Photo by Natalie Brasington

Crazy Good Comedy

Maria Bamford’s unique comedy comes to the McDonald

What do compulsive inappropriate thoughts, suicidal tendencies and cute raccoons have in common? They’re all frequent topics of Maria Bamford’s comedy.

Bamford brings her unique and self-reflective routine to the McDonald Theatre on Friday. Best known for her quirky Netflix series Lady Dynamite and rollicking stand-up special Old Baby, Bamford thrives by poking fun at her own history of mental illness — she has been diagnosed as bi-polar — and beckons audiences to laugh with her at her vulnerabilities.

Beyond the laughter, Bamford’s comedy is an honest and thought-provoking look at the struggles of mental illness. Her ability to explain or act out and then laugh off serious psychological issues is a true gift for her fans who have had similar experiences. She has the impressive ability to take the darkest inner fears, expose them as ridiculous and leave you laughing while also wondering whether laughter is entirely appropriate.

But Bamford, whose comedy seemingly wills itself out of her in staccato bursts, doesn’t rely solely on deep or psychological humor. Jokes like an exaggerated rendition of Paula Dean’s cooking show, the absurdity of binge-watching Netflix until you run out of genocide documentaries, and the tanning opportunities that come with climate change all hit the mark and show the breadth of her talent and wit.

If you’re unfamiliar with Bamford’s work, want to check her out for yourself and don’t have Netflix, a fun and short primer is her holiday special Ave Maria Bamford, in which she talks about holiday gifts such as being a single mother, having addiction problems and enduring unspeakable tragedies.

Go see Bamford for a guaranteed laugh and leave appreciating her honest self-reflection and what it means for those struggling with the same issues she has dealt with.

Bamford’s show is at the McDonald Theatre on Friday, Jan. 12. The all-ages show is 8 pm. Tickets are $37 at