By NATHAN SOLIS
The Pop-Hop bookstore in Highland Park will host Maria Bamford for the next three months as she works over new standup material with a changing roster of comedians in a workshop series. Her blend of humor is morbid, joyous, confessional and full of impressions. She does a great Paula Deen.
Bamford’s last comedy special was recorded in her Eagle Rock home with her parents hanging out on the couch. The special, aptly titled “The Special Special Special!” featured Bamford conversing with her dog in between bits and reciting recipes for gas station muffins.
This quasi email interview with Bamford – who has appeared on The Tonight Show, made programs for Comedy Central and been profiled by the New York Times – deals with her appreciation of the breakdown in R&B songs, what it takes to buy your parent’s laughter and her Low Stakes Workshop in Highland Park.
How developed is your material before you start a workshop show?
Well, some will be prepared, but I’m just trying to set VERY LOW EXPECTATIONS.
I imagine that people approach you and thank you for openly speaking about mental health issues on stage. Did that initial response from fans give you pause?
It makes me feel useful. I hope it isn’t depressing to anyone, but if it is, the great thing about show business is that it is very easy to ignore or turn off.
You included your parents (along with your dog) in your special. Was that a gradual acceptance from them or did you have to work them over to play along with your bit?
No working over – just $300 bucks a piece.
Are there any new R&B songs or any music that you’ve been listening to lately?
I am interested in the new tune where the gent says something to the effect, “I don’t mind you being a stripper because you make a lot of money and I respect that.” So many sentiments in there.
Why did you choose Pop-Hop, a bookstore, as your place to workshop material?
Sloth. It is close to my house and I know Robey [one of the owners of Pop-Hop] and go to Café de Leche every day.
Nathan Solis is a Highland Park resident who writes about and photographs the L.A. music scene. You can find more of Solis’ stories, reviews and photos at Avenue Meander.