The Best Comedy Albums of 2023
- 3 months ago
Maria Bamford: CROWD-PLEASER
From the jump, Maria Bamford brings her signature frantic, haphazard energy, doing a Chicago word association (“Hot dog, wind”) as she greets the audience. The Lady Dynamite actor is about as endearingly goofy as comedians get, and it’s because of this that her jokes, especially her diatribes about mental health, work so well. Bamford is a rare comic who can make you laugh about intrusive thoughts and suicidal ideation thanks to both her absurdity and unflinching frankness.
Key to Bamford’s silliness and, thus, her success is her voice. Referring to someone’s voice as an instrument can definitely elicit an eye roll from me, and yet no word feels more appropriate here. CROWD-PLEASER is consistently, characteristically Bamford—and by definition that means you’ll be surprised by her suddenly slipping into an accent or doing an impression of a helium-voice kiddo. Bamford will whisper ever so softly, and then yell out a joke with Oprah levels of loud grandiosity. Her mere delivery of lines is funny, devoid of context, because her voice is so effective. Bamford’s rhythmic patter during other parts borders on poetic, especially because of her careful word choice. Listening to this album makes you appreciate comedy as not just an art, but a craft. [Full Review]