Sunday, May 29, 2016

Me & Maria

If we’re social media friends, then you may know that I scored a sit-down interview with Maria Bamford two years ago. And the reason you may know this is that I’ve been shamelessly dropping the following photo of Maria and me into conversations about Lady Dynamite on Facebook.

I’m not doing it to be a prick. It’s more that I’m so very stoked that an increasing number of people are hip to the fact that Maria Bamford is funny-awesome. Also? I really like the interview she gave me because it sums up a lot of the reasons I think she’s great. She’s funny. She’s exceedingly nice. We talk Adventure Time, flavors of Kettle Chips and the gentrification of east-of-Hollywood Los Angeles, among other things. This is why I got into journalism.

Keeping in mind my pride about this interview, you can imagine how excited I got when I was chopping zucchini while watching the fifth episode of Lady Dynamite and saw it flash to Maria’s character’s OK Cupid profile.

See, this jumped out at me because that profile photo came from my piece.

Someone else’s piece? No. Not at all. My fucking piece. My motherfucking fucking piece.

Robyn von Swank, who has photographed many an L.A. comedian, took that photo of Maria Bamford at Camilo’s in Eagle Rock, specifically for the article. The piece, by the way, was meant to be the kickoff to a whole series of sit-downs with comedians about late-night eats, but it was nixed by my station’s higher-ups for reasons that I was never too clear about. (Whatever.) Even if the column didn’t grow into a series, I’m happy it has apparently lived on as a teeny-tiny bit of one of the more wonderfully weird TV thingums I’ve seen in recent memory. Seriously—with Jessica Jones and Kimmy Schmidt and this, Netflix is offering me the offbeat heroines that no traditional network has been lately.

A sensible writer would end the story there, but there’s this one extra bit that I feel a need to mention—but with the preface/trigger warning that it’s cat-related.

Before Thurman became part of my life, the closest thing I had to a pet was Mayo, an obnoxiously loud white cat who lived in a house on the way to my gym. He’d visited my home before, but he mysteriously vanished shortly before Thurman moved in, and I’ve been quietly hoping that he found his own happiness and that’s what I can credit with causing his quietness. Last night, I finished the fourth episode of Lady Dynamite, which has Maria and Brandon Routh appearing in a photo montage that I’m 99-percent sure was shot in my neighborhood. The montage guest-stars a white cat that I think is Mayo and certainly hope is Mayo, now all flossy and Netflix-ready, though I admit that hope is based more of the fact that I want a happy ending for this animal than it is any real kind of certainty that Mayo crossed over into Hollywood stardom.

I suppose I could reach out, but I question how much could actually be gained from something along the lines of “Hi, Maria! This is Drew. From the restaurant? I like your computer show. I was wondering: Is the cat in episode four a boy? Was he offensively loud? Has he found happiness?” Surely there are better reasons to bother a famous person. I shall let this remain a mystery, and I will hope in my heart-of-hearts that I could have crossed spiritual paths with Lady Dynamite more than once.

In closing, here is a screengrab of the “Oh, that’s a bummer” scientist puppy shortly before his assassination by Adam Pally.