I’m a fan of standup comedy, and support free-speech when it comes to comedians fighting in a world that requires them to be politically correct; or as comedians describe it “Walking on landmines”.
What I have trouble comprehending is how Mental Health is often ignored as an issue completely; I don’t mind the use of the “R” word to describe stupidity, I mind the carelessness with which words get spun into stand-up comedy acts.
Not to get all sentimental in this situation, but as an individual who suffers and battles depression and suicidal thoughts to this day; I don’t appreciate the terminology of “Cowardly way to go out” being associated with suicide victims.
I understand, for comedy’s sake, it’s just another joke and sure who am I to police their act — it’s free speech of course.
It would just be a little helpful if comedians stopped acting like “Moral Pundits”, when they hardly understand an issue or have dealt with it personally.
I like comedians who are forth coming, self-deprecating, and have the ability to find empathy through their comedy; much like Robin Williams did.
His stand-up comedy, saved my life — and his acting in Good Will Hunting gave me hope.
I was devastated to learn Robin Williams had left this world by choosing to end his own, when he had brought so much joy and laughter to people such as myself. I wished it would be a reminder to other comedians to take into account the sensitivity of the issues surrounding mental health, and inner struggles which individuals deal with.
Yet the argument remains comedians don’t like being told what to do, it’s a statement often made by comedians who feel threatened by the politically correct atmosphere in this day and age; but it also reflects a lack of maturity and awareness.
Point being, comedy for me was and still is — a relief.
A relief from the battles I face everyday and the struggle that is to keep moving.
It’s hurtful when in attendance at my favourite comedian’s act, only to have them say “You know…if you want to end your life, do it with courage. Don’t be a f*ing p**sy by swallowing a bunch of pills and take a nap you don’t wake up from!”, it sure got a laugh from the crowd — but it felt ignorant and hollow of how a “joke” could be so insensitive and hurtful.
I didn’t call the comedian out on his act, neither did I heckle; I just sat through it and witnessed the lack of empathy being preached as the crowd laughed hysterically — it basically what most of my life I’ve been told to do whenever I discuss Mental Health and Suicide, “Just suck it up — Men don’t cry”.
Maybe it was just an act, and the comedian truly doesn’t feel that way — that’s a fair assumption, it’s an act of course — “It’s just a joke”.
“Comedians don’t like being told what to do”, was also an argument Sarah Silverman made on her recent appearance on The Howard Stern Show, where she argued Louis C.K. shouldn’t have to apologise in his act because “Comedians don’t like being told what to do”; but then again Sarah Silverman was also of the opinion that she was fine with Louis C.K. masturbating in front of her — so who am I to judge.
Whilst, I am a supporter of stand-up comedians and do still hope that their careers aren’t under threat due to what they call “Moral Policing”; I do hope that there is a sense of clarity and awareness being brought into their acts when they do wish to talk about Mental Heath, because trust me “It’s just a joke” almost cost me my life twice.
Please don’t underestimate the power words have in harming or healing others.
Thank you for reading. :)