Wednesday, March 26, 2014

A Little Bit o’ Bamford

I got to sit down with Maria Bamford, one of my favorite comedians, for no other reason than to talk food. Really, I just got to give her jumping-off points and let her do her thing. You can read the piece here.

photo by robyn von swank
As with most interviews, the final product left a bit out. For example, I omitted the part where she asked me about my hometown, mostly because I knew that the majority of humans who would read this piece would not want to know about the reporter’s hometown. (It was nice that she asked, however. Most moderately famous interview subjects wouldn’t bother.) Still, if you ever wanted to know how Maria Bamford would react to a description of Hollister, California, here you go.
Maria: When I was a baby, I went to the old KCET studios, my mom told me, because they’d pledged, and so they got a free bean bag chair with a kangaroo print on it — 1970.

Drew: Wait, you were a baby in Southern California?

Maria: I was a baby in Southern California. My dad was in the navy, so they drove down from Ventura, down from Port Hueneme. It’s not that interesting of a story, now that I’ve started it.

Drew: No, it is interesting. I think most of your fans know you as being from Minnesota.

Maria: Yeah, I did. Where did you grow up?

Drew: Hollister — inland from Monterey, basically.

Maria: Oh, what was that like?

Drew: Agricultural.

Maria: Was it blissful? Could you feel the sea air?

Drew: No, it gets really hot.

Maria: Okay, I can see that. I’m picturing it now. It sounds wonderful, but it was hot. Was it, like, Grapes of Wrath territory?

Drew: It was very John Steinbecky. He actually lived in that area and wrote about it a lot, so we got to read stories about awful things happening in places we knew.
For the sake of brevity, I also had to leave out Maria’s description of her dogs, even though the act of omitting information about dogs runs against everything that I have come to hold dear. Here is that:
Drew: But you do go to the Wizard of Art in Los Feliz, right? How is that?

Maria: It’s great! The wizard, whose name is Paul, is on Hillhurst in Los Feliz. The wizard and his wife, Donna, they’re so enthusiastic. And you just feel so proud. There is theory taught. You learn to see shapes and colors and tones and tints, but you’re also allowed to draw whatever the hell you want. Like, I always draw my dog over and over again. “Do you want to draw a landscape?” “No, I do not.” “Do you want to draw a live nude?” “No, I do not. Is it my dog live and nude? YES.”

Drew: You have two dogs?

Maria: I do. I have a Pug-huahua. I named her Blueberry because she’s sweet and quiet just like blueberries are! Do you know how quiet they are?! And then Burt, who’s a blind pug, is twelve. Now he just gets in the wagon. Me and boyfriend just wheel him around in the wagon. My neighbors were like “We saw this couple, and we thought someone had moved in who had a kid and then we were like ‘Oh, it’s Bert.” Bert’s initial name was like… Chandler, or something. It was like “What? Do you live in Valencia or something?” Bert used to be a cop. He’s a retired cop. And Blueberry was a nurse, and that’s what she’s so codependent. She’s always cleaning things.
So that’s my gift to you — a little cutting room floor something. I’ll point you again to the full article, but I’ll also draw your attention to a tidbit toward the end that you’ll probably enjoy if you read my blog: Maria Bamford based the voice of the Adventure Time character Hot Dog Princess (and also that of her stand-up character, “Did you steal my key lime pie Yoplait?”) on a girl she went to high school with. And I thought that was kind of awesome. Hear her explain it and even do the Hot Dog Princess voice:

This pleases me. Hot Dog Princess in general pleases me.

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