Mom, Dad and bad bosses remain in Maria Bamford’s crosshairs. But on How to Win!, her new CD, the mild and crazy comedian hunts bigger game, too. Instead of harpooning her victims, though, Bamford, a mannerly Minnesotan, uses biting sarcasm to attack the pomposity, inequity and idiocy gnawing at her.
“Anyone here work for a big corporation?” she asks the audience at the Cap City Comedy Club in Austin, Texas. “Anyone here part of the problem?”
On this follow-up to her Burning Bridges Tour CD, Bamford is slightly less personal and much more political. Her signature soft voice barely conceals the vitriol she harbors for her hardheaded, hard-hearted targets.
Bamford jabs at George W. Bush and then expertly cuts down soulless companies and clueless executives with the needles she injects into her act. She especially frowns upon a Mickey Mouse outfit for it’s alternately smiley-face and cutthroat approach to business.
She decries the extreme-makeover culture that equates changing someone’s hair color with changing the world. Bamford comically crusades on behalf of the underpaid and the overlooked, meaning sweatshop workers and temps, the slaves who drive the economy but walk to work because they can’t afford bus fare.
One segment of the 50-minute performance painfully yet hilariously captures the all-too-familiar corporate ritual: cake for everyone – well, everyone except the temp, the office outcast.
While Bamford raises her voice and some issues on How to Win!, she still loves Mom, Dad and America — it’s just that she finds them a bit mortifying and frightening.