Maria Bamford Is So Smart About Money

Last spring, comedian Maria Bamford gave a commencement speech at the University of Minnesota in which she explained how she negotiated a $10,000 speaking rate after being asked to speak for free:

Was the University of Minnesota College of Liberal Arts suggesting that I couldn’t get paid for the exact job that I paid them to teach me how to get paid to do?

This week, Jesse David Fox, host of Vulture’s Good One: A Podcast About Jokes, interviews Bamford about both her commencement speech and her financial philosophies.

If you’d rather not listen to the hour-long podcast—though you can cut it down to 45 minutes since it begins by rebroadcasting the commencement speech—Vulture has pulled out some of the best quotes, including:

In order for me to perform out of town—to make it worth my while and be able to pay a publicist and 17.5 percent off of the gross in manager and agent fees, to pay for hotel and travel—I need to make about 25 grand a month to pay myself and my employees. One of my employees is my friend Jackie Kashian. They didn’t have an opener situation for the speech, which means by choosing that [commencement] gig I was missing out on an opportunity where I could play my employee. So I wouldn’t not only pay her but not pay myself. Obviously I’m more concerned with myself.

I love that Bamford is thinking not only of herself but of the people she works for. If she takes this gig, what’s the opportunity cost for her employees?

The whole podcast is great if you want to listen; the Vulture excerpts are great if you’ve only got a few minutes. Either way, I am so impressed by the way Maria Bamford does money—and yes, I still have her quote about being a “self-funded institution” on my wall.

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