I'm a comedian venturing Chicago with a passion for storytelling and making others laugh.
I tend to see the humor in most things, but I'm still working to get my head on straight. Until then, I think I'll enjoy the view.
“I think disappointment and depression, you know, not chemical, not clinical depression, but I think a lot of depression and disappointment is excitement without an outlet.”
-Chris Hardwick on Episode 87 of Pete Holmes’ podcast, “You Made it Weird.”
I’m a new listener to the “You Made it Weird” podcast, and I’ve been enjoying its insight on exploring the Comedy World through the voices of those who’ve found a way to start a life over there.
A few weeks ago I listened to Chris Hardwick’s interview. About 20 minutes into the interview, Holmes touched on “feeling things” when you’re a performer. “How’s your heart?” and dealing with rejection. This caught my attention, even more so when Hardwick threw in his theory of “disappointment and depression.” (above quote)
I’ve had my fair share of bad days, sad days and days where I felt absolutely nothing at all. I had an eight month period of complete numbness throughout my body. I felt so bad to the point I couldn’t feel a thing. I couldn’t even pinpoint where I felt the pain, or lack there of. My head? My heart? My soul?
Comedy has always been my go to therapy session, and a huge part of my personality is seeing the “funny” in life situations. I’ve been performing with various improv groups and doing stand-up for the past 5 years, so the healing powers of laughter were no stranger to me. However, while I was successful in keeping things funny and making others laugh, I lost something along the way. I had reached a point where I neglected my own reality; how I was really feeling on the inside.
I was getting good at masking my emotions. Too good. In fact, I could hide comfortably behind a smile. Whenever anyone asked me “how are you doing?” I would avoid answering the question truthfully by cracking some stupid joke. For me, this tactic was my way of pretending I was okay. I wasn’t. I knew it, but I was too afraid to do something about it, mainly because I couldn’t figure out how to explain it.
I think Hardwick knocked it on the head. “Excitement without an outlet.” As human beings, it’s in our nature to create. We each have our own way of doing it. Some dance. Some paint. Some build or write, others are gifted athletes. We have brilliant speakers and musicians, and people who can bend their bodies for a living. Some will dare to climb the tallest mountain, while others study the surface of the rocks below. Everyday, each person contributes their skill to the “collective canvas of the Universe.” I tell jokes.
I think for a while I was afraid of my skill because in my depression the hardest thing to admit was the fact that I was sad. I feared asking for help because I didn’t want to lose my “outlet.” I didn’t want to become “unfunny,” because people would know I was sad.
Well, the funny thing about this situation is realizing you can’t escape sadness. It’s part of life. But it’s how you cope with your emotions that make the feeling of sadness as rewarding as happiness. We grow from our experiences when we find a balance, and answers to difficult questions don’t always come quickly.
Where I feared understanding my own pain, I can share it with others knowing it’s part of my healing process. Not only am I still doing comedy and making others laugh, but I understand myself a lot better becauseI had a chance to explore the areas that frightened me. Yes, I still fear disappointment and have the occasional sad day, but I’ve learned to give these areas some personal recognition so I can utilize my outlet.