Lisa René LeClair
It's no secret that laughing makes us feel better. Even the Mayo Clinic talks about its positive effects on the human body, but what would happen if comedy ceased to exist? What if the people behind the scenes, the ones writing the jokes, and creating the stories, memes, videos, and movies we've come to know and love, stopped producing content?
As a humor writer and digital creator who suffers from anxiety and depression, I can tell you firsthand how hard it is to be funny when you feel like your world is crumbling. It took years to shake the sadness and anger from my voice after leaving an abusive relationship. Everything I said sounded bitter and forced. My content stopped being witty and entertaining. Instead, it turned into mean-spirited and sarcastic jabs at that which I could not control. It was an out-of-body experience that lasted longer than my marriage, and I'm thankful the worst is over.
While moving on has not prevented my inner voice from leaving self-sabotaging comments in my in-box that stifle creativity, choosing fight over flight and powering on is a daily struggle —more so when things are hectic. As adults, we become inundated with responsibilities that never end. We must work hard to pay the bills if we want to survive. We also must cook, clean, grocery shop, take out the trash, fold laundry, schedule medical appointments (for ourselves, our children, and our pets), and then drive to said locations, which often leads to getting cut off in traffic by someone in a worse mood than you.
Many of us are "doing it all" at home right now with our kids sitting in a virtual classroom down the hall. The interruptions are almost as distracting as the berating voices in our heads that tell us we are failing as humans. Here are some of the things my inner demons had to say this week:
Insults like these have been swirling through my brain for decades. It seems that success is always slightly out of my reach, and it's my fault for putting it there. If memory serves correct, I believe Moe held Curly's head so he couldn't hit him when swinging his arms, but it could have been the other way around or another show entirely. Either way, that's how it feels sometimes.
Embracing small victories when you wrestle with anxiety is challenging, particularly for those in the entertainment industry who struggle to hold it together long enough to squeeze out a one-liner in hopes that it will put a smile on someone else's face. When you live to make people laugh, but all you have are negative thoughts, it can make you feel like a failure. Okay, maybe that's just me projecting my imposter syndrome onto you, but there is some value to what I am saying that seems worthy of debate, so why not talk about it openly with those trying to keep us in check.
In the coming weeks, I'll be hitting the ground running with my latest adventure, The Bright Side of Dark Comedy: a live stream podcast featuring real, unscripted conversations with some of the funniest and talented people online. The show will air Thursdays at noon EST on Facebook and YouTube (Instagram if I'm lucky) — with links to the audio on PodBean. Make sure you're following me on my social media channels, so you don't miss out. If you are a humor writer, digital creator, comedian, sketch artist, or actor interested in joining the conversation, please send your request, along with links to your social media accounts, to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Humor is the glue that holds many of us together. It is the best medicine money can buy, and it's free if you know where to look. Keep an eye on my page, friends. I have a feeling this is going to be fun. Hell, you might even learn something.