Watch: Maria Bamford Is Your 2020 Commencement Speaker

The Duluth-raised comedian’s vulnerable, bizarre address to graduates fits 2020 perfectly
Maria Bamford's speech is worth for anyone struggling with the pandemic
Maria Bamford’s speech is worth a watch for anyone struggling with the pandemic

Adult Swim/YouTube

Graduates planning their next steps must feel a little like the world is upside-down, and that’s how Maria Bamford’s comedy tends to feel, too.

On Thursday, the Duluth-raised comedian channeled her trademarks—spiraling surrealism and candid autobiography, often touching on her history with mental illness—into a commencement speech for 2020 graduates, posted on Adult Swim’s YouTube page.

It suits the pandemic era perfectly. From the audience (herself, lying in a kiddie pool) to the inspirational content (“I’m so proud of you, and you’re doing so great, especially if you’re not doing that great”) to the low budget and cabin-fever moment when she becomes a doctor and diagnoses a stuffed animal’s anxious foot-biting habit—it all feels like a COVID time capsule.

Bamford has a history of getting real with graduates: In 2017, she spoke at her alma mater, the University of Minnesota, about the importance of a paycheck. (In a 2018 interview, we asked her about giving $2,500 to four of the students.)

If you feel oddly reassured by this speech and have not seen Bamford’s critically acclaimed Netflix original series Lady Dynamite—which splits time between Duluth and her current residence of Los Angeles—think about adding it to your quarantine watch list.

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