1. Hugelshofer, Daniela S., Robert C. Reff, and Megan L. Olson. “Humour’s Role in the Relation Between Attributional Style and Disphoria.” Ed. Paul Kwon. European Journal of Personality, 20 Mar. 2006. Web. 3 Nov. 2015.
Background: This source details the link between styles of humor and depressive episodes, and presents further commentary on the hopelessness theory of depression. It provides and goes in depth about research conducted by Washington State University on the topic, and elaborate on how and why comedy is used as a defense mechanism in those susceptible to depressive episodes.
How I Used It: With this study, I was able to correlate depression with comedy, making it that much easier to explain how comedians use their work as a coping mechanism by providing concrete evidence.
2. Mcgraw, A. P., C. Warren, L. E. Williams, and B. Leonard. “Too Close for Comfort, or Too Far to Care? Finding Humor in Distant Tragedies and Close Mishaps.” Psychological Science (2012): 1215-223. Web. 3 Nov. 2015.
Background: Several colleagues from The University of Colorado explore the Benign Violation Theory of Comedy, researching the correlation between distance and severity of an event to how funny it is to an audience. Their research elaborates on tragedy versus mishap, and under what conditions they are deemed humorous.
How I Used It: This is the backbone of my research. To begin examining comedy, I should have some idea on why certain things are funny, and why others are not. McGraw and Warren’s study has also been used to explain why tragedy is funny, helping myself and my reader better understand how comedians with mental illness use the Benign Violation Theory of Comedy to their advantage.
3. Mcgraw, A. P., and C. Warren. “Benign Violations: Making Immoral Behavior Funny.” Psychological Science (2010): 1141-149. Web. 3 Nov. 2015.
Background: Another study by Warren and McGraw, this research focuses primarily on the moral aspects of comedy, once again in relation t the Benign Violation Theory of Comedy. McGraw and Warren study the difference in morally correct and incorrect behavior, and the affect on a audience should those affected be friend, family, or stranger.
How I Used It: McGraw and Warren make up the majority of my research, as they provide intelligent insight ingot the cognitive process behind comedy, as well as the necessary components to make something funny. In this study, I was given the tools to not only comment on the comedy in unfortunate events, but also the comedy found within people and their occasionally immoral and/or unethical behavior.
4. Khazan, Olga. “The Dark Psychology of Being a Good Comedian.” The Atlantic. Atlantic Media Company, 27 Feb. 2014. Web. 3 Nov. 2015.
Background: While a bit sporadic in it’s nature, this article mainly covers the specific traits a successful comedian possesses, as eel as the balance of light and dark needed in a routine. The dark side of comedy, depression, and cognitive process are all discussed at length bringing to light how, when, where, and why certain things are funny.
How I Used It: This article covers one too many topics for my liking, but there are several points made that interested me, namely the comparisons of several theories of comedy, as well as the differentiation between a comedian’s stage presence and genuine personality.
5. Snow, Shane. “A Quest to Understand What Makes Things Funny.” The New Yorker. Condé Nast, 1 Apr. 2014. Web. 18 Nov. 2015.
Background: Snow quickly briefs the reader on several theories of comedy presented over the years, and why each one is not fully complete. The article contains a brief interview with McGraw and Warren, and recaps the process behind the development of the Benign Violation Theory of Comedy.
How I Used It: This article provided several examples of benign violations, simplifying McGraw and Warren’s theory into specific instances, helping me better understand the overall concept. The process behind creating the Benign Violation Theory of Comedy as well as the simplified examples have helped me better relay the core concept to the reader.
6. “Comedians Have ‘high Levels of Psychotic Traits’.” BBC News. N.p., 16 Jan. 2014. Web. 28 Sept. 2015.
Background: This article covers the common personality traits of comedians and how those traits affect their ability to create new, interesting material in comedy.
How I Used It: I was able to use this article to explain why traits of instability are the reason comedians can do what they do so well. While not all are affected by mental illness, the traits that go along actually aid comedians in their craft.
7. Barsotti, Scott T.”Are Theatre Artists Hardwired?” HowlRound. 19 Oct. 2015. Web. 25 Oct. 2015.
Background: This article broadens its subject to all theatre artist, and explains the different aptitudes performers have to be successful in their craft, as well as how different proficiencies affect a person’s work.
How I Used It: This article was interesting because ti had a different outlook than some of the others I had found, and went down the path I had originally taken, in the vein of “How to Create the Perfect Comedian.” Along with psychotic traits, I was able to use this article to build on the ideal comedic personality and explain how each aptitude affects the process of creating a routine.
8. Vankin, Deborah. “Laugh Factory to Add Therapy to Stand-up Comics’ Routine.” Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles Times, 9 Feb. 2011. Web. 28 Sept. 2015.
Background: This article interviews Laugh Factory owner Jamie Masada, as he had given performers at the club to take part in in-house therapy to help them cope with their inner demons. Several comedians give their own stories on how they and their peers work through their struggles.
How I Used It: I wanted another article that detailed personal struggle, as well asa desire to recover. This article gave insight on the different coping methods within the community along with individual’s views on therapy.
9. McGaw, Peter, and Joel Warner. “Is the Stereotype of the Depressed Comedian True?” Slate. The Humor Code. Web. 24 Nov. 2015.
Background: The 9th entry of The Humor Code, a 10-entry column written by Peter McGraw and Joel Warner, sheds light on the depressed comic stereotype and wether or not comedians rely on psychological instability in order to be successful. Comparisons are made between personality traits on and off stage and how that influences the paradigm the general public has of comedians.
How I Used It: This article dismantled the idea that all comedians are damaged. While the vast majority are in different ways, this article helped me remind the reader the the majority does not mean everyone. This article gave the viewpoint that comedians are seen this way because their job is to be open about their experiences, so they may not be more screwed up, just more willing to admit that they are.
10. Stang, Debra. “What Is Psychosis?” WiseGEEK. Ed. J.T. Gale. N.p., 12 Oct. 2015. Web. 26 Oct. 2015.
Background: One of a small amount of medical articles, Stang easily explains why psychosis is, how it is caused, and the correlation with other similar conditions and diseases.
How I Used It: This article was used for medical research and background into what psychosis means. Comedians test for high levels of psychotic traits, and I wanted to elaborate on what that entails, as well as why it is relevant.
11. Youngs, Ian. “Robin Williams and the Link between Comedy and Depression.” BBC News. 12 Aug. 2014. Web. 28 Sept. 2015.
Background: In light of Robin Williams’ death, this article clarifies wether or not all comedians are prone to depression as well as other mental health issues. There are several disorders discussed, commented on by the comedians who suffer from these various disorders.
How I Used It: This article was one of the first I had found, and in the vast sea of articles about Robin Williams’ death, this one introduced the concept of comedy as a coping mechanism. There is also great commentary that comedy comes at a price, and that signs of mental illness and suicidal thoughts are often hard to uncover at first glance.
12. Osterndorf, Chris. “On Wayne Brady and Why so Many Stand-up Comics Face Depression.” The Daily Dot. 5 Nov. 2014. Web. 28 Sept. 2015.
Background: Famous comedian Wayne Brady opens up about his own bouts of depression and the inner turmoil he experiences. The author presents a candid article about suicide and the importance of discussing mental health.
How I Used It: With this article, I had a number of interview from comedians on how they cope with depression, anxiety, and stress, as well as how they have been affected by suicide within their community. This article is the perfect gate way into spreading awareness about mental health and the importance of discussion on the issue.
13. “What Are the Causes of Mental Illness?” What Are the Causes of Mental Illness. Web. 25 Oct. 2015.
Background: This medical article explains the biological, psychological, and environmental causes of mental illness.
How I Used It: This article helped me explain how mental illness comes about, wether it be due to genetics, upbringing, or psychological stress. By explaining the medical background of mental illness, I was able to relate these disorders back to the traits observed in great comedians.
It’s a start. 🙂