Maria Bamford Wants You to Know You’re Doing Great

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In her sublime new Netflix standup special, Old Baby, premiering on May 2nd, Maria Bamford performs a comedy set in increasingly larger venues. What begins as a few jokes in front of a mirror, progresses to a living room, onto a bowling alley, and so on, until she goes out with a bang on a big stage. The special is sparkling, her jokes are original, and her audience grows more hysterical with laughter as the size of the performance venue expands and shrinks. She is truly magnificent.

Maria Bamford is my favorite comedian. I admire everything she stands for as a comic and as a human being, and told her so in stream of barely intelligible gushing at the beginning of our interview. I rarely find myself star struck these days, but Bamford is special. Her comedy has served as somewhat of a lifeline to me during particularly dark times, and I was determined to repay her with a good interview. My enthusiasm was profuse and unsettling, but she accepted it with grace. Stephen Colbert may have proclaimed her to be his favorite comedian on planet earth, but she is my favorite comedian in the history of the universe and I wasn’t going to miss an opportunity to express my sincere gratitude and adoration.

I asked Bamford several relevant questions about her comedy special, but then, throwing caution to the wind, I dove in with the 36 questions. If you’re not familiar, the 36 questions refer to a study by the psychologist Arthur Aron (and others) that explores whether intimacy between two strangers can be accelerated by having them ask each other a specific series of personal questions. I had recently read Mandy Len Catron’s Modern Love essay, “To Fall in Love With Anyone, Do This,” and thought if there was ever a moment to accelerate intimacy, this interview was it. I asked Bamford if she’d heard of the 36 questions. She had. With genuine excitement she exclaimed, “let’s fall in love!” And we did. Or at least I did. Again.

READ THE FULL INTERVIEW ON SPLITSIDER

Ana Gasteyer Gets Into Character in ‘Lady Dynamite’

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“Legendary SNL cast member Ana Gasteyer lives up to her reputation on the brilliant new Netflix streaming comedy Lady Dynamite, on which she plays talent agent Karen Grisham. Created by Arrested Development‘s Mitch Hurwitz and writer/producer Pam Brady, Lady Dynamite follows comedian Maria Bamford (playing a version of herself) as she struggles with mental illness and her career in Hollywood.

If you’ve ever met a talent agent in the flesh, you’ve probably met someone like Gasteyer’s Karen Grisham. She chatters at the speed of light, flatters with abandon, and is prone to deranged bouts of irrational anger. Saying so much crazy so quickly was a challenge, but Gasteyer makes it look easy. Be forewarned: the jokes land swiftly, so it can be difficult to catch all the funny over the sound of your own laughter.

I caught up with Gasteyer on Lady Dynamite, her jazzy musical act, and method acting at the guacamole table.”

READ THE FULL INTERVIEW ON SPLITSIDER