By Josh Edelson
By Chris Hall
By Jonathan Curiel
By Jonathan Curiel
By Sherilyn Connelly
By Mollie McWilliams
By Rachel Swan
By Erin Browner
What was that job?
It was called Catdog and I voiced a character called Shriek.
In your latest special, The Special Special Special!, you performed for your parents, in your house, instead of for a larger audience. I know you said it was because it's cheaper that way, but I imagine there was some creative motivation for that choice as well?
Yeah, well I like the idea of doing something super simple. I thought that was the fun part. And I guess there was some sort of laziness to it, like, "I don't want to get costumes together, find a space." But I also do believe, why put all these financial and organizational limitations on making something? Might as well make it as easy as possible. ... I think it's just much more empowering than going to pitch meetings and having to tell someone about the idea, and then hopefully, maybe, they might want to do it and maybe not.
I could do exactly what I wanted to do and had a minimum amount of people involved, which I find helpful to me. I'm sure there are people who are better with group process than I am. But it was nice to just ask one other person, rather than 25.
Then you offered the Special! online for just $5. There's this new trend for comedians to sell their material online directly. Does this seem like a viable model within which comedians can still make a living?
For sure. For me, it's super great. If you're already starting to build an audience, and you've got 10,000 people who will buy your special, and they really love what you do, then chances are they're going to pass that forward.
The [Special Special] Special[!] earned for me in the first two weeks three times what I've earned in the past doing a special. And not that it's all about the money. But I think it's also really nice; it makes it easier for people who are really fans. Otherwise, fans will have to get Netflix, or they'll have to get cable, go to a show and buy a CD.
And I know some people are saying, "Well, there's going to be no more comics who can play any room, because everyone will be so individualized." Which you know, fair enough. I am a wild orchid of comedy, so I can only do well under specific conditions. ... There are people who I think can do any room, and do stadiums and thousand-seat theaters, and then there are people like me who just perform for my parents.
For the full interview, in which Maria discusses dog-walking and the return of a certain cult comedy series, go to sfweekly.com/exhibitionist.
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