Maria Bamford sees visions 

Maria Bamford is admittedly quite the self-help enthusiast.

"I love self-help," she says. "I love improving. I don’t even know if I’m improving at all. I just love the process."

So, it’s only natural that the cartoon-voiced Comedians of Comedy dame — she’s known for her rapid-fire impersonations that run the gamut from overly enthusiastic office co-workers to her well-intentioned but critical Minnesotan mother, Marilyn — pumps up for the new year by assembling a vision board.

Each year, the master mimic cuts out pictures and pastes them onto a poster board in hopes of attracting events or circumstances to manifest her goals. So far, the ritual seems to have been pretty effective — sort of.

"One year I put a picture of a microwave on it and my sister saw it and said, ‘Oh God, that’s pathetic. I’ll get you a damn microwave,’" Bamford says, slightly changing the pitch of her voice to reflect her sister Sarah.

"Having people see how pathetic your dreams are can help those dreams come true," she jokes.

Bamford, who performs next week at the seventh Sketchfest — and returns to San Francisco in February for two shows at the Punchline — admits that one of her long-standing ambitions has been to star in a sitcom.

While the vision board has yet to deliver in that department, it hasn’t kept her from creating her own series for the Web site Super Deluxe.

The premise of Bamford’s self-titled show centers around a nervous breakdown that sends the comedian on a cross-country road trip (wearing a blond wig and a bathing suit), looking for angels with a drug dealer named Lips; she lands back home in Duluth, Minn., where she lives in her parents’ attic and shoots her own sitcom with her pug pooch, Blossom.

In each episode, Bamford alone assumes the role of every character with the help of her trusty collection of voices.

"It was a satisfying creative thing for me because I’ve always wanted to be on a sitcom and yet I haven’t been able to get on one," she says. "I thought, ‘Oh, I’ll just make my own.’"

Bamford, who pokes fun about her own issues with depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder, wonders if it’s a good idea to joke about suffering a mental breakdown onstage. At any rate, she says the show has certainly helped her face the fear.

Up next, the amiable comic plans to pitch an animated series to Super Deluxe about a 10-year-old girl who has obsessive-compulsive disorder and the anxiety of unwanted dark, creepy thoughts. Naturally, the little girl is based on herself.

"It’s all happening, man," says Bamford. "It’s all on the vision board."

IF YOU GO

Sketchfest

Where: Various locations, see Web site

When: Today through Jan. 27

Contact: (415) 398-3125 or www.sfsketchfest.com

» Maria Bamford: ‘An Evening with Dr. Katz’

Where: Eureka Theatre, 215 Jackson St., San Francisco

When: 8 p.m. Jan. 18

Tickets: $20

» Bro’in Out with Seth Morris

Where: Eureka Theatre

When: 11:30 p.m. Jan. 18

Tickets: $15

» ‘Match Game’

Where: Eureka Theatre

When: 9:30 p.m. Jan 19

Tickets: $25

» Comedy Death-Ray:

When: 8 p.m. Jan. 21

Where: Cobb’s Comedy Club, 925 Columbus Ave., S.F.

Tickets: $20

About The Author

Staff Report

Staff Report

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A daily newspaper covering San Francisco, San Mateo County and serving Alameda, Marin and Santa Clara counties.
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