Monday, December 20th, 2010

The Depressive's Guide to Comedy: Laughing to Keep From Crying

Brooke van Poppelen

“I realized that when you're single for a really long time basically what happens is you react violently to human touch because you don't recognize it anymore.”

Few comics mention The D-Word by name, but Brooke van Poppelen lampoons depression, its effect on her life, and the industry that’s sprung up around the affliction –- not only in her stand up, but on her blog in a pointedly tongue-in-cheek outline of the Dos and Don’ts of Depression. “DON’T: Accept any employment that is beneath you. You are an artist, people need to recognize that and they can find you if they need to. They WILL come to you. DO: Continue old spending habits because it feels good. Going out for every meal and hobnobbing at the bar every night is good for your soul. Your little brother works very hard and you can borrow money from him.” Between reminding us that “brunch is for assholes” and admitting that her favorite activity is appearing “drunk in the background” of her friends’ Facebook photos, Brooke manages to tackle some unpleasant realities (aging, divorce, hypochondria) most would just as easily choose to forget.

Brooke says: “I excavated material from a topic I knew well: me and my heeee-larious flaws. In the process it really became a cathartic experience and I can honestly say I don't need any sort of therapy outside of AA and colon cleansing.”

Full interview with Brooke van Poppelen HERE.

Aparna Nancherla

“Please use your inside voice. We're inside my head right now.”

It may seem counterintuitive for a self-proclaimed introvert to be a stand up comedian, but Aparna Nancherla’s quiet, introspective style reveals a comic who’s very much at home in her own mind and on stage. Rather than finding them uncomfortable or awkward, audiences are endeared to Aparna’s disclosures of her insecurities, neuroses, and resentment of her youthful appearance. But she won’t abide your sympathy: “Sometimes I will get an ‘Awwwwww’ instead of a laugh, and I ask that person to be escorted out of the venue. I don't need your pity!” Because of this perceived innocence and vulnerability, there's leeway for Aparna to delve into subjects that could, if handled improperly, make audiences recoil. Instead, they lean in, listen, and laugh.

Aparna says: “I like to make light of things like depression, alienation, loneliness, rejection, anxiety, and disappointment because my neuroticism isn't too proud to laugh at itself, not to brag or anything. Well, a little bragging.”

Full interview with Aparna Nancherla HERE.

thinks the mom of a depressive invented the saying, "You made your bed, now lay in it." You finally did something! You earned your sad nap!less than a minute ago via web

doesn't want to be a warm up comic; I want to be a cool down comic. I want to manage the crowd's expectations before they reenter real life.less than a minute ago via web

Kyle Kinane

“I've been getting fat and going bald. It's obviously some kind of Buddhist stigmata.”

Comedy Central chose to put Kyle Kinane on this year’s Hot List for a reason: the man can make anything funny. I could incorrectly attribute it to his distinctive voice, which doesn’t hurt, or to his comedy beard, to which no civilian could do justice, but Kinane’s brilliance is owed to neither. Kyle is the archetypal slacker with a heart of gold -– though his accomplishments in 2010 tell a different story. Kyle obviously works harder and is funnier than most. On his debut album, Death of the Party – Amazon’s number one comedy album of the year — Kyle blames his parents for his mistakes like any good millennial, pledges a bizarre allegiance to Bob Seger, and bridges cultural gaps in seedy bar bathrooms all while making us laugh.

Full interview with Kyle Kinane HERE.

Woke up in my clothes again. Do I play it as "ready for action" or "clearly I didn't get any action?"less than a minute ago via web

In another example of optimism and stupidity being two sides of the same coin, I constantly try changing pants without taking my shoes off.less than a minute ago via web

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  • Phil Davidson

    Great read. Wasn't aware of a lot of these comics. Thanks.

  • http://mobfd.blogspot.com/ Chris Trash

    Beautiful read. In my badly informed opinion comedy is not always about being happy, but sometimes it's about seeing things with a new perspective.

  • mallory.elis@gmail.com

    What, no Simon Amstell?

  • Megh Wright

    Wow, this rocks.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Melissa-Ragsly/100001684347741 Melissa Ragsly

    What a great article, with perfectly suited clips to boot. The only comic I had heard of was Rob Delaney, but somehow had missed ever seeing his actual stand-up.

    And I must add, when I heard the WTF with Judd Apatow and he said that thing about the punch, I too had a moment of not feeling alone. So we both felt unalone together. Isn't that great?

  • Kokapelye

    “…The equivalent of a bad haircut [in] mental health”?! Been there, done that, and it’s not just the graduate student therapists, my previous shrink being a case in point.

    “So doctor, I’ve been having trouble sleeping. On the off chance that I’m getting too much caffeine, what’s the medically recommended daily limit?”
    “One cup.”
    ”Is that like one measuring cup cup, or one coffee mug cup?”
    ”One cup.”

    Once we arrived at the dosage of Prozac that helped me, I had to avoid saying anything that would prompt him to adjust my dosage or try the latest antidepressant the rep brought in. My new shrink is soooo much better. And I’m sleeping better.

  • http://comedyconjectures.blogspot.com Brett Johnson

    Molandes is the *balls*. Thanks for the heads-up!