Maria Bamford has more voices than Mel Blanc and hears even more than an echo. Unwanted Thoughts Syndrome, her third stand-up comedy CD shows she can be quite original and about as eclectic and surreal as Jonathan Winters.

If you can follow the bouncing ball, it is not that easy, Bamford can really blow you away. This Comedy Central  CD also comes with a bonus DVD featuring The Maria Bamford Show as seen on the net.

This comic takes some getting used to. On stage there is something about Bamford that immediately gets you on side. On her stand-up comedy CD a couple of listenings are required before you get most of her jokes and characters. This is in part because some of her voices are low whispers that even solid recording cannot fully capture. Repeated listenings of Unwanted Thoughts Syndrome reveal just how original and funny she is.

It is somewhat difficult to pick out the best moments on this very solid stand-up comedy CD by Maria Bamford. The closing stand-up routine is a sugar-coated vicious take on generic club comediennes who are liked because they pander to the audience. I really wish this bit had been longer.

Also excellent are the Love Songs piece, the opening routine Baby Jesus, and, ah crap, the whole CD is excellent.

I was quite surprised by the picture quality of the episodes of The Maria Bamford Show featured on the bonus comedy DVD which contains all 20 episodes of the web series. The somewhat connected episodes are four-minute capsules featuring the comedian playing the various characters she presents on stage.

Her fans will recognize some references to material on her first two stand-up comedy CDs. These webisodes could be seen as a slam on your basic TV sitcom and its characters but they are more than that. The Mother’s Day webisode features Maria’s Mom. You have to watch Showtime just to see how many characters she can do.

If, like Maria Bamford, you like pugs, you must check out A Pug’s Life, A Pug-umentary.

Unwanted Thoughts Syndrome
Maria Bamford
Stand-up Comedy CD / DVD
Comedy Central Records 2009

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