Bamford in 2008
|Birth name||Maria Elizabeth Sheldon Bamford|
|Born||September 3, 1970|
Port Hueneme, California, U.S.
|Medium||Stand-up, television, film|
|Alma mater||University of Minnesota (BA)|
|Genres||Observational comedy, character comedy, surreal humor, alternative comedy, dark comedy|
|Subject(s)||Pop culture, personal life, mental health|
Scott Marvel Cassidy
Maria Elizabeth Sheldon Bamford (born September 3, 1970) is an American stand-up comedian, actress, and voice actress. She is best known for her portrayal of her dysfunctional family and self-deprecating comedy involving jokes about depression and anxiety.
Her first comedy album and tour was The Burning Bridges Tour (2003), followed by eight more albums and specials to date. She appeared in one of her first feature films, Lucky Numbers (2000), before lending her voice to characters on many different animated shows, including Shriek on CatDog, and many more characters on American Dad!, Ugly Americans, Adventure Time, and BoJack Horseman. Bamford's film work includes Stuart Little 2 (2002), Charlotte's Web 2: Wilbur's Great Adventure (2003), Barnyard (2006), Heckler (2007), and Hell and Back (2015). She voices Talking Ginger and Talking Becca in the Talking Tom and Friends web series. She transitioned into television by appearing in Louie (2012), Arrested Development (2013–2019), and WordGirl (2007–2015). In 2014, she won the American Comedy Award for Best Club Comic.
Her life story is the subject of the 2016 Netflix original series Lady Dynamite, in which she plays the lead role. Her work has drawn critical acclaim as well as controversy as her subjects span from lighter to darker topics such as suicide and psychiatric conditions.
Early life and education
Maria Bamford was born on September 3, 1970 at the Port Hueneme Naval Base in Port Hueneme, California. At the time, her father, Joel Bamford, was serving as a Navy doctor. She grew up in Duluth, Minnesota, where she attended Chester Park Elementary and Duluth Marshall School. Bamford has stated that when she was younger she was often troubled with her anxiety, depression, and bouts of what she has called "Unwanted Thoughts Syndrome", a subset of obsessive–compulsive disorder.
Upon graduating high school, she attended Bates College in Lewiston, Maine, but in 1992, Bamford transferred to the University of Edinburgh in Scotland at the start of her junior year. While at the university she became the first female member of the college's improvised comedy group, The Improverts. After a year in Scotland, she transferred back to her home state and enrolled at the University of Minnesota, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in creative writing. She started doing stand-up in Minneapolis, Minnesota at age 19, at Stevie Ray's Comedy Cabaret.
Early comedy beginnings: 1998–2008
Bamford has been in a number of movies and television shows, including voice appearances in cartoons. She was the voice of Shriek DuBois in CatDog, a huge selection of secondary characters in Cartoon Network's Adventure Time, and Mrs. Botsford, Violet, and Leslie on the long running PBS educational series WordGirl. She does various impersonations (including her mother and her agent). Her stand-up comedy often takes the form of vignettes rather than the standard setup/punchline format.
Bamford was featured in the documentary series The Comedians of Comedy on Comedy Central and Showtime, and appears in short skits titled The Maria Bamford Show, broadcast on the website Super Deluxe. She appears on the comedy compilation CD Comedy Death-Ray.
Rise to prominence: 2008–2014
Her album Unwanted Thoughts Syndrome, produced by Comedy Central Records, was released in April 2009 and includes a DVD containing The Maria Bamford Show episodes. During the Christmas 2009-2010 shopping seasons, Bamford was featured in a series of Target commercials, portraying an overachieving shopper determined to be first in line. For Christmas 2009, she released a free stand-up special online as a gift to her fans.
While working in voice-over shows and advertisements in Los Angeles, she was hospitalized three times over the course of 18 months for nervous breakdowns. She commented on the hospital visits by saying "it was the responsible thing to do" after she felt "suicidal" and "dispirited". At the time she was seeing a therapist weekly and a psychiatrist every three months.
In 2012 she released The Special Special Special for download through Chill.com. The special was recorded at her own home in Los Angeles with only Bamford's parents present as the audience and is now available on Netflix.
In 2013, Bamford created and starred in a web series called Ask My Mom. Maria plays both herself and her mother, who answers questions sent in by fans. Also in 2013, Bamford appeared as herself in one episode of the interview web series All Growz Up with Melinda Hill. She provides the voice of Pema in Nickelodeon cartoon The Legend of Korra.
In 2013, she appeared in season four of Arrested Development as Debrie Bardeaux, Tobias Fünke's love interest. The series creator noted Bamford as a comical "genius" and said that "real artists [like Maria] talk about things that nobody else talks about, and talk about them candidly." She remained on the series until it concluded in 2019.
Lady Dynamite and critical acclaim: 2014–present
She appeared in Season 3 of Louis C.K.'s Louie. In 2014, she co-created, wrote, and starred in The Program with Melinda Hill, produced by Funny or Die. In 2014, she won the American Comedy Award for Best Club Comic. In January 2016, she was a guest on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, where host Stephen Colbert called her his "favorite comedian on planet Earth".
In early 2016, Netflix announced the creation of an original series based on Bamford's life. The series, called Lady Dynamite, has Bamford in the lead role. In May 2016, the series went live on the Netflix streaming service. Bamford was asked to be involved in the writing process. She did not write any episodes herself, but was often in the writers' room, discussing ideas and "hanging out" with the writers. The writers had freedom to modify her experiences for creative purposes.
In May 2017, Bamford was the commencement speaker for the University of Minnesota's College of Liberal Arts. During the speech, she gave a cheque made out to Sallie Mae for $5,000, her net speaking fee, to a graduate in the audience who had student loans.
Comedy and mannerisms
Bamford's unique comedic style has drawn praise and criticism. She is best known for her portrayal of her dysfunctional family and self-deprecating comedy involving jokes about depression and anxiety. Her comedy style is surreal and incorporates voice impressions of various character types. Zach Freeman of the Chicago Tribune has noted her content and comedic style as "comically erratic" with "seemingly unrelated tangents and constantly varying vocal inflections". David Sims of The Atlantic noted her roles and voice work as having themes of "serial passivity" stemming from her "polite upbringing and own internal anxieties". Film producer Judd Apatow has described her comedic style as "complex" and "bizarre", later calling her "the funniest woman in the world". Variety described Bamford's comedic performance in her show, Lady Dynamite, saying that "the actress and comedian, whose presence has rarely been used as well as it is here, manages the neat trick of being both believably guileless and winningly sharp." A 2014 New York Times profile of Bamford noted her comedic style by saying:
Much of Bamford’s work examines the relationship between “people” — generally well-intentioned friends and family — and those who grapple with depression or anxiety or any other challenge to the psyche. Her act is a series of monologues and mini-skits performed rapid fire and often without regard for transition. Deploying a range of deadpan voices, she mimics the faux-enlightened who hover around the afflicted, offering toothless platitudes, bootstrapping pep talks or concern warped by self-interest. The humor of any given moment relies not so much on punch lines as it does on the impeccably timed swerves of her tone, the interplay between Bamford’s persona and those of all the people who don’t get her.
Bamford stated in an interview with The Salt Lake Tribune that she has been diagnosed with bipolar II disorder, "the new gladiator sandal," as she puts it in her comic performances, as well as obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD).
On December 11, 2014, during her show at the Neptune Theater in Seattle, Bamford announced that she was engaged to artist Scott Marvel Cassidy. They were married at a private ceremony in 2015. Bamford has one sister, Sarah Seidelmann, who is a life coach and shaman. She has a private residence in Los Angeles, California as well as a home in Altadena, California. She is also a fan of pugs, and typically owns at least one senior pug at any given time.
|2000||Lucky Numbers||Wendy the Waitress|
|2002||Stuart Little 2||Teacher|
|2003||Charlotte's Web 2: Wilbur's Great Adventure||Aranea / Button / Additional Voices (voice)|
|2005||The Comedians of Comedy||Herself|
|2006||Barnyard||Mrs. Beady (voice)|
|2014||Muffin Top: A Love Story||Angelique|
|2015||Hell and Back||Gloria (voice)|
|2018||An Evening with Beverly Luff Linn||The Elegant Woman|
|2018||Seven Stages to Achieve Eternal Bliss||Cultist|
|1994||Mystery Science Theater 3000||Fiddler||Episode: "Bloodlust!"|
|1998||The Tom Show||Christy||Episode: "The Band"|
|1998–1999||Hey Arnold!||Mayor Dixie / various (voice)||3 episodes|
|1998–2005||CatDog||Shriek DuBois (voice)||58 episodes|
|1999||Dharma & Greg||Sandy||Episode: "Death & Violins"|
|1999–2004||Home Movies||Various voices||3 episodes|
|2000||Men in Black: The Series||(voice)||Episode: "The Back to School Syndrome"|
|2000–2001||The Trouble with Normal||Dora||2 episodes|
|2001–2007||Comedy Central Presents||Herself||2 episodes; also writer|
|2001–2002||Late Friday||Herself||2 episodes|
|2001||The Tonight Show with Jay Leno||Herself||2 episodes|
|2002||Premium Blend||Herself||1 episode|
|2003||Hey Monie!||Sex Education Teacher (voice)||Episode: "For Pet's Sake"|
|2003||The World Comedy Tour: Melbourne 2003||Herself||TV special|
|2004–2016||Jimmy Kimmel Live!||Herself||2 episodes|
|2005||Tom Goes to the Mayor||Home Shopping Woman / Sandy (voice)||Episode: "Porcelain Birds"|
|2005||Coconut Fred's Fruit Salad Island||Melody / The Waiting Lady (voice)||2 episodes|
|2005–2015||The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson||Herself||4 episodes|
|2005||Rove Live||Herself||Episode #6.7|
|2006||Shorty McShorts' Shorts||(voice)||3 episodes|
|2007||American Dad!||Randy's Mother (voice)||Episode: "The 42-Year-Old Virgin"|
|2007–2008||Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!||Various||3 episodes|
|2007–2011||Back at the Barnyard||Mrs. Beady (voice)||30 episodes|
|2007–2015||WordGirl||Violet, Sally Botsford, various (voice)||87 episodes|
|2009||Sit Down, Shut Up||Various voices||9 episodes|
|2010||The Sarah Silverman Program||Mae Kadoodie||Episode: "Nightmayor"|
|2010||Check It Out! with Dr. Steve Brule||Cynthia Driscoll||Episode: "Health"|
|2010||Ugly Americans||Various voices||3 episodes|
|2010–2012||Kick Buttowski: Suburban Daredevil||"Wacky" Jackie Wackerman (voice)||7 episodes|
|2010–2011||John Oliver's New York Stand-Up Show||Herself||3 episodes|
|2010–2018||Adventure Time||Various voices||69 episodes|
|2011||Nick Swardson's Pretend Time||Linda Martin||Episode: "Flying Stripper"|
|2011||Conan||Herself||Episode: "Happy One Year Anniversary to Us, and to Lisa and Greg Drucker of Wayne, New Jersey"|
|2011||Adam Hills in Gordon Street Tonight||Herself||Episode #1.8|
|2011–2016||Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness||Chen (voice)||8 episodes|
|2012||Unsupervised||Various voices||7 episodes|
|2012–2014||The Legend of Korra||Pema / various (voice)||19 episodes|
|2013||Kroll Show||Denise Ryan||2 episodes|
|2013||Tales of Metropolis||Lois Lane (voice)||2 episodes|
|2013–2015||Golan the Insatiable||Carole Beekler (voice)||12 episodes|
|2013–2019||Arrested Development||Debrie Bardeaux||15 episodes|
|2013||The Nerdist||Herself||Episode: "Space!"|
|2014||The Program||Peace||2 episodes; also writer and executive producer|
|2014–2016||TripTank||Various voices||6 episodes|
|2014–2019||BoJack Horseman||Kelsey Jannings / various (voice)||9 episodes|
|2015||Comedy Bang! Bang!||Claire Coulter||Episode: "Maya Rudolph Wears a Black Skirt & Strappy Sandals"|
|2015||Clarence||Dillis (voice)||Episode: "Hurricane Dillis"|
|2015||Maron||Herself||Episode: "Mad Marc"|
|2015||Axe Cop||Various voices||3 episodes|
|2015||Your Pretty Face Is Going to Hell||The Thin Twins (voice)||Episode: "Psyklone and the Thin Twins"|
|2015||Pickle and Peanut||Kandy / various (voice)||Episode: "PAL-SCAN/America's Sweetboy"|
|2015–2016||Fresh Off the Boat||Principal Thomas||4 episodes|
|2015–2017||Pig Goat Banana Cricket||Various voices||4 episodes|
|2015–2017||Penn Zero: Part-Time Hero||Various voices||12 episodes|
|2015–2018||The Adventures of Puss in Boots||The Duchess (voice)||12 episodes|
|2016–2017||Lady Dynamite||Maria Bamford||20 episodes; also executive producer|
|2016||Take My Wife||Maria||Episode: "Punchline"|
|2016||Flophouse||Herself||Episode: "Haircuts at Babe Island"|
|2016||The Late Show with Stephen Colbert||Herself||Episode: "Scott Kelly/Abby Wambach/Maria Bamford"|
|2016–2019||Star vs. the Forces of Evil||Various voices||3 episodes|
|2017||Portlandia||Episode: "Misunderstood Miracles"|
|2017||We Bare Bears||Miss Chriss (voice)||Episode: "Panda's Art"|
|2017||Ginger Snaps||Vivian (voice)||10 episodes|
|2017||Downward Dog||Pepper (voice)||4 episodes|
|2017||Mighty Magiswords||Tara Byte 11.0 (voice)||Episode: "The Saga of Robopiggeh!"|
|2017||Bob's Burgers||Kendra / Catherine (voice)||Episode: "Sit Me Baby One More Time"|
|2017||Harvey Beaks||Grada (voice)||Episode: "The End and the Beginning"|
|2018||Liverspots and Astronots||Various voices||4 episodes|
|2018||Stan Against Evil||Nurse Pickles||Episode: "Intensive Scare Unit"|
|2018||The Shivering Truth||(voice)||Episode: "Tow and Shell"|
|2018||Worst Cooks in America||Herself||4 episodes|
|2018||Dream Corp LLC||Norf Norf||2 episodes|
|2019||SuperMansion||Teach (voice)||Episode: "Teacher and the Goof"|
|2019||Victor and Valentino||Guandelupe (voice)||Episode: "Los Cadejos"|
|2019||SpongeBob SquarePants||Macadamia, Hazelnut and Pistachio (voice)||Episode: "Sandy's Nutty Nieces/Insecurity Guards"|
|2019||Ask the StoryBots||Dr. Pat the Mad Scientist||Episode: "How Do Eyes See?"|
|2019–2020||The Rocketeer||Laura (voice)||6 episodes|
|2020||The Midnight Gospel||Various voices||2 episodes|
|2020||Butterbean's Café||Queen Batilda (voice)||Episode: "The Legend of the Shadow Bean"|
|2020||All That||Tammy TMI’s mom, Tammy||1 episode|
|2007||The Maria Bamford Show||Herself, her mother, her father, her sister, others|
|2012||SuperF*ckers||Princess Sunshine, Computer Fist (voice)|
|2012–2018||Bravest Warriors||Pixel, Gayle, Elves, others (voice)|
|2013||Ask My Mom||Herself, her mother Marilyn Bamford|
|2014–present||Talking Tom and Friends||Talking Ginger / Talking Becca (voice)|
|2017||Ave Maria Bamford||Herself||Also writer|
|2019–present||What's Your Ailment?!||Herself||Also executive producer|
- The Burning Bridges Tour (2003) [CD]
- How to WIN! (2007) [CD]
- Unwanted Thoughts Syndrome (2009) [CD]
- Plan B (2010) [DVD]
- The Special Special Special! (2012) [video download]
- Ask Me About My New God! (2013) [CD]
- 20% (2016) [CD]
- Maria Bamford: Old Baby (2017) [Netflix]
- Weakness Is the Brand (2020) [album/video]
- Bonanas for Bonanza (2020)
- "Maria Bamford". IMDb. Retrieved 2016-09-17.
- Steiner, Amanda Michelle (May 8, 2014). "American Comedy Awards Winners List: Bill Hader, Amy Poehler & More". Hollywood Life. Los Angeles, California: Penske Media Corporation. Retrieved June 13, 2015.
- Corbett, Sara (July 17, 2014). "The Weird, Scary and Ingenious Brain of Maria Bamford". The New York Times. New York City: New York Times Company. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved September 18, 2016.
- Keller, Joel (November 24, 2009). "Maria Bamford plays a demented shopper in new Target ads". TVSquad. AOL Television. Retrieved March 5, 2010.
- Maria Bamford's One-Hour Homemade Christmas Special! on Vimeo
- "Maria Bamford: the special special special!". Chill. November 29, 2012. Archived from the original on January 19, 2013. Retrieved July 20, 2013.
- Haglund, David (June 6, 2013). "Maria Bamford on Arrested Development and Her New Web Series, Ask My Mom!". Slate.com. San Francisco, California: The Slate Group. Retrieved June 10, 2013.
- Balthazar, Brian (September 25, 2013). ""All Growz Up" Talks To Maria Bamford In A Back Alley". popgoestheweek.com. Retrieved October 15, 2013.
- Onion, Rebecca. "Tobias gets served". Slate. Retrieved May 30, 2013.
- Bamford, Maria (July 20, 2012). "What it's like to work with Louis C. K." slate.com. San Francisco, California: The Slate Group. Retrieved January 21, 2014.
- "Maria Bamford, Melinda Hill's Funny Or Die series The Program features Jerry Minor, Oscar Nunez and more as Debtors Anonymous members (Videos)". LAUGHSPIN. Archived from the original on 29 November 2014. Retrieved 28 May 2015.
- "The Program Part 1: Visions". Funny or Die. Retrieved 28 May 2015.
- McCarthy, Sean L. (16 January 2016). "Maria Bamford on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert". The Comics Comic. Retrieved 19 January 2016.
- "Lady Dynamite". IMDb. May 20, 2016. Retrieved September 18, 2016.
- "Maria Bamford's Lady Dynamite comedy series is heading to Netflix". Entertainment Weekly. Meredith Corporation. June 19, 2015. Retrieved June 22, 2015.
- "Maria Bamford Announces 'Lady Dynamite' Premiere Date – With A Little Help". Deadline Hollywood. Los Angeles, California: Penske Media Corporation. February 23, 2016. Retrieved February 23, 2016.
- Fox, Jesse David (May 20, 2016). "Maria Bamford Walks You Through Lady Dynamite". Vulture.com. New York City: New York Media. Retrieved July 6, 2018.
- Jacoby Zoldan, Rachel (May 19, 2017). "This Graduation Speaker Made Her Entire Commencement Speech About Her Fee". Teen Vogue. Condé Nast. Retrieved May 22, 2017.
- Mullen, Mike (May 14, 2017). "Maria Bamford gives U of M theater arts grad $5,000 to pay down student loans". citypages. Retrieved February 11, 2020.
- "A Fresh Batch of Cooking-Challenged Celebrities Enter Boot Camp". Food Network.
- Freeeman, Zach (August 20, 2016). "Maria Bamford on edge and on point at the Athenaeum Theatre". Chicago Tribune. Chicago, Illinois: Tronc. Retrieved September 18, 2016.
- Sims, David (May 20, 2016). "Maria Bamford's 'Lady Dynamite' Is a Weird, Sweet Comedy". Retrieved September 18, 2016.
- Hill, Libby (February 24, 2016). "'Who is Maria Bamford?' Judd Apatow and others try to explain". Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles, California: Tronc. Retrieved September 18, 2016.
- Ryan, Maureen (May 17, 2016). "TV Review: 'Lady Dynamite'". Variety. Los Angeles, California: Penske Media Corporation. Retrieved August 6, 2016.
- Burger, David (June 22, 2011). "Comic Maria Bamford will cross personal boundaries at Utah show". The Salt Lake Tribune. Salt Laker City, Utah: Huntsman Family Investments, LLC.
I was re-diagnosed (after a three-day stay at the hospital) as Bipolar II
- Burch, Cathalena (September 4, 2014). "Comic takes on politics, understanding conservatives and suicide". Arizona Daily Star. Tucson, Arizona: Lee Enterprises. Retrieved December 31, 2014.
- "Episode 21: Maria Bamford and Grant Imahara". Go Fact Yourself (Podcast). MaximumFun. 2018-10-05. Event occurs at 24:30. Retrieved 2020-02-20.
- "Talking Tom and Friends - Meet the Cast". YouTube. 2017-01-19. Retrieved 2020-04-25.
- "Ave Maria Bamford - Topic". web.archive.org. 2017-12-21. Retrieved 2020-07-17.
- "What's Your Ailment? | Topic". web.archive.org. 2020-01-28. Retrieved 2020-07-17.
- Lutkin, Aimée (24 February 2017). "Here's How Much Comedian Maria Bamford Makes". Jezebel.com. Gizmodo Media Group. Retrieved 26 January 2019.