Last week, I got to live out a childhood dream and talk to Maria Bamford, a woman I watched on many a standup special as a wee lad. She makes me laugh now just as much as she did then and her new My Damn Channel series, Ask My Mom! has a lot to do with that. Maria was kind enough to talk with Splitsider about the series and, without further ado, I present a very talented individual who’s also as humble as they come.
Did you make these on spec, just kind of for fun?
Yes. Well for me it was fun, but Precision Productions + Post and the producer Joseph Arnao put all the money towards it so it was risky for him, but yeah we were just doing it for fun.
A lot of established comics like you are taking the web space seriously. Is the web becoming more of a viable TV alternative?
It’s empowering for all of us, we can all make our own shows now whenever we want. People are making thousands of shows a day all over the world, which is awesome. I’ve made a web series before in 2008, I did a 20 episode web series, The Maria Bamford Show and I did that and that was a really positive experience. It’s great because you don’t have to settle in a business meeting where you have to have bottled water and talk about why you can’t do things. It’s wonderful, but I’m sure there’s less money in it, it appears.
What’s the biggest challenge for you in making one of these series?
I think it’s an all-win situation because it’s a much smaller thing and shorter, most are no more than three minutes so we shot all of them in one day and then you’re done! And there’s nobody there to check it out when there’s no legal department. Well maybe there was a legal department, but they never talked to me. It’s just a much more free process. I’m sure there’s a negative side to but it was all positive for me and I’m looking forward to doing more of these. Like doing a series with some other people because it is so much more accessible, to me anyways. I don’t have to have a million twitter followers and I don’t have to be a superstar to create something and put it out there.
What’s next for you in this space, or otherwise? What’s next on your project slate?
I’m working on something with a friend that isn’t finished yet, but it’s sort of an idea right now and we’re just kind of working it out with another comedian, Melinda Hill. And then I’m also just working on new standup and enjoying my life, that’s the main thing.
Enjoying your life is good!
Yeah, I don’t know. I’m a little bit of a slow boat because that’s not what’s important to me, the urgency; I like spending time with friends and family. Maybe that comes with the downside of not being at the top of the game in entertainment, but that’s okay. Some people think I have a lot of energy and can just do everything. I can do one thing a day, one thing, and then I’m done.
So once you brush your teeth in the morning, you’re done. That’s it.
Yeah. “Oh, I did that? Time to go have a beer.”
“I’m going to go get in bed.”
I’m doing this interview and then I’m gonna get an ice cream cone. I should have a better work ethic than that but it’s hard to know what the balance is. More would be better, but I’m not very clear on that. I’m definitely not working as hard as other people. People might think, “Why did she get into show business?” Well I think I have a pretty good reason, it’s me. [Laughs]
What advice do you have for people looking to break into the web space?
Well first, and I can’t speak for anyone else, I’m nervous too. I feel scared and self-conscious, especially because commenters can be pretty cruel. Don’t read comments! Do not read the comments, just enjoy making something and put it out there. Just do it. That’s the hard part, doing it, but you gotta do something and then do something else and do another thing. And that’s the great thing, that you can just keep making stuff, no matter what. Nobody can keep you from making stuff, and that’s the wonderful thing about this art is that I feel like I could do this my whole life, whether or not anybody cares or pays for it. And that’s awesome. Just make whatever you want, and put it on the net!
What are you waiting for? Go watch the show! Here are three reasons to, in case ya need ‘em, you ingrates.
Episodes are short, sweet, and hilarious and I want to watch many more. That’s the goal in all web series.
There’s a piece of Maria’s mom in every mom.
Whether she sees herself this way or not, Maria Bamford’s a star and that sure helps push a strong series forward. That and a Splitsider write-up. Kidding!