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When you’re feeling overwhelmed with life, what do you turn to? For me, comedy. For as long as I can remember, I’ve coped with my struggles by fostering a good sense of humor. Humor can be defined as unexpected ambiguity and an adjunct to therapy. Unfortunately, the type of humor that draws me to laugh aloud must be really unexpected and dark but not morbid. I say unfortunately because of my underlying pain stems from childhood and recent trauma which sets a tone of paranoia causing my brain to assume the outcome of most situations whether correctly or incorrectly. That can kill the punch line if you’re expecting the good, the bad, and the ugly all at the same time. Nevertheless, the benefits of having paranoia for me often lies in how my mind computes information like a predictive analytics software.
Using humor to counter trauma can be similar to exposure therapy. By revisiting the events from my past, I’m able to reprogram the scenario with humorous tones as a way to detract the power from the pain. For instance, one hallucination that led me down a dark path was this idea that I was a tree. Before I came to realize the collective reality, I use to water myself and sunbathe, thinking, I’m good to go, no need to eat. I lost a ton of weight but looking back and seeing how far off the deep end I dove, that makes me laugh. This method may not work for everyone but for me, it was a start into recovery, that and using my zeal for software programming to support focusing on something productive helped tremendously.
I’ve always seen comedians and Buddhist monks on the opposite spectrum of coping with the imbalance of life’s pain. One using humor to address issues and reduce the power of the pain and the other meditates and hacks to remove the essential thought that presupposes the importance of it in the first place. I use both methods and feel more balanced for it. Life without humor and balance is life without meaning for me. Great humor is like beautiful art, it possibly can trigger emotions and memory, puts a smile on your face, and a deep appreciation for the creator behind it.
I’m thankful for individuals like Richy Leis that are using comedy to not only support organizations like ours but a way to start the conversation about one of the most pertinent topics in current events in the United States, mental health. Thank you, Richy and Benjamin, for using your strengths and passion to bridge and shed light to our community. We hope this partnership will take root in ways that can incorporate more humor and invite individuals looking for a punch line support.
Join us April 16th! Doors open at 6:30 pm and the show starts at 7:30 pm at the El Cid – 4212 W Sunset Blvd Los Angeles, CA 90029.
Using the promo code “PAINTEDBRAIN”, you’ll receive 10% off and $5 will be donated to us. Get your tickets here – https://www.eventbrite.com/e/silver-lake-laughs-comedy-centrals-thomas-dale-tickets-44566522669.