Review – JFL Northwest presents Maria Bamford at the Vogue Theatre

Maria Bamford performed on the opening night of JFL Northwest.

JFL Northwest kicked off last night, and this IV blogger was fortunate enough to catch Maria Bamford’s set at the Vogue. More on that in a bit.

In the meantime, tickets are still available for many of the shows. Among the headliners with shows between now and the festival’s Feb. 25 closing are Bill Burr (Feb 20), Hannah Gadsby (Feb 25), Patton Oswalt (Feb 22), and a live version of the podcast How Did This Get Made (Feb 20). Visit for a full lineup and tickets.

Review: Maria Bamford at the Vogue Theatre, a JFL Northwest presentation Feb. 14 2020

In her new material, Maria Bamford likes joke about how weakness is her brand. Pointing out her trembling hand, the comedian (and star of the Netflix show Lady Dynamite) revealed one of what might be called her vulnerabilities. It wasn’t the only one, either; at another point she made fun of her belly, revealing and then hiding it and talking to it as though it were a misbehaving child.

At this point in her career, Bamford has a dedicated fanbase. They come out to hear her talk about mental health (hers), and she continues to get laughs out of material most other comedians would (sensibly, most likely) avoid at all costs. Prescription drugs, career low-points, and her financial statements (“I’m a millionaire. Is that okay to say?”)  are all grist for the comedy mill. She has a funny, breathy voice, and does wicked impressions of her family, but I think her Generic Privileged White Woman, which she returned to often in her set, is my favourite.

This is probably the fourth time I’ve seen Bamford and each time is a treat. I still prefer to see her in a smaller club—her “brand” of comedy cries out for intimacy (if not the intimacy of performing to an audience of two—as she did in one of her comedy specials. And they were her parents). But last night’s show was a potent blast of the Bammer. She even brought out her husband Scott at the end of the night to perform a duet charmingly titled “Saturation Point.” It was a fitting Valentine for her Vancouver audience.

Katie-Ellen Humphries also delivered a figurative box of chocolates in an opening set full of relationship advice. Among the Vancouver comic’s suggestions: keep the relationship alive by making it long-distance. Move away.

Victoria-raised former competitive swimmer Katie-Ellen Humphries opened the show.


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