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Værker af Maria Bamford

Associated Works

Bedtime Stories for Cynics (2019) — Fortæller — 41 eksemplarer
McSweeney's Issue 61 (McSweeney's Quarterly Concern) (2020) — Bidragyder — 28 eksemplarer
Lady Dynamite: Season 1 — Actor — 1 eksemplar
Lady Dynamite: Season 2 — Actor — 1 eksemplar
Quiz Lady [2023 film] (2023) — Actor — 1 eksemplar

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Maria Bamford is funny, but she’s never been my favorite. This book is probably more interesting if you’ve followed her career more closely than I have. It’s got its moments. It’s just a lot of mental jumping around for a life story I’m not that invested in.
jnoshields | 4 andre anmeldelser | Apr 10, 2024 |
Amazing and weird and hilarious, just like her. And so damn honest, which is inspiring.
gonzocc | 4 andre anmeldelser | Mar 31, 2024 |
It’s Not as Bad as She Thinks
Disclaimer/Trigger Warning/Cowardly “Don’t Blame Me” Plea/Whatevs
Maria Bamford is a fantastic comedian, actor, voiceover artist, etc. who is also an Atheist. Though she is a member of several 12 step groups, to her mind their very structure and rules of the game make them a cult. She is an incredibly honest person, and through her discussion of her own mental health issues has helped countless folks including me. If these perspectives trouble you, then you can, as she has said in the past, “rest in the glorious knowledge I am wrong.”
Now, on with the show.
I listened to the audiobook version of “Sure, I’ll Join Your Cult” read by the author, Maria Bamford. Her unique childlike voice (childlike = YES, Dumb = No) chronicles how her journey growing up on the Minnesota tundra as an upper-middle-class white girl with a religious mother, a physician father, and a family hero supersister, forged one of the early 21st century’s great comedic voices, and notable mental health advocates.
A Duluthian psychiatric child prodigy Maria started her impressive collection of diagnoses as a little girl. OCD, depression, bipolar, anxiety disorder, and sexual addiction (this one waited to appear until it was age-appropriate), were all part of the recipe. Stir in some typical childhood traumas, some thankfully not very typical traumas, a touch of family dysfunction and genetic predisposition to mental illness, and you’re on your way to a Bamford bunt cake. Stir for 50ish years, mixing in some incredible talent and work ethic, and enjoy the scrumptious healing humor.
Admittedly, as a friend of Bill W. for the past 30ish years, I was leary when she began labeling the cultish features of 12-step programs. Just because I can bad mouth my sponsor and home group, doesn’t mean you can. I’d like to think my pre-pissed-off stance was one of righteous indignation, but it was more likely my ego’s allergic reaction. Ironically, I had to jump many of the same philosophical and theoretical hurdles Maria described when I first entered the rooms.
Blossom, Maria’s first pug, was the only Higher Power Maria acknowledged. After Blossom was eternally kenneled, there was no other deity that could fit the bill. Speaking of paying one’s spiritual bills, Maria and her husband Scott, both ethically competitive, give 11% of their income to charity, one percent more than the traditional biblical tithe. The preacher used to always say, “Spiritual is as spiritual does” (He may have stolen that line), so if caring and compassion are measurements on God’s Fujita Scale, Maria’s treatment of others is definitely a F-4. (Jesus, Mister Rogers, and Eleanor Roosevelt being the only F-5’s thus far discovered by science.)
The abyss has sprung into Maria’s path several times in her life. She has discovered that some help is better than no help. This is where my understanding of recovery deviates most from Maria’s. While I’ve accepted the harm reduction model of recovery, I still find myself hesitant to use it. One of the examples Maria offers as an alternative to suicide is trying meth. WHAT! While that goes against every bit of intuition I possess, Maria’s point is an obvious one that is hard to argue with — any help, even ridiculously bad help, is better than suicide. As long you are alive, the hope of recovery exists. Among addicted folk in recovery, this is not an uncommon concept, but certainly an uncomfortable one.
Maria’s not shy about admitting that she often “overshares” pieces of her life. In the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous we find the admonition to develop a manner of living that demands rigorous honesty. RIGORUS, not absolute honesty. There are times when the difference between the two words can be of paramount importance. I could have done without knowing that after her mother passed her father came to her and her sister Sarah with their mother’s sex toys offering the soul suave, “I know your mother would have wanted you girls to have these.”
I’m grateful to God as I understand Him for all of Maria’s inspiring work, and to be honest, her uninspiring work as well. “Sure, I’ll Join Your Cult” is Maria’s “experience, strength, and hope” and is more entertaining than the Power Puff Girls vs Marilyn Manson in a cage match. “Go get yourself any kind of shitty-ass help” is Maria’s plea. Life may suck, but it beats the alternative. And besides, Maria’s definition of “shitty-ass” help is a tad warped. I found “Sure, I’ll Join Your Cult” to be wonderfully helpful, only mildly uncomfortable, and gloriously funny.
… (mere)
lanewillson | 4 andre anmeldelser | Oct 18, 2023 |
Maria Bamford straddles that metaphorical line between (comic) genius and madness. She is full of insecurities and neuroses, but she is funny. As funny as anyone on the standup circuit today. So I looked forward to her first book. Like almost all first books, Sure I’ll Join Your Cult is autobiographical. But this one is a total purge. It can be cringeworthy and uncomfortable, and for a lot of people it might be too much. But its saving grace is that it is also funny. Throughout. In a Maria Bamford way.

Bamford not only wears her cognitive defects openly, she employs them for her comedy. She is not constrained by the boring rules of polite society, medical privacy, or human decency. She is defective, admits it, wears it openly, and makes great bits from it. She is as close to a female Jonathan Winters as I have ever seen. She contorts her face to create characters. She gives them unique voices, regional accents and stereotypical cadences, just like Winters did.

She also entertains, just like he did. She will perform for anyone she encounters while out, or invite them into her home for a performance. So she, like he, is always On, always honing her craft. The only difference is in the degree of improv. Where Jonathan Winters could wing it with any prop or even just a prompt, Bamford is highly practiced and often very polished. She rehearses (and videos) in front of mirrors, performs for family, neighbors, friends and total strangers, but it is her act she is performing, tweaking and improving, not one-off improvs that are spouting from her head in realtime. This is in no way a criticism, but an observation. Bamford is not Jonathan Winters. She is her own creation.

The book is an endless merry-go-round of mental disabilities, from obsessively parking illegally to being unable to look people in the eye, to hand tremors and various flavors of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, OCD. She has been in and out of psych wards (just like Winters), dealt with all kinds of therapists and taken so many pills she can’t remember them all (though she tries to list them). She describes her persona as: “I eat breakfast from the bottom of my purse, I skim and react to texts, I yell apologies while crashing into your car. I’m fun to watch from a distance in that I give you a sense of superiority.” Having a stable relationship with another unstable person is the accomplishment of a lifetime that she is fiercely (and justifiably) proud of. Beats all those years of one night stands with total strangers.

But this is America, and who wouldn’t be neurotic when for example, she was named Employee of the Month at Nickelodeon corporate, and then fired the same month. And then asked back to do voiceovers.

The main theme in the book is the variety of programs she has signed up for in order to cope with her self-recognized defects. She calls these services cults. They all seem to have 12 step programs, forcing participants to daily publicly admit their failures in a circle of other failures, and sponsors to talk them through the day and stay on the program, all of which contribute to her description of them as social bulimia. There are Dale Carnegie courses, Alcoholics Anonymous, Debtors Anonymous, Overeaters Anonymous, Recovering Couples Anonymous, and so on. She tries them all, and really works to keep going with them. Because she recognizes she is weak, defective, and gullible. Gullible to the daily scams of American life. They do not stop her from being intricately observant of the most trivial details. Quite possibly, they enhance those abilities. And she leverages them into great comedic bits.

She comes to the programs through the realization she is not alone: “I thought that I must be an unfathomable outlier (as we all thought we were prior to the internet),” she says. But she is hardly alone, as 25% of Americans suffer from some condition of mental disability.

The book reflects her rollercoaster. It swings wildly from plain text to all caps, periods of italics and unexplained bolds. She inserts icons to denote old material being recycled, striking lightening for backlash due to writing about the secret 12 step programs, a money bag to denote financial information that really shouldn’t be there (like her income statement to show where the money goes – and why she needs to work more), and “recipes” that conclude most of the chapters. In other words, as out of the ordinary as she could make it. Whether all that succeeds or not is debatable. As she warns up front – this is not going to win a Pulitzer Prize.

Her comedic skill and polish can be seen any time in a nearly hourlong sit down standup special she made as a Christmas gift for her fans, about ten years ago. With the admonishment that viewers might have seen some of these bits before, she warns to remember: this is her Christmas gift to viewers, so just deal with it. She sits crosslegged on her couch doing a delightful range of characters using her face and hands, along with voices and attitudes. Great timing. Great flow. Great variety. Her characters include her obsessively nailbiting but fast-talking sister, and an office co-worker whose whole life is centered on possession of her stapler. It is a remarkable demonstration of range and discipline, without props, a set or an audience. It is her highest achievement in comedy, from my perspective. Just search bamford christmas at youtube. Then buy the book for why she is this way.

David Wineberg
… (mere)
DavidWineberg | 4 andre anmeldelser | Aug 21, 2023 |



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