MARIA BAM­FORD

BLOW­ING UP

Exclaim! - - SCREEN SHOTS - BY JULIANNA ROMANYK

RIDICU­LOUSLY SUR­REAL YET GROUNDED IN TRUE STO­RIES, Net­flix’s Lady Dy­na­mite takes the in-vogue semi-bi­o­graph­i­cal standup co­me­dian sit­com and twists it into some­thing so fren­zied and meta that you barely rec­og­nize it. Fronted by inim­itable alt-com­edy god­dess Maria Bam­ford, this can­didly funny se­ries cen­tres on Bam­ford’s own men­tal health is­sues.

“[Cre­ators] Pam [Brady] and Mitch [Hur­witz] did a won­der­ful job of it,” Bam­ford says, giv­ing all credit to her writ­ers for how the show cap­tures her ex­pe­ri­ences both in and out­side of psych wards with so much depth. “I’m sure it’s not ev­ery­one’s ex­pe­ri­ence, but for me, they re­ally in­ter­preted the sto­ries I told them and added their own imag­i­na­tion.”

Of course award- win­ning writ­ers from South Park and Ar­rested Devel­op­ment made a mas­sive im­pact on the show, but Bam­ford un­der­val­ues her­self by at­tribut­ing all of the show’s strengths to the writ­ers. Af­ter all, she cre­ated the rich­est fod­der for a TV show a writ­ing team could pos­si­bly ask for. In ad­di­tion to years of vul­ner­a­bly com­pelling sto­ries she has to share, she also has mul­ti­ple al­bums of sin­gu­lar standup for them to draw from.

“Right now I’m work­ing on a bit about hob­bies,” Bam­ford dis­closes when asked about new standup ma­te­rial. “I didn’t think I had any. Then I looked at what I was al­ways do­ing in my free time, and I was al­ways do­ing some­thing self-help-re­lated. So now I’m putting to­gether a three-part piece on that idea: that my bet­ter­ing my­self is in fact just like a video game of emo­tional Sudoku. It’s just some­thing I en­joy do­ing on the week­end, like wood­work­ing or hik­ing.”

Most peo­ple couldn’t com­pare man­ag­ing bipo­lar dis­or­der to a lit­eral walk in the park, but in that lives the charm of Maria Bam­ford. Ner­vously yet per­sis­tently op­ti­mistic, she makes the dark­est top­ics not only ap­proach­able, but be­witch­ingly ab­surd in a way that no­body else can.

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