Maria Bamford is one of the funnier stand-up comics on the scene today, largely unheralded after having plugged away for twenty-plus years, playing seedy clubs, doing voice work, and landing bit parts on various TV shows. Her surreal observational comedy often involves her dysfunctional family, as well as her own bouts with depression.
Bamford made a video for Funny or Die satirizing those "haul" videos which are legion on YouTube, and popular with young girls. The typical haul video entails someone showing off their purchases made on a recent shopping trip, and some of the bigger names in "hauling" attract major advertising and sponsorship deals. There's even a parody site called HaulBlog.
In the video, Bamford plays a bookish young girl whose mother has taken her to Powell's, the famous indie bookstore in Portland, for a birthday shopping trip. (This is one of the most blatant ads for Powell's you'll ever see.) She proceeds to show off her purchases (which consist of ninety dollars worth of eclectic literature), while offering overly earnest reading recommendations. You will notice she reserves a special reverence for Isabel Allende, and her difficulty in pronouncing the name of a foreign author definitely resonated with me. Let's hope Maria eventually gets that sitcom that will catapult her into the big time.