The Rapidian

Maria Bamford brought her masterful comedy to Wealthy Theatre as part of Gilda's LaughFest

Boom goes the dynamite! On Friday, March 10th, Bamford performed two stand-up sets at Wealthy Theatre, as part of LaughFest. I attended the first, which was sold out.
Maria Bamford/ by Brian Kelly

Maria Bamford/ by Brian Kelly /Courtesy of Wealthy Theatre

Underwriting support from:
Wealthy Theatre staff with Maria Bamford/ by Brian Kelly

Wealthy Theatre staff with Maria Bamford/ by Brian Kelly /Courtesy of Wealthy Theatre

Maria Bamford/ by Brian Kelly

Maria Bamford/ by Brian Kelly /Courtesy of Wealthy Theatre

On her neon Netflix comedy Lady Dynamite, Maria Bamford (playing herself) shouts, "I have a show! What a great late-in-life opportunity!"

Well, requiescat in pace: it's had a show, now; Variety broke the news in January. Only two seasons, but she squeezed a lot in, everything from mordant social commentary to the dodging of pixelated nudity to a pug who talked like Werner Herzog.

On Friday, March 10th, Bamford performed two stand-up sets at Wealthy Theatre, as part of LaughFest. I attended the first, which was sold out.

She strutted onto the stage with partly ironic swagger. She looked ready to break into dance and, at several moments, did. If she shook occasionally, she attributed that to the meds (Bamford is bipolar).

What could have been a standard, earthbound set, similar to anyone's, levitated for whole thrilling sections. Almost everyone talks about sex and politics, but who else marries them so convincingly? Who else would reveal how, in role-play, she and her husband often reach for the scenario of gentrification? And then give us an exchange between the Longtime Resident Artist Being Squeezed Out By Rising Rents and The Naive But Enticing Gentrifier?

Many comedians do voices, but usually it's of voices we know; a lifetime ago, people did Schwarzenegger impersonations, and now it's Cardi B. Bamford, not bothering with that, did impressions of types (the breathily privileged middle-aged white woman or the midwestern non-profit director) and of her parents. She slipped in and out of these voices with impressive ease.

Comedy is surprise, and Bamford was often surprising. Even when she wasn't, as in "Saturation Point," a song about having had enough of your nearest and dearest, she got by on insight, wit and charm. That's more than enough consolation for those of us whose Netflix queues are looking paler and dimmer than they once did.

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