It sounds so odd when comedian Maria Bamford starts fretting that her fans in Tucson might not be able to cough up the money for a ticket to her Rialto Theatre show Saturday.
“It’s a much bigger venue and I feel terrible that it’s going to be more expensive,” she said in a phone conversation from Los Angeles last week, comparing the Rialto prices to the price fans paid to see her in her 2010 Laffs Comedy Caffé show.
Then she quickly reconsiders, does a little shorthand math out loud and concludes that perhaps the Rialto ticket price evens out when you consider that there is no comedy club drink and food minimum to worry about.
Why the concern for the consumer?
“Well gosh, sometimes in my life I haven’t had cash. And it’s fun to see things, so I feel sad that somebody, if they have a limited income, would want to go and couldn’t go because of that,” she said in a delightfully rambling chat that covered her life in Los Angeles, her bouts with mental illness and her recent engagement.
What to expect when she goes on stage: “It’s developing. I put out an album a few years ago so I’m trying to let that go, but I think there is some material in there. There is a fair chunk about mental health issues — just a heads up for people who don’t want to hear about suicide on a Saturday night. But then I have some other things, human experience things. The experiences I have being a white 43-year-old woman in the United States.”
Let the wedding bells ring: “I have been dating a delightful man and we just got engaged. Neither of us have ever been engaged. So my friend Jackie (comedian Jackie Kashian, who opens for her Saturday) says if it’s over 40, it’s a spectacle. When you get married over 40 everybody comes because they thought you were dead.”
A liberal trying to understand the conservatives: “I am trying to be more appreciative of the conservative mindset, to listen to the emotions behind the words, to be a witness to the experience of others. To let myself go on a brain ride and in effect to listen better. But I don’t know why it is so incendiary between the (conservatives and liberals). Maybe it’s just the TV shows that are incendiary and not the actual people. It seems like people are more of a gray area.”
Unarmed in the wild west: “I will not be carrying a gun (in Arizona). All I have is a staple gun … that’s very dangerous. But I think I’ll leave it at home because I just think flyering the telephone poles about my show, it would be too hot outside. People aren’t walking outside.”
Battling the dark demons and living to laugh about it: “My experience (with depression) is it is unbearable. There are reasons you have to go into a hospital. At a certain point you can’t stop yourself from killing yourself because it’s unbearable. A number of people in my family have mental illness; we’ve had suicide in my family. … I had plans in place to kill myself, but at that moment where I had the pills in place and the idea and the urge, I thought … ‘I’m going to kill myself but I’m not crazy. I’m not going to a hospital. I’m not in pain’.”