 1999 Comedy Central Special in unison. No registration, just show up!

St. M: What makes you laugh?

MB: My dad, sister, mom, friends. My neices and nephews. Funny words and faces. Loud noises. Tickling around my soft areas. Ellen Degeneres. 12-step groupshares. My own foibles.

St. M: How long does it take a joke to cycle from when you write first write it and think it's funny to when you've said it so many times that it's not funny back around to funny again? (illustrative example: the Sideshow Bob rake scene from the Simpsons) Or is it a linear sequence so that it just keeps getting unfunnier the more you tell it?

MB: It is funny the first time I tell it. The second time - almost as funny. The third through 22nd time I tell it it is confusing and nobody knows what I'm getting at. The 23rd time, I have it memorized and my confidence and voice inflection convince others that it is funny - or that I have obviously worked very hard on it and deserve an applause break.

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