The standup comedian Maria Bamford sat down in a Brooklyn espresso retailer and waited for somebody with the Twitter handle @nugget_queen_ to affix her. “I’m in the least occasions to satisfy the individual,” she talked about. “I glimpse at their Twitter feed and I preserve, Oh, boy, I don’t know. Since you may per likelihood’t communicate from somebody’s social media what they’re going to be like in individual. You appropriate can’t.”
Bamford, who turned on town for 4 shows on the Bell Residence, is distinguished for her jittery, surreal monologues about psychological sickness, and suffers from a mixture of self-proclaimed laziness and efficiency worry, which might per likelihood compose it refined for her to rehearse. In 2018, she began issuing periodic invites, on Twitter, for followers who stay in cities the preserve aside she is performing to satisfy her for espresso and hearken to her skedaddle through her preserve before she performs. The sooner evening, she had posted such an invite, noting, “As in the least occasions, there will be victual and bev.”
A younger girl waved furiously at Bamford through the window. “Oh, hello!” Bamford known as. @nugget_queen_ turned Lena Ceretto, who had described herself in her response as a “twenty-two 12 months extinct nanny cut back NYU dropout.” She had been making a collage when she noticed Bamford’s tweet. (Bamford almost in the least occasions selects the primary individual to acknowledge. “Excluding as quickly as, in Florida, it turned somebody who turned ‘Recede Trump’ and ‘Earn America Intensive Once more,’ ” she talked about. “I do know we’re all human beings, however I felt like that will efficiently be a laborious one.”)
Ceretto had launched two Polaroid cameras. “Can I hug you?” she requested Bamford. “I turned almost on time, however then I forgot my psych meds.”
She ordered a croissant, and Bamford began her preserve. “So, uh . . . howdy, Brooklyn!” she began. The espresso machine shrieked.
When Bamford is addressing one individual, her comedic vogue—a childlike speaking converse intercut with squawks, growls, and a sultry baritone—each softens and intensifies. She taped her 2012 comedy particular, “The Explicit Explicit Explicit!,” with completely her of us for an viewers, in her entrance room. A 2017 documentary, “Broken-down Toddler,” follows her as she does her act before audiences of step by step rising dimension: first to her reflection in a mirror, then to her husband, then to a bunch of neighbors on a sidewalk bench, and, at remaining, to a packed theatre. On the Brooklyn espresso retailer, she from time to time directed her instant-fireplace patter into the center distance. Out of doors the window, a family in matching puffer coats peered at her.
Bamford turned carrying a velour sweater and large sparkly earrings, her blond hair streaked with pink highlights. Because of the drugs she takes, she has a tremor. (“Weak spot is the symbol!” she shouted at some point of her point out the following evening, sustaining out her quivering fingers.) Eight years inside the previous, when Bamford turned forty-one, she suffered a sequence of breakdowns and hospitalizations. Afterward, she wasn’t positive if she’d work once more. She’d beforehand made comedy in regards to the state of affairs of hanging ahead equilibrium on the psychological margins; a 2007 scripted Web sequence, “The Maria Bamford Pronounce,” depicted her, after a fictional breakdown, eager help in alongside along with her of us in Duluth. “It turned my worst apprehension,” she talked about. “Then it ended up occurring.”
In her newest objects, she treats the soundness that she’s found since then as a assemble of Pyrrhic victory. “I don’t uncover any authentic stuff” about psychological sickness, she tells her audiences. “I assumed per likelihood I’ll even merely tranquil catastrophe about that. Nevertheless then I remembered: I’m on antipsychotics, and it’s now not seemingly forme! To! Dread!”
The skedaddle-via concluded with a warbling music about coping with family members. (“We’re all menopausal! We appropriate had tequila! Let’s alternate the sphere!”) Ceretto applauded.
Bamford outlined that the one-person coffee-store point out turned now not all that totally different from on-line relationship. (Ahead of assembly her husband, in 2012, she went on “as a minimal seventy” on-line dates.) Courting apps, she talked about, “assemble of helped me budge, ‘Oh, other people are appropriate going to point up and be stress-free.’ ” In whole, the volunteers’ reactions had been positive. “I did uncover one the preserve aside the individual noticeably did now not snicker in the least,” she talked about. “Nevertheless he himself turned good.”
Ceretto confided to Bamford that she wished to review out standup comedy herself. “I really uncover jokes written down in my notes app,” she talked about. “It’s O.Okay. if I cease appropriate, like, 5 to seven minutes, applicable kind?”
“Oh, they gained’t allow you to stop additional than three,” Bamford talked about.
“I’ve religion like we’re going to stop that factor the preserve aside we discuss and discuss and by no method instruct goodbye,” Ceretto talked about.
“Oh, no, we’re staunch,” Bamford talked about, and stood up. ♦