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Posts tagged as depression

Maria Bamford and the Cathartic Comedy of Mental Illness

Maria Bamford is launching a revolution from her microphone. In less than two years, Bamford has survived the death of her best friend — her pug, Blossom — and a battle with depression, suicide, and hospitalization. The result: Her stand-up contains some of the most transformative work being done around mental illness and stigma today.

Last Monday, comedian Mike Birbiglia Tweeted, “Saw [Maria Bamford] tonight at Caroline's. I've never seen a comedian who made me want to give 25 standing ovations in one set.” He wasn’t alone.

I have seen Maria Bamford perform for almost eight years, primarily at the now-shuttered Lakeshore Theatre in Chicago. Her act has always been [...]

Attention, Depressed Comedians: The Laugh Factory Now Offers Free Therapy

Because comedians all try to get laughs to mask the infinite darkness within, the Laugh Factory in LA is now offering free therapy to comedians: "On Monday, Masada will be starting an in-house therapy program for Laugh Factory comics — no joke. One of two clinical psychologists will be on hand four nights a week at the club to treat stand-ups; the free, no-appointment-necessary sessions will take place on a therapy couch that, appropriately enough, used to belong to Groucho Marx." [via]

The Uneasy Relationship Between Mental Illness and Comedy

I had to take a Xanax to write this article. My anxiety makes it hard to start; my depression and self-doubt make it hard to come to any conclusion. And so, in classic neurotic fashion, I begin with skepticism:

“Are you SERIOUS?" Marc Maron asked me, presumably rhetorically, upon hearing my reason for calling him. I don’t think he was trying to be mean. It seemed like genuine disbelief.

I told him that I was. That I believed — in the face of countless evidence to the contrary — that mental illness was an obstacle to good comedy and not a tool for its deployment. That there exists a [...]

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

I often joke about being depressed and uninsured* because laughter is literally the best medicine I can afford right now –- and I’ve shopped around. In my group therapy sessions, each attendee tries to out-sad the last, and one-downers are much worse than one-uppers. Shrugging off that absurdity seems a small price to pay to get the help I need. And lately, I’ve been complimented on my hair and skin while in the same breath asked if I’m having a rough day, which is ironic because the vitamins and herbal supplements I take to help me feel better are doing everything but. Experimenting with free and cheap mental health [...]

Comedy as Therapy: How Some Comedians Self-Treat Depression and Social Anxiety with Standup

This content series is produced in partnership with smartwater. smartwater, good taste travels well. click here to learn more.

It’s a cliché at this point, the idea that comedians are damaged individuals who only perform comedy so that they can score enough laughs to keep their inner demons at bay, but that doesn’t mean it’s false. While there are plenty of well-adjusted, functional people who perform and write comedy, there are just as many who use their mental health issues as fuel and motivation. But can baring one’s soul onstage serve as a substitute for therapy, or is laughter just a temporary salve on permanent psychological wounds?

Rob [...]