Any sitcom that kicks off with a motivational speech and then a montage immediately wins my affection and Roisin Conaty’s irresistibly amiable ‘GameFace’ does not disappoint.It begins with a wham-bam opening of struggling actor Marcella in period costume, lit to the high heavens, about to stride out on to the stage, like the Rocky Balboa of the West End. Needless to say, it does not turn out to be the breakthrough she has been waiting for. Since winning the best newcomer award at the Edinburgh festival fringe in 2010, Roisin Conaty has spent the past nine years establishing herself as one of the most familiar faces in British comedy. She is a regular on panel shows, is famously and wonderfully bad at the 8 Out of 10 Cats version of Countdown, and recently brought added heart to Ricky Gervais’s sitcom comeback After Life.Unsurprisingly, though, it is her own creation that finds her at her very best. GameFace is back for a second series after a long gestation period, involving a pilot in 2014, its first series on E4 in 2017, and now a move to Channel 4. For the last few years, television has lapped up anything that jumbles tones and moods. The comedy-drama genre is thriving, but usually that involves some kind of heart-wrenching story seen through the prism of an occasional joke that not so much breaks the bleakness as makes it seem all the more tragic. On the surface, on paper, GameFace would have every right to tap into the vogue for heartbreak with a strained smile. Its characters have stuff on their plates: drug addiction, breakups and death, infidelity, and, in this opener, a driving test, which, for anyone who knows what it is like to take a driving test – or three – is enough to bring on palpitations. Conaty is anything but maudlin, though. This is proper, silly comedy that packs in the punchlines and dances around absurd setups, leaving a sense of joy in its wake. Those who watched the first series will remember that Marcella broke up with her boyfriend, Simon, after 12 years together and is trying to keep it together as a single woman in her 30s who is prone to the odd misstep, given that chaos seems to attach itself to her like bugs to a yellow jumper.Despite what she tells her life coach, Marcella’s progress is muted enough that you don’t really need to have seen the first series to jump in. She is still single, but her longstanding crush on driving instructor Jon is developing at a pace, which is sweet, though it only takes one little fib to put everything in jeopardy. Meanwhile, Marcella is being followed, Simon has moved in with her mum, and her life coach is teaching a 19-year-old student whom he lets sit in on their sessions, and who sees Marcella as such a fascinating case study that it is basically offensive.GameFace isn’t hugely plot-driven, but it weaves together its strands with an impressive deftness. Marcella realises she is prone to a white lie, and that these white lies often run away from her and turn into something far more chaotic. There is one scene in particular, involving a drunken fib about a tattoo “down there”, that had me crying with laughter; another, involving a brief flashback to a lightning-speed Facebook stalk, had a similar effect. There are witty, occasionally foul-mouthed gags about someone Marcella looks like, actors being on the dole, the correct pronunciation of “Yeezys”, and my favourite of all, which is also the greatest review of The Revenant I have ever heard: “We get it, Leo, you’re cold.” A cat eats cake and watches Killing Eve. It is an embarrassment of daftness.Even when the bad stuff happens, and of course it does, GameFace is fundamentally optimistic. It seems to run on the rare notion that people are basically decent, and that rounds it out beautifully. When we find out who has been following Marcella, it is as sympathetic as it is silly. It is big-hearted, but never overly sentimental; contemplative, but only after it’s given you a belly laugh about how ridiculous everything has turned out to be. Hopefully, its promotion to the big house will win it the audience it deserves.