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Comedian Maria Bamford on her family

By Jarrett Bellini, CNN
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Maria Bamford's dysfunctional family
  • Comedian Maria Bamford uses different voices to create her onstage characters
  • Family dysfunction plays a big part in her comedic routines
  • Bamford has used her vocal talents for different TV shows and appeared in Target ads

(CNN) -- Considered by many peers and critics as one of the top comedians out there today, Maria Bamford has a style that is hard to describe. It's different. It's absurd. It's somewhat uncomfortable. And it all starts with her voice. Actually, it all starts with her voices. Plural.

Tackling everyone in her family from her parents to her pugs, Bamford's onstage characters help paint a picture of modern family dysfunction and depression, two things that seem to go hand in hand.

"You can find out why you feel bad about yourself," she says. "But that takes a lot of effort. So you find somebody to blame."

Meet the Bamfords!

Still, Maria hasn't shunned her family. She's embraced them. In fact, on her website she's even given space to all of them, including a link to a page where you can purchase her father's soap ... which isn't actually soap but, rather, a block of wood that looks like soap. It's a gimmick created by her dermatologist dad to encourage people to use fewer suds.

Bamford says, "If you send a check for twenty-five dollars to a skin-related charity, my dad will send you a bar of wood."

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It's all very strange, and even stranger when she pitches Dr. Bamford's No Soap in her father's voice ... something eerily similar to that of her pugs. (Read: Lots of grunting and snorting.)

Bamford's range goes beyond her family as she has become one of the most sought-after vocal performers in the business, showcasing her talents on everything from Cartoon Network's "Adventure Time," to the Disney Channel's "Kick Buttowski," to Nickelodeon's "Kung Fu Panda."

Perhaps even more entertaining than her voices are the faces she makes while in character. Often it's one part comedy, five parts creepy -- best exemplified by her holiday Target ads.

To this, she would tell you the best way to experience her comedy is to see her in person. On stage.

"Get out of your house and go see some live performance for God's sake. There are people creating things just outside your window. And you could be laughing right now with them for only a two-drink minimum -- probably less if you're in a smaller city or a burgh."

When a co-worker watched the finished cut of our video interview with Bamford, his first reaction was to laugh and ask, "What the hell did I just watch?"

And that's probably how she likes it. Check it out now! Video

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