Lady Dynamite is a Netflix series starring Maria Bamford as herself, a supremely hilarious, talented and awkward comedian in her day to day life trying to stay mentally healthy and navigate relationships while balancing her career. The show was created by Pam Brady, writer and producer on South Park, as well as Mitch Hurwitz, the creator of sleeper hit, Arrested Development. Lady Dynamite is a fantastic combination of the irreverence and gags, à la Arrested and South Park. With Maria at the helm, it’s really a winning formula.
While not a writer on the show, Maria’s life serves as the inspiration for the sometimes, non-narrative, non-linear plot. From her struggles with mental illness, memories of her youth in Duluth, Minnesota (you’re welcome for the rhyme), grappling with professional successes and failures, and dealing with her often nutty, self absorbed friends, colleagues, and romantic partners, there’s a lot of solid material. Highly fictionalized, of course, but absolutely hysterical. Maria’s vocal and physical comedy is so genius that you can’t help but feel for her and laugh at her simultaneously, which is my favorite type of heroine.
The show also boasts a fantastic supporting cast of characters including her inept, but loveable manager, Bruce Ben-Bacharach (Fred Melamed), Karen Grisham, Maria’s foul-mouthed, meglomaniac agent (Ana Gasteyer) and her sweet, naive Midwesterner parents (Mary Kay Place and Ed Begley Jr.). Cameos include a variety of celebrities: Judd Apatow, Sarah Silverman, and Sugar Ray’s Mark McGrath among many others. She also has a pug named Bert, that can talk to her.
The first few episodes were a bit trippy for me, if I’m honest. If you push through though, you won’t regret it and you’ll acclimate to the pacing and feel of the show fairly quickly. If you’re looking for a breath of fresh air, Season 1 and 2 are available now on Netflix. I also highly recommend checking out Maria’s stand up specials as well. They never disappoint, particularly her impression of her mother.
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