You need to watch ‘Lady Dynamite.’
Have you heard of comedian Maria Bamford?
If not, I highly recommend you keep scrolling.
Bamford is the star of the new Netflix series “Lady Dynamite.”
The show follows a 40-something actress struggling to get her career, friendships, and romantic life in order.
In some ways, it’s a story that’s been told time and time again.
But there’s a catch…
Bamford, who plays herself in the autobiographical show, has bipolar disorder.
And she’s been suicidal.
And she’s spent time in a psychiatric ward.
And yet, “Lady Dynamite” — which doesn’t shy away from any of those hard truths from Bamford’s real life past — is hilarious.
The show jumps between Bamford’s present-day struggle to find stable ground, the time she spent living with her parents in Duluth, Minnesota, during her rock bottom days and the cringeworthy events (before Minnesota) that led to her downward spiral.
“I wanted to tell a story of a psychiatric breakdown, but also not bring it down so much,” Bamford explained to Rolling Stone. “I wanted to show how depressing those wards are in a very funny way.”
How @mariabamfoo made comedy a team sport in @TheLadyDynamite https://t.co/YxZoDFSt4Q pic.twitter.com/BXI8syZeeR— Fusion (@Fusion) July 4, 2016
Critics are raving. A-list comics have flocked to guest star (Sarah Silverman? Patton Oswalt? Yes, please).
Perhaps the best part, though, is how the show is resonating with its fans — many of whom may be struggling with their own forms of mental illness.
Some viewers say they see themselves in the lead character.
Many applauded the courage it takes to open up about personal struggles.
@mariabamfoo Binge watching #LadyDynamite for 2nd time. It is so great. You are so great..and brave. Thx for destigmatizing mental illness.— BlondeMomShell (@dr_urka) July 12, 2016
Some say they appreciate how rare it is to see a funny show that tackles such dark topics with care.
#LadyDynamite paints plausible pictures of mania and depression that somehow manage to be funny, big-hearted, and revealing. So good.— Wilder Konschak (@misplacedwilder) July 6, 2016
And others have found comfort in “Lady Dynamite” when nothing else seems to do the trick.
All of this praise hasn’t been lost on Bamford, of course; she’s thrilled her own experiences have helped others in the same boat.
“I went through a nightmare,” Bamford explained to People. “But it means a lot to me that other people with mental illness tell me the show has helped them and made them laugh.”
“Getting that reaction makes me feel like I’m being useful in life,” she noted. “And that’s good.”
Staying on top of your mental health can be tough. And topics like depression and bipolar disorder aren’t always a laughing matter.
But there is some truth in laughter sometimes being the best medicine, and no one proves that better than “Lady Dynamite” herself.