5 Famous Funny People With Bipolar Disorder

These celebrities are proving laughter really is the best medicine:

#1 Maria Bamford

Photo: Natalie Brasington

In both her standup routines and now in her Netflix series Lady Dynamite, comedian Maria Bamford normalizes topics like bipolar depression, hospitalization, and obsessive thoughts. The series is a loosely biographical show based on her hospitalization for bipolar depression several years ago. She has said that the bipolar diagnosis was initially hard to digest: “I was surprised how prejudiced I was against myself.”

#2 Stephen Fry

Photo: Claire Newman-Williams

Stephen Fry is a comedian, screen actor, stage actor, game show host, radio personality, playwright, columnist, novelist, has been called a national treasure in his native England. His 2006 documentary The Secret Life of a Manic Depressive was widely praised for its honesty. Fry continues to speak honestly and openly about living with bipolar disorder.

#3 Russell Brand

Photo: Eva Rinaldi / CC BY-SA 2.0

A British comedian, activist and actor. In 2012 he celebrated 12 years being sober (no alcohol or drugs). Having been diagnosed with both bipolar disorder and ADHD, Brand often talks about living with bipolar in his performances and his writing. “Sometimes, as a comedian, a line will come to you, that is so beautiful, so perfect, that you think: I did not create this line. This line belongs to all of us. Surely this is a line of God.”

#4 Ruby Wax

Ruby Wax is an American/British actress, comedienne, mental health campaigner, and author. She became well known after starring in the sitcom Girls on Top (1985-86). In 2010 her and stand-up comic show Losing It deals with her experience of bipolar. Her show played in London for a year; in response to the audience reaction from the show, she founded the mental health website www.sane.org.uk. Her memoir, How Do You Want Me? (2002), reached the Sunday Times best-seller list.

#5 Victoria Maxwell

Photo: Peter Holst

Victoria Maxwell is an award-winning actress and playwright and has worked alongside David Duchovny, John Travolta and Johnny Depp, among others. After her diagnosis of bipolar disorder, anxiety & psychosis, she became extremely proactive in her recovery. In her acclaimed one-woman show Crazy for Life, that has toured internationally, Maxwell combines her acting background and sense of humor to give an insider’s perspective to mental illness.

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