It’s no secret that everyone thinks performers are crazy. From the Evel Knievel types risking their lives for the thrill and entertainment of their audience to the comedians trying for their big break in some small time coffee shop, the stigma follows that any person who would lay themselves out on stage in front of others is a bit off their rocker. Luckily for that stigma, researchers at Oxford University have found that performers are indeed certifiably nuts! Or, at least the comedians definitely are. As it turns out, comedians test slightly higher for psychotic traits than their close cousin, the actors and actresses, and higher still than those in a non-creative field.
This word, “psychotic,” can raise a few red flags in everyday conversation, so let’s break it down. Psychosis, by medical definition, is a disorder characterized by emotions that are so impaired there is a loss of contact with reality. In severe cases, there are reports of hallucinations and delusions, but traditionally means difficulty concentrating, anxiety, unusual thoughts and behaviors, depression, and introversion. There are a number of ways psychosis is developed, including disease, alcohol, and illegal drugs, most anything that damages the brain over time. “Psychotic” means a person suffering from psychosis, and is usually synonymous with insane, deranged, and demented among others. Does this mean comedians should be committed to a mental hospital? Maybe, but most likely not. The study conducted by Oxford suggests that the psychotic traits found in comedians are actually beneficial to their work. These traits promote creative thinking, and helps in creating routines filled with original, interesting, and thought-provoking material.
Being a bit crazy means comedians see the world from a different perspective, so they are able to pick out details many others would generally overlook. This “outside the box” cognitive process leads to truthful conversations and commentary on social issues that people actually listen to, because the argument is held together by the overarching glue of comedy. So, thanks to psycho comedians, the general public can finally have healthy conversations about politics!
“Comedians Have ‘high Levels of Psychotic Traits’.” BBC News. N.p., 16 Jan. 2014. Web. 28 Sept. 2015.
“Psychosis.” Healthline. Web. 30 Nov. 2015.
feedback was requested.
P1. First, this is a dramatic and effective opening, twofoursix. I like also that you haven’t squandered the inherent attractiveness of nutty performers by offering to provide a dictionary definition of mental illness. There will be time to be technical. For now, you’re conveying important information without boring anyone.
Some grammar trouble with number agreement.
–Your singular person doesn’t match the plural their rockers.
–Comedians plural are cousins, not a close cousin
Your stigma is not lucky. It couldn’t care less about the support researchers provide. Those who subscribe to the stigma might feel “lucky” to have their belief vindicated, but I doubt even they care much about being right here. I would rephrase the “lucky for the” claim out of existence.
I admire your handling of the psychosis evidence. You haven’t offered any numbers, but you play out the evidence cleverly, first indicating that comedians are a bit nuttier than actors, all of whom are a good bit nuttier than, say, salesmen. Clever sequencing.
My P2. If you can manage it, we could use a transition paragraph here where you make us care. The medical definition of psychosis doesn’t matter to me unless I’m told first that my favorite comedians were clinically psychotic, or were sadly undiagnosed (or misdiagnosed in their lifetimes), or should be under a doctor’s care at all times. I want to know whether dead comics Sam Kinison and Andy Kaufman were self-destructive off stage, and whether Lenny Bruce could have been saved by therapy. That sort of thing. Then, once we have a vested interest in the diagnosis and the medical details, you can talk to us for some time in return. We’ll be eager for the explanations.
Your P2. The clinical details are fine, and you have a light touch with the technicalities. But if the hallucinations, the loss of touch with reality, related back to details about known comics, they’d be much more compelling as evidence.
You almost claim that comics don’t actually display the “insane, deranged, demented” diagnosis that would get them locked up. You also come close to it but haven’t quite said that there’s a wide range of symptoms, and a wide degree of severity. Both those claims would help explain why some psychos, like the Joker, kill innocents while others just kill audiences. OK?
P3. I’m not sure how precise those Oxford academics were, but if you can be more specific about the traits comics have that suit them for their profession, we’d appreciate the help. This “different perspective” stuff is vague . . . and doesn’t require psychosis to achieve.
Was Jon Stewart able to make Americans pay attention to thoughtful and insightful political commentaries because he was a little psychotic, or was his “different way of looking at things” not so much a difference of perspective as a willingness to risk calling every politician a hypocrite? That’s not mental illness; it’s just courage.
Or were you hoping for a “good job” benediction?
Helpful! I wanted some insight on what else could be improved on before I headed into my final paper! I appreciate being given more ideas to expand upon to make this last piece more effective!