Kent Nichols and Douglas Sarine of Ask a Ninja often talk about how, given limited budgets for the web, content producers need to boil their show ideas down to the essentials and leverage whatever assets they have. In the case of Ask a Ninja, it was taking an elaborate cartoon – Kinzai Ninjas, which is supposedly still in the works – and reducing it to a Q&A featuring a dude in a $6 ski mask filmed with a broken camera.
I don’t know the genesis of The Maria Bamford Show, but it’d be difficult to compress it any further. Shot in her house, one woman, playing an ensemble cast, where different wardrobes, accents, and camera angles signify character changes. It’s fast, simple, cheap to produce, and feels tailor made for the web. That’s part of the reason it works.
The other parts are that Maria’s hysterical and Minnesota accents are – since no one’s really done them justice sine Martha Generic from Bobby’s World – ripe for comedy.