Saturday, August 4, 2018

Stand-up Comedians

So, there’s a sudden gear shift, right?

I’ve been ruminating on this post for a while. I have loved stand up comedy for as long as I can remember. As a kid I loved to listen to my father’s LPs of Bill Cosby.

I know. But back then, who knew?…

Anyway, point is I’ve loved stand up comedy for a long time. I’m actually envious of stand up comics, which I know is a cliché. I’m a fairly funny guy in real life and wish I had the courage and mental organization to translate that onstage. I don’t.

If you look back at my posts on this blog you’ll see that I went dark sometime in 2012 and only recently started to blink back to life. That’s not because life got better or my depression regressed. Shit got way worse and in other ways shit got way better. We might talk about that later; probably not.

Comedy helped me survive. It really did. That might sound ridiculous, but it’s true. Without stand up comics…

Here’s the thing. I’m never surprised when a comic kills herself/himself, either actively or via self-destructive behavior: John Pinette, Greg Giraldo, Robin Williams, Richard Jeni, Mitch Hedberg and Maria Bamford’s very public struggle – happily she survived. Stand ups are very often broken people and when you look past the punch lines it becomes glaringly obvious. Once you realize that, it’s hard not to hear the pain in their performance. I sometimes find myself crying in the middle of an hilarious bit.

In that way, comedy helped me survive from 2012 something to 2017 something. I pretty much freebased stand up comedy during that time. The catharsis it provided helped me so much. Here were deeply damaged people suffering through the same disappointments of life. Laughter is the best – well, you’ve heard that one before.

I’m not saying this is any kind of solution to chronic depression. If I knew the solution I’d definitely tell you. But it helps. Comedy, specifically stand up, has been a balm for me my whole life and continues to be.

Find your place of retreat, is my advice. Figure out what fixes you in your moment of crisis and know how to get there when you need to. This works for me. 

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