Maria Bamford is one of the top comedians in the country, but like many other people she suffers from bipolar disorder. Maria has discovered a website that helps her cope with the stigma of treating mental illness by using humor and community.
One out of three people that get married now, they meet their spouse through online dating. So you could look at it like, oh, well, there’s an insane amount of love that would not even be there had it not been for these things.
We recently sat down with the multi-talented actor/writer/comedian/director about his big year, his inspirations, and his new show, Master Of None.
AVC: Is there anything you feel like you couldn’t have written without the knowledge you acquired from researching and writing Modern Romance?
Aziz Ansari: The episode called “The Other Man” was helped out by all the conversations about cheating I had when I was writing the book. “Old People”—that was weirdly influenced by the book because I spent a lot of time when I was writing the book talking to older people in retirement homes, and that’s where I told Alan, “I think we should do an episode about old people.” And he really responded to that idea, too, and it really helped us craft [the grandmother character] in “Old People.” Alan and I went and had lunch with these older Italian women one day and learned about their lives and what it was like growing up in New York, trying to have the same kind of conversations that my character has with Grandma Carol.
That was something I’d learned from the book: How much you learn from talking to people and learning about their experiences, and that’s how you get these stories and this dialogue and these characters right. Because otherwise, if I’m trying to write this Carol character without ever speaking to these people, I don’t think it would’ve been right. When we sent this episode to Lynn Cohen, who played Grandma Carol, she was blown away. She was like, “Whoa. I’ve never read something written for me that’s not just silly grandma humor where it’s about making fun of the old person—they’re getting hurt or rapping. Who wrote this?” And I was like, “Me and Alan.” And she was like, “How did you do it?” and I told her we spent a lot of time talking to people to get it right. That’s kind of the theme of the show overall: Instead of yelling your opinion, or telling people to shut up, or engaging in this clickbait-internet culture, have a dialogue with someone and ask people questions and listen to what they have to say.
Ted Alexandro is a staple in the New York comedy scene as well as a traveling headliner with numerous TV appearances on Letterman, Comedy Central and more. Ted thought he was going to be a jazz pianist as he entered college but as fate would have it he discovered stand-up and didn’t look back. Here Ted discusses his history with Jazz and the similarities he sees between his musical background and his stand-up performances.
I don’t really keep up with any web series but I’ve watched every episode of modern comedian twice. As we all know I love performing stand up but even more than performing I love watching other comedians perform and the entire process of comedy and this web series covers it beautifully. I don’t have a favorite episode but if I did it would be the one with Todd Glass but that’s because I’m biased and Todd Glass is my favorite comic. The documenter also interviews Lynn Shawcroft about her marriage to Mitch Hedberg but I wish he also focused on her stand up. I did a show with her once and she was amazing. I was in awe of her the whole time and just wished I could come off half as comfortable on stage as she did. It was like listening to a friend tell a story. I want to be like that one day. I’d say the only bad thing about this web series is that I wish he would do more episodes centered around female comedians but I’ll still keep watching as long as he keeps making these.
Rich Vos is a veteran of stand-up comedy. What most people don’t know is that Rich’s career started when he was in the throws of a brutal drug and alcohol addiction. Here we see Rich tell that story from the beginning and where he is now.
lynn shawcroft, mitch hedburg’s widow, takes us through the comedian’s writing process in this awesome doc. loved when they showed his notebooks & the makings of a joke while simultaneously listening to his delivery
setting up your life so that you can have that time to use your imagination.