Maria Bamford Queen Elizabeth Theatre, Toronto ON, September 22
Published Sep 23, 2016"Do you even write anymore?" Maria Bamford asked herself as she closed her show. It's a fair point: Bamford is known for being surreally wordy, but her new hour has a considerable amount of random dance moves and goofy simple bits.
Fans of Bamford who knew her for more than Lady Dynamite were surprised to see her moving around the stage like a confident observational comic, completely abandoning her usual captivatingly tense, stationary delivery. She avoided becoming generic in her physical humour by analyzing herself in quirky ways along the way, but it was still strange to see Bamford embrace a new sense of humour.
She still succeeded in this new territory, but she didn't master this new element as astoundingly as her trademark, inimitable style that made people like Judd Apatow and Stephen Colbert call her one of their favourite comics.
A major theme of Bamford's hour was relationships. In her performance, she compared how people in relationships and people who are famous often sound similar when giving advice on how to find happiness like them, plus she darkly put positive spins on the serious confessions of her exes. The Arrested Development guest star also shared that her husband adorably offered to shave her beard if she was ever taken to a psych ward in her old age, and performed a song about the couples' therapy she's done with her husband that heavily featured a chant of "Sheryl Hersham," her therapist's name. Those who knew Bamford well were not only amused by the hyper material, but also by the fact that Sheryl Hersham sounds stunningly like Karen Grisham, a character in Lady Dynamite.
Bamford also described sex as an enchantingly weird lists of fluids, talked about her weird eating habits, portrayed herself as a raccoon that can "digest ceiling tile" and told the audience she had a video playing beside the stage of a turtle eating fruit that she liked to glance at just to boost her morale.
Additionally, she told two painful yet amazingly funny stories: one about going through an emotional breakdown while seeing Warhorse, the other about starting a new mood stabilizer that wouldn't let her talk or think just before a series of standup shows.
Bamford's best friend Jackie Kashian performed a set before her that centred around Kashian's life as an antisocial nerd. She recounted telling her gym teacher she had no friends and explained how she learned to be friendly, plus she gave some insights about what it's like to married to a game designer. Best of all, she framed her mother's early death as the ultimate Irish Goodbye, and it shocked the audience into bursting into grim laughter.