Wednesday, July 2, 2008

How to Win!

How to Win!
Maria Bamford
Published by: Stand Up Records in 2006

How to Win! is the most recent release of Ms. Bamford's comedy material on CD as of the publication of this article. In the future, CDs will probably be "quaint" but for now, this CD album resonates. Specifically, with people with the jokes about living in Los Angeles, working as a temp forever, and dealing with depression.

For instance, there's Maria talking about working for Disney and how when you work in the office, "They call you 'Cast Member,' like you're in a show or something, but you're in the shitty, boring part of the show nobody wants to watch."

Maria Bamford has an almost preternatural ability to change her voice. Yes, this has been mentioned before, and I will do no different. It's so much of a change from her normal voice (which some people say is "annoying" and which Maria refers to sounding like "James Earl Jones through a kazoo") that it's almost like a completely different person. I think what's best about this skill of hers is that she most often uses it to do impressions, and not impressions of people that are famous, but of people that aren't famous, but everybody knows.

For example, on this album, there's the leader of a corporate outing requesting more ways to build productivity through tragedy and fear, an American visiting Australia asking where the kangaroos and koalas are, and someone ordering coffee in L.A., and refusing it because it isn't organic.

Though I will say in this album she does a great impression of Alicia Keys. That's the only famous person you are going to her her do on this album, and good for her to not use the impression of her to put her in a stupid premise, such "Wouldn't it be funny if Alicia Keys worked as an air traffic controller?" Instead, it's used as example as how Alicia Keys can be as Maria puts it, "A silly goose" on her albums.

There are many stories about her family on her album, such as her sister talking about working as a forensic pathologist and talking about her work at the dinner table, her father as a collection of random noises, and her mother asking her to go buy some Vagasil.

There's further trials and tribulations of Maria, how comedy clubs often tell you nothing relevant about the stand-up acts at the club, and how dealing with therapists can be a hassle, and trying to use the Dale Carnegie sales course she was sent to as a teenager to try to influence her parents to let her be a roadie for R.E.O Speedwagon.

I'm guessing the title of the album comes from the Dale Carnegie book How to Win Friends and Influence People. I don't know.

Overall, it's a charming, entertaining, pain-filled disc of comedy.

Intriguing inside cover:

Boring, dull back cover:

Also available through Maria Bamford - How to Win!

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