In my personal experience with performance and theatre, I have found that a number of my friends and colleagues are faced with the issues no one quite likes to talk about: Mental Health. From depression, anxiety, and bipolar tendencies, a large percentage of performers are affected by these terrible illnesses, especially comedians. Stand-Up Comics, some of the funniest people on the planet, scored higher than the average person for extreme characteristics associated with mental illness and psychosis. In my paper, I will explore the formula of the comedic personality, why comics portray themselves as they do, and ultimately answer the question, “Do you have to be sad to be funny?”.

On Wayne Brady and why so many stand-up comics face depression

Background: Wayne Brady talks about the struggles of various comedians, namely Robin Williams, and discussed why mental health awareness is important to all.

How I Intend to Use It: I would like to use this article to bring forth the discussion on mental health through those that are affected heavily by the issue.

Robin Williams and the link between comedy and depression

Background: Several current comedians tell the “price” of being a comedian, and the toll it takes on performers of the past and present day.

How I Intend to Use It: This article will help me show that being a comedian isn’t all fun and games, that these performers face plenty of hardships and risk in their line of work.

Are comedians really depressed?

Background: This article covers the science of the comedic personality and whether or not suffering is essential for a comedian to perform.

How I Intend to Use It: This article proposes a hypothetical counterargument, and will help me determine wether or not there is a specific set of traits required to be a comedian.

Laugh Factory to add therapy to stand-up comics’ routine

Background: Laugh Factory owner Jamie Masada talks about his in-house therapy program for Laugh Factory performers, and why he feels this type of open discussion is necessary.

How I Intend to Use It: This article will provide insight into the parts of the community actively combatting the problem, as well as bringing forth why seeking help is important.

Comedians have ‘high levels of psychotic traits’

Background: This article covers the research done by Oxford University into the mind of the comedian, showing through their studies why comedians act as they do.

How I Intend to Use It: This is the article I will use to find statistics and scientific support to back my idea.

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