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Posts tagged as mental illness

The Altruism of Comedy

Maria Bamford tested out a brilliant new set on a Thursday night in January at UCB Sunset’s bicoastal standup comedy show, Fresh Out!, hosted by Emily Heller and Adam Conover. Bamford’s material on mental illness has undergone a hilarious and heartwarming evolution from her personal struggles with OCD, Bipolar II, anxiety and depression to include the couple’s therapy she now attends with her fiancé, Scott Marvel Cassidy.

In a hysterical musical tribute to her couples therapist “Carol Grisham,” Bamford satirizes her anxieties about Cassidy urinating in the backyard leading to a Grey Gardens lifestyle and Cassidy’s existential angst about Bamford accidentally locking him in the garage. The [...]

Maria Bamford Tries to Find the Humor in Mental Illness

"Yeah. I have a joke about how people don’t talk about mental illness the way they do other regular illnesses. 'Well, apparently Jeff has cancer. Uh, I have cancer. We all have cancer. You go to chemotherapy you get it taken care of, am I right? You get back to work.' Or: 'I was dating this chick, and three months in, she tells me that she wears glasses, and she’s been wearing contact lenses all this time. She needs help seeing. I was like, listen, I’m not into all that Western medicine shit. If you want to see, then work at it. Figure out how not to be so myopic. You know?' [...]

Maria Bamford and the Cathartic Comedy of Mental Illness

Maria Bamford is launching a revolution from her microphone. In less than two years, Bamford has survived the death of her best friend — her pug, Blossom — and a battle with depression, suicide, and hospitalization. The result: Her stand-up contains some of the most transformative work being done around mental illness and stigma today.

Last Monday, comedian Mike Birbiglia Tweeted, “Saw [Maria Bamford] tonight at Caroline's. I've never seen a comedian who made me want to give 25 standing ovations in one set.” He wasn’t alone.

I have seen Maria Bamford perform for almost eight years, primarily at the now-shuttered Lakeshore Theatre in Chicago. Her act has always been [...]

The Uneasy Relationship Between Mental Illness and Comedy

I had to take a Xanax to write this article. My anxiety makes it hard to start; my depression and self-doubt make it hard to come to any conclusion. And so, in classic neurotic fashion, I begin with skepticism:

“Are you SERIOUS?" Marc Maron asked me, presumably rhetorically, upon hearing my reason for calling him. I don’t think he was trying to be mean. It seemed like genuine disbelief.

I told him that I was. That I believed — in the face of countless evidence to the contrary — that mental illness was an obstacle to good comedy and not a tool for its deployment. That there exists a [...]