You gotta see Maria Bamford’s “Special Special Special!”

Screen Shot 2014-05-10 at 9.33.48 AM

Terry Gross is irritating, but her NPR interview of comedian Maria Bamford touches on everything that is great about Bamford. If you want to just lie on your couch, listen to the interview, and get to know someone who is fascinating and funny (that would be Bamford, not you, Terry Gross!), click here:

The trailer for Bamford’s comedy concert “The Special Special Special!” is good but doesn’t do it justice. The show is nuts and hilarious. The best is when she imitates her mother and other women–it’s like she transforms into someone else right before your very eyes.

Btw, if you appreciate good website design, check out her site. And her responses to “FAQ” are interesting (click on “FAQ” at the top of the page):

Maybe a good quote will help you pull the trigger on her “Special Special Special!”:

“I love Maria Bamford. I think she’s hysterically funny. She’s one of the few people that really makes you laugh hard, who’s doing something so interesting and insane.”  – Judd Apatow


What are these guys doing? They’re rescuing a lamb from the ocean! Wanna see a self-proclaimed formerly homophobic Christian hugging a gay stranger? I do! And a young man saving a woman’s dog? Of course! Click on the link below, for 21 pics ‘that will restore your faith in humanity.’ By the time I got to the military general and the protestor, I was bawling! I love how people have a gut instinct to help others, and be kind. And it’s amazing how many fleeting moments (like the Guatemalan girl’s reaction to being given a flower) are captured with cameras. Even more wild to contemplate is the infinite number of beautiful moments between strangers not captured by cameras. I mean, really think about that for a second–all of the small and big acts of kindness or heroism that are occurring all of the time, all over the world, that we don’t even know about, but that are undoubtedly happening. It’s mind-blowing.

(By the way, if you’ve read several posts on this blog and you’re starting to grumble that I’m too positive, or that I love ‘everything,’ it’s not true. For example, I don’t like the music of Bon Jovi. Each song is worse than the last. But see? You don’t really want to hear this kind of stuff. You probably like Bon Jovi. He seems like a nice guy. Although let’s be honest, there’s no way he’s faithful to his wife. But he has a right to make music. We all have a right to be creative, and not everyone has to like what we do, right? So, it’s kind of screwed up that you tried to get me to say something negative. You should check yourself!)


For 21 pics that are so life-affirming it’ll make you instantly happier, click on this link:




If you don’t have children, this might make you want some


I love that these kids are out there, somewhere in the world, being their openhearted, goodnatured selves.






What it’s like to go to a doctor appointment in Australia

My friend Tiffany moved from L.A. to New Zealand to Australia. On her blog, NewMeLand, there’s a post about doctor appointments and, as someone who often faints after medical examinations, I find it funny and harrowing:


There is no such thing as an annual physical in Australia. You go to the doctor and ask for it, and they look at you like you’re some overindulgent yahoo who wants her bones counted. Here, and in New Zealand, you are considered well until you come forward with a cough, lump, or plague to prove you’re not.

Or. You’re of that age and you get a letter.

I recently got a letter stating it was time for my health check. It opened with how as we get older, many of us become more vulnerable to disease and it ended with me. Their records showed I was within the “age rage” for a health check. A perfectly placed typo. Old me was furious. I didn’t like being of that age. But if you add up all the cakes, I was. So I made an appointment. My bones couldn’t wait to be counted.

Now I’ve been to my doctor here before for a sore this and a swollen that. The specifics of this and that or my incessant need to Google it all is not important. What is important is my doctor and I have a relationship. One based on respect, honesty, and both of us being fully dressed.

That relationship changed on health check day.

Things you should know at this point:
No nurses at doctor’s offices here.
None of the doctors I have encountered wear a white coat or drape a stethoscope around their necks like they do in the movies or America.
Most family doctors’ offices are in old repurposed buildings. Craftsman houses. Terrace apartments. Mine screams low-performing brothel.

Things I didn’t know at any point:

I was called into my doctor’s room by my doctor. Her office is old, wooden, creaky. There is no sink even though I (and all those girls before me) wished there was. An examining table is pushed up against one wall. A desk occupies the opposite one. In between the two, so much space you could twirl.

What happens next is what nightmares are made of. You know the ones where you show up to an exam, your in-laws’ house, your work four jobs ago and find you have no clothes on. This is that guy but with more gravity.

Standing in the so much space, I twirl to face my doctor. In her floral dress. With no doctor’s coat. Or stethoscope. Or medical anything anywhere on her person. And this is when I realize that my doctor, as competent as she is, doesn’t look like a doctor. She looks like she could be anything. And this exchange we’re about to have? Well. It could be between me and just about anyone.

Doctor: Okay, so I’m going to need you to take your clothes off.

Me: Okay.

Anyone: Down to your underwear.

Me: Right.

I wait for some sort of gown to be offered to me and privacy.

The bookstore clerk offers me nothing and waits.

I awkwardly take off my top.

The accountant awkwardly watches me fold my top.

I hope a curtain will soon be pulled. But I notice there is no curtain for the off duty security guard to pull.

I unbutton my denim.

The librarian doesn’t.

Confused but compliant, I pull my jeans down, all the way down, and step out of them. I try not to trip over my shoe as I trip over my shoe.

The bus driver looks away to check her bus schedule as I discover I’M WEARING THE WRONG UNDERWEAR!

I am mortified.

The florist looks up and sees my inappropriate thong.

I apologize for my panty selection.

Astronaut: No worries.

Oh but I am worried. Because I am nearly naked! Just standing there.

The CEO of a Fortune 500 company, also just standing there, reminds me: Bra too.

Bra too? I think out loud with words.

The farmer nods.

I begrudgingly take off my bra. And, yep, there are my boobs. I am now super naked.

Your sister: Let’s get started.

I cannot believe we’re not done.

The very not naked human resources manager walks over to the examining table and pats the piece of hygienic paper covering it.

I want to Project Runway that piece of hygienic paper into a robe but it is too small to turn into anything besides a thong, which would be inappropriate and redundant, so instead I sit on it.

Possible Evil Gown Hoarder: Lie down so I can count your bones.

End scene.

I wish I could say the above word jumble was a one-time dealie, but it wasn’t. It happened again weeks later at my mammogram and again at my mole check with varying degrees of me being nude in front of people who weren’t nude and had no gown cover up drawer. But that’s okay. With experience comes confidence. I now take off my bra before I’m even asked. And I can rattle off my chicken sausage pasta recipe with my pants off. Which is good because I am of that age.

Tomorrow I go to the ophthalmologist.


If it’s been a while since you last saw Urban Cowboy, can I remind you why it’s great: it’s shot in a naturalistic and unsentimental way, it depicts life in the late 70s/early 80s Houston-area refinery community, and it shows how torturous the path of young love is. It’s almost painful to watch. You earn that happy ending. Stream it tonight!

Comedian John Mulaney

My brother-in-law likes this. To me, the best part is how Mulaney responds when someone knocks on the door when he’s in a public restroom stall.

Why women love Glennon Melton

It’s tempting to dismiss Glennon Melton as just another beautiful recovering alcoholic, ex-bulimic mommy blogger. But there’s a reason she has tens of thousands of obsessed followers and a bestselling book: she is weirdly gifted at writing about everyday life, specifically, what makes it hard and what makes it beautiful. I say weirdly because, as one fan puts it, she “simultaneously sets the bar very high and very low,” in parenting and everything else she does. This post, below, is typical of her writing—you start skimming it with no intention of getting involved, then find yourself choked up because she has somehow captured everything that matters.

I’m curious whether men relate to this post. Not the part about wanting to get a makeover at the mall, the rest of it. It’s easy to imagine most women agreeing that we’re here to connect with others. But I don’t know if most men think this. I just asked Jimmy what his theory is on why we’re here and he said, “Survival?”


After 20 years of being a standup comedian, Marc Maron had become angry and bitter, having watched many of his peers achieve enormous success and fame. About 5 years ago, after the painful dissolution of his second marriage, he was “broke, on many levels,” and hit bottom. “Defeated and careerless,” he started doing a podcast in his garage, in which he had one-on-one conversations with his famous friends—other comedians. The podcast interviews were his way of getting help; they enabled him to talk out his feelings and connect with others, and along the way, he rediscovered his love of comedy.

The series, “WTF? with Marc Maron,” features over 400 intimate, engaging interviews, has garnered critical acclaim, and got him a new show on IFC channel called “Maron.” He has a great memoir out, too, Attempting Normal, in which he talks about his issues, marriages and addictions (which practically have their own plotline: he quit using coke and alcohol with the help of his second wife, used Viagra to get through his post-divorce depression then had to quit it (“to get back to the land of emotion”), fights an ongoing battle with food and porn, and now has what sounds like an over-dependence on the natural sweetener, Stevia—he seeks out “the good stuff. The 100% pure stuff,” not “the one that is cut with filler to bulk it up, like shitty cocaine”).

What I like about Maron is that he is flawed and talks about it. Also, he cares, and keeps trying to conquer his natural negative tendencies. In fact, his book is dedicated to “Everyone who is successfully defying their wiring.” I love that he had finally become resigned that success wasn’t going to happen for him, and then it did. I love that it came from him just following his instinct, and that it has helped heal him. “Me sitting at that table across from people talking to them on those microphones has changed the trajectory of my life completely.”

From his book:

“In our interview, Conan O’Brien said something about the secret of his success: ‘Get yourself in a situation where you have no choice.'”

“It’s amazing how much you can rationalize when you’re on drugs. I could actually say to myself, ‘Look, I’m only doing blow Wednesday through Saturday.””

“People don’t talk to each other about real things because they’re afraid of how they’ll be judged. Or they think other people don’t have the capacity to carry the burden of what they have to say. But all of that stuff is what makes us human; more than that, it’s what makes being human interesting and funny. How we got away from that, I don’t know. But fuck that: We’re built to deal with shit. We’re built to deal with death, disease, failure, struggle, heartbreak, problems. The way we each handle being human is where all the good stories, jokes, art, wisdom, revelations and bullshit come from.”

“I watched her do a nude improvised mambo to Tito Puente music coming out of the radio on top of the fridge. It was one of those moments I realized that I could be anywhere—a castle, a yacht, a private jet—but it wouldn’t get any better than that moment. It would not be any better than what was going on in my dirty beat-up Astoria kitchen. That is the power beautiful women have: They are portals into the timeless, into other worlds.”

“I had made a habit of compulsively checking the email that comes through my website. Trolling for validation, contempt, hate: the speedball of social networking in the age of accessibility.”


You can find Maron’s podcast interviews here (the ones with Louis CK and Judd Apatow are particularly good):

Hank Azaria talks about Phil Stutz

In this 1-minute audio clip, actor Hank Azaria talks about his therapist, Phil Stutz, who co-authored “The Tools,” which I wrote about in an earlier post on this site. I thought I liked Stutz when I read the book. Now I love him.

Sketch comedians Key and Peele