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Co-founded in 1978 by Chris Cutler, London-based ReR Megacorp remains a musician-led independent label after almost 40 years. Blithely disregarding market wisdom, it continues to release titles across a wide spectrum of genres.
ReR is home to cult bands This Heat, Henry Cow, Faust, Art Bears, The Necks...
For most people, Plan B is nothing more than a fall-back, a pale imitation of the grand plan that might have been. But Maria Bamford, as even casual fans will admit, is not “most people.”
There’s no telling what her Plan A might have entailed (perhaps a one-woman rendition of “Grey Gardens?”), but Bamford’s Plan B turns out to be a virtuoso, one-woman performance of a self-imposed stint in Northwoods exile. Filmed live at the Varsity Theater in Minneapolis, the extra-packed DVD now out from Stand Up! Records has an intimate and theatrical flavor that may feel unexpected to some of Bamford’s followers, but skillfully weaves together the most well-wrought portions of her repertoire. More focused than her usual stand-up routine, in Plan B Bamford takes on the story of her own Hollywood life, viewed from the much safer – and possibly much weirder – climes of Duluth, MN. Playing all of the characters, from her parents to her high school nemesis-cum-Target checkout girl, Bamford lovingly skewers her origins, reminding us that, while there may be no place like home, there’s really no place like home.
Bamford was born at the naval base in Port Hueneme, CA, growing up there and in Duluth, MN. She attended Chester Park Elementary and The Marshall School in Duluth and went on to attend Bates College, the University of Edinburgh, and the University of Minnesota, where she earned a degree in Creative Writing. Bamford started doing stand-up in Minneapolis, at the age of 19 at Stevie Ray’s Comedy Cabaret and later joined Edinburgh’s improvised comedy show The Improverts. She has been in a number of movies and television shows, including several voice appearances in cartoons. Throughout her act Bamford showcases many different voices, fluidly shifting from one to another, and her comedy often takes the form of vignettes–rather than the standard setup/punchline format. Because her stage voice has been described as childlike, her various impersonations (including her mother and her agent) contrast sharply and draw intense reaction from the audience, as they sound dramatically more adult than her normal speaking voice.
Among the most charming aspects of the whole disc, the many fantastic extras reveal a commentary track voiced by Bamford and her proud parents, Joel and Marilyn. The familial trio falls in easily together, watching Plan B,
bantering, reminiscing, and occasionally setting the record straight when it comes to the way things were and the way things were…to Maria.
Bamford has appeared on Dharma & Greg, Jimmy Kimmel Live, Mystery Science Theater 3000, The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, Tom Goes to the Mayor, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and Full House, and has starred in her own Comedy Central special. She can also be seen on the Comedians of Comedy (with Patton Oswalt, Zach Galifiniakis & Brian Posehn), now on SHOWTIME.