Smile!  Maria Bamford stars as herself in "Lady Dynamite," the Netflix comedy inspired by her life.  (Doug Hyun, Netflix)

Smile!  Maria Bamford stars as herself in "Lady Dynamite," the Netflix comedy inspired by her life.  (Doug Hyun, Netflix)

Doug Hyun/Doug Hyun, Netflix
Smile!  Maria Bamford stars as herself in "Lady Dynamite," the Netflix comedy inspired by her life.  (Doug Hyun, Netflix)

Smile!  Maria Bamford stars as herself in "Lady Dynamite," the Netflix comedy inspired by her life.  (Doug Hyun, Netflix)

Doug Hyun/Doug Hyun, Netflix

Mental illness, as many people can tell you, is no laughing matter. 

Except when it is. 

Maria Bamford was diagnosed with bipolar II disorder, and she has long mined her perspective and her struggles for her standup comedy. Now she's bringing her story to a bigger audience with the blade-sharp new Netflix comedy series Lady Dynamite. The show's energy is, well, manic, in the screwball comedy tradition. But Lady Dynamite is also a brave and insightful portrait of an actress and comedian rebounding from a breakdown and trying to get her mojo back in Hollywood, an environment that would drive anyone crazy. 

This week on Reel Genius we sing the praises of Lady Dynamite, partly because it's honest, bold and groundbreaking, but mostly because it's funny as hell. The show's pedigree, aside from Bamford, includes creators Mitchell Hurwitz, the man behind Arrested Development, and Pam Brady, among the driving forces of South Park. Like those shows, Lady Dynamite has a great deal of fun with the fact that it's an artificial construct, a product of the entertainment world it so gleefully skewers. Try not to laugh aloud at the results.         

What's Happening on GuideLive