Friday, May 20, 2016

Happy "Maria Bamford's new show 'Lady Dynamite' premieres on Netflix today!" Day!

In honor of what I said in the headline above about Maria Bamford's new show "Lady Dynamite" premiering today on Netflix, and what I just said again about it, I proudly re-present the interview she gave me back in 2010! Please enjoy the interview and her show!

CLARK: Your comedy reminds me of Richard Pryor in that it's less about delivering set-ups and punchlines and more about telling stories, often with multiple characters. And you don't do celebrity impressions like Darrell Hammond or Frank Caliendo. Yet you're frequently associated with "doing voices". Why do you think that is and does it bother you?

MARIA: I "do voices", only about 5 or 6, and it doesn't bother me. I like doing them and it's fun to try new things; it helps change the jokes without rewriting them. : )

C: You've talked openly about dealing with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and other disorders and worked that into your material. You also furnish helpful links on your web site to resources for people seeking help with similar problems. Do you get feedback from people who see you as an advocate on their behalf?

M: I've gotten a few people write or tell me after shows that they have OCD or have been through a bad depression or had a friend or family member who had those problems and that it helped to hear that someone else out there had similar problems. The reason I put links up or talk about it is because it helps ME. Help me to help me, help me, help you, help me. It helps me to feel like I'm not alone (if people laugh at the material) and that I might be at all useful. The internet helped me find resources to fix this OCD problem I had for two decades and so, I figure, if it helps anybody, then, AWESOME.

C: Did you pick a side in Conan vs Leno?

M: Harrumph. I guess I picked Conan because Leno made a promise and the New York crew had all moved their families to LA and it just seemed so ridiculous, like, wouldn't you WANT to move on to a new format of show? And, Leno is less my sense of humor, though he's obviously really great at what he does. But, it's also business and business isn't personal to everyone. I like to know about numbers, but I hope that isn't everything. Oh well.

C: "The Maria Bamford Show" on SuperDeluxe (which is available in it's entirety in Maria's most recent album "Unwanted Thoughts Syndrome"); did you develop that concept as a web series or did it start out as someting else? I think it would have made a great movie.

M: It was a one-person show that I performed over a period of 3 years. Thanks for thinking about it as a movie. That's nice.

C: How long did it take to shoot and produce that series?

M: We made one a week, so, about 3 months.

C: How big a production was it (how many people involved?)

M: Two; myself and Damon (Jones) and then, we'd get notes from Superdeluxe, Dan Pasternack, who's now an executive at the Independent Film Channel.

C: Do you write every day?

M: I write these "Morning Pages" most every day, three pages of whatever is in my brain. I take a lot of days off and vacation from comedy and work, so in terms of writing jokes, I usually only write on work days, Monday through Friday or when I have shows out of town.

C: Do you write new material for your stand-up act exclusively or are there other projects you're developing?

M: Right now, yes, only for stand-up. I'd like to be a part of a greater project. I am going to be in a Sony Webbisode series with the Sklar Brothers. And I think of ideas sometimes, but haven't had the desire to go out there and PITCH.

C: For many comedians, the career arc to success seems to follow a path: successful stand-up --> sitcom --> book. Is that by design or does it just seem to work out that way?

M: After you have the career, maybe people want to hear what it was like. I read Kathy Griffin's autobiography and it is FAN-TASTIC. I really enjoy hearing about the ups and downs of other performers. Steve Martin's was wonderful too.

C: Do you think the stereotype of the "sad (or angry) clown" is mostly a myth or apt?

M: I bet everyone is sad or angry or whatever all the time, but comedians talk about themselves a lot more than non-comedians and negative feelings are probably more interesting in a bar setting than joyful, happy feelings- so, I think it's slightly mythological, but at the same time creative people are supposed to be more sensitive and comedy is an isolated, high-pressure profession where you can be yelled at by radio dj's and drunks, so you might see more of the sad, angry clown in their workplace. I know the guy who works at my corner Copper Keg Liquor Store is a Sad, Angry Clown.

C: A question I ask of every person I meet from Minnesota: What's Prince like?

M: This is all hearsay, but he is tiny. Pay it forward.

C: Growing up, did you have a mentor or role model who encouraged your creativity?

M: The Theatre teacher, Mr. Blackburn, this creative kids program in grade school and my parents always were pumped for whatever we were doing.

C: Did you listen to stand-up comedians when you were growing up? If so, any that you would consider influences

M: Steve Martin and Eddie Murphy and Prairie Home Companion were listened to regularly- and we watched Saturday Night Live every weekend. I still listen to PHC and watch SNL.

C: Do you still play the violin?

M: No! I let it go six years ago; finally accepted that I don't enjoy it.

C: How important do you think utilizing "social media" is for artists in general and comedians in particular?

M: I used to send out postcards and hand them out to people and now, people can find things out through friends more easily. I think it's important, but it also depends on what your vision or goals are. Maybe you're a steampunk comedian and you only find about about your shows through the Islamic Muezzin's call to prayer.

C: You gave fans a free special performance as a download for Christmas. I didn't get you anything in return. If I had, what would you have liked?

M: A couple of chickens.

C: Many comedy clubs have "wacky" names. If you owned a club, what would you call it?

M: The Broads-way- LA's Only Ladies Only Comedy Club!

"Lady Dynamite" is on Netflix and airs anytime you want, because it's on Netflix.

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