Review: The Irrelevant Redundancy, MICF

Thuy On

A small, bird-bone figure with a mass of blonde hair, Maria Bamford looks the picture of demure innocence, but this comic has a dirty mouth and a rather messy brain.
Review: The Irrelevant Redundancy, MICF

Maria Bamford.

Her first appearance in Melbourne since 2011, the American comedian seems a little more fragile than last time she made it to Australian shores.

For those who haven’t seen her before, appearances can be a bit deceptive. A small, bird-bone figure with a mass of blonde hair, Maria Bamford looks the picture of demure innocence, but this comic has a dirty mouth and a rather messy brain.

A lot of her past comedy riffs on her mental health issues and her medicated condition; she is not afraid to go there – to mine her own life for material. (She promptly makes fun of her hand tremor straight up in case we failed to notice it.)

ADVERTISEMENT

In this show she spends a bit of time on Trump first and her attempts to remove him from Office but he’s an easy target and old hat. Bamford is on firmer ground when she uses her family – specifically her parents and her husband – to good effect.

She is a voice actress, meaning she takes on the characterisations of her subjects and surprisingly can drop an octave or two lower in register so her voice takes on a deep timbre. Her recounting of the role play seduction scenarios with her partner is surreal.

Other topics randomly explored include: picking on annoying slogan T-shirts and Vaguebooking, being part of a celebrity chef reality show, waging a battle to be paid as a creative and fighting it out with her mum over three case scenarios on who is the better person.

Bamford is certainly not for everyone: she squeaks, growls and jerks around and can even be a bit scary; her jokes are not routine one-liners either but involve perverse and often elaborate set pieces. Sometimes it's more about the delivery than the actual pay-off killer final line. 

3 stars ★★★
The Irrelevant Redundancy
Maria Bamford

9-13 April 2019
Melbourne International Comedy Festival

 

About the author

Thuy On is a freelance literary journalist and critic and the books editor of The Big Issue.