Meek-voiced Maria Bamford makes all other existentially dark comedians look like so many Carrot Tops. Bamford (who was excellent as Louis C.K.'s Sysaphisian fuck buddy on the last season of Louie) explores her real-life struggles with depression and anxiety while pushing the parameters of comedic form. Her grueling, hilarious 2009 Web series The Maria Bamford Show was based around the premise that she'd moved in with her parents after suffering a nervous breakdown. Last year her The Special Special Special! followed C.K.'s pioneering idea of offering a comedy special directly to fans online for $5. In her version, she does stand-up in her own living room with her real parents as the only audience, treating them to bits like the one where she imagines what it¹d be like if people dismissed physical diseases the way we do mental illness – "It's like, fuck off! We all have cancer. Right?"
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