If weakness is Maria Bamford's brand, then I wanna buy the (holey) t-shirt.
Enough with perfectionism and the high-achieving Karens of the world. In her new stand-up special Weakness Is the Brand, Maria Bamford weaves together her trademark vulnerability, self-deprecation, and quirkiness into a refreshingly relatable comedy show that's fueled by glaring imperfections.
"I persist at half-steam," she says at one point, "generating 11 new minutes of comedy material per decade!"
This is the first new material we've seen from Bamford in three years—a fact she pokes fun at and blames on her "anti-psychotic meds." Known for experimenting with show formats and filming comedy specials in her own living room (or even in her front yard), Bamford opts for a traditional stage setting this time, which unifies the performance and provides solid ground under the (seemingly) loose cannon of her stream-of-consciousness thought.
It's not really stream-of-consciousness, though, and that's what makes Bamford so brilliant.
She has been open about her mental health issues and how her struggles and experiences provide most of the fodder for her act. But somehow she pieces it all together into a seamless story, which she tells masterfully, giving us a hilarious peek into her relationship with her elderly parents, as well as her husband Scott. All of it is presented via a childlike shtick that is both endearing and crazy at the same time. And that's exactly what she intends—a show that's deliberately all over the map, and we're just along for the wild ride!
Check out the trailer for Weakness Is the Brand here:
Possibly the greatest moment (spoiler!) is when Scott joins her onstage to perform a duet—an original composition the two came up with to sing when they've reached the "saturation point" with each other, parental interference, or even life itself. Silly though it is, the song has stuck with me in the days since I first watched Bamford's special, and now I jokingly sing it when I've reached my saturation point, too.
That's how you know it's top-notch comedy ... dare I say, even, strong?
Nah. Weakness is Bamford's brand, and I don't want to mess with that.
Released on January 28, Weakness Is the Brand was filmed in front of a live audience in Los Angeles and runs about one hour and 15 minutes. It's available through Comedy Dynamics Networks, including Spectrum, iTunes, and Amazon.