By George Tarabay
I asked the question, but I do not know the answer, but if you allow me, I would like to figure it out with you (Page turner alert … even though it’s a one pager).
Hardship! That big, all-encompassing, theme that covers love, business, family, wrong food delivered to your doorstep, the car not starting, and life in general.
However, us Earthlings and Kryptonians are built with short emotional memory. We don’t forget hardship, on the contrary we learn from it. However, we disregard its emotional signature, and that is a key feature to our learning curve. In fact, it is so direly important for us to erase our emotional bank, that without that tool, we cannot zest out any positivity that can be grounds for learning and moving onwards.
Thus, the infamous saying “to each, their ways”. Some see a therapist, some seek advice, some change their environment, some change their restaurant delivery service. Each arrive as a noble approach in its own right. Still, I was always fascinated by an exclusive tool that only few utilize: Comedy.
If comics know anything others don’t know, is that “the show must go on”. They believe in it, they live it and they depend on it. It is a dogma that rules every aspect of their lives: Finances, emotions, successes, failures, love, break ups, family, even its literal meaning in their shows! It is the most powerful tool a comic possesses, and boy is it expensive to acquire.
But let’s take ten steps back and sit amongst the crowd. Why are comics the people with most credibility? Why are they considered as social beacons? Why do crowds flock to comedy clubs across the world every night?
Simple: Would you rather be lectured or heard? Comics hear you, they are you, they feel you, they speak on your behalf, they tackle your fears, your anxieties, your financial hardships, your parenting hardships … and the list goes on for hours! They simplify things, to the point where laughter becomes intuitive, they infuse lightness into your hardship by offering their funny perspective. They don’t operate from a book, if anything, they threw the book out the window. They operate from the gut and emotional growth, from experience and resilience!
That is why we never second guess their stories, their backgrounds or even their lessons. It’s because, throughout their show, you can see their process and evolution, and though you might not agree with them you respect it because you know it is truthful.
Now, let’s jump back up to the stage. What does a comic see?
A comic is there, not because he has to, rather because he needs to. When I often perform, I rarely notice the crowd past that first laugh. Not due to egocentricity, rather, it is my own relief. I get to be myself, I get to speak out my mind, I get to laugh at my misfortune and most importantly, I get to be unfiltered with myself.
It is also not coincidental that most comics suffered from depression: Robin Williams, Jim Carrey, Chris Farley . . .
These people, found nowhere to go except deeper. The deeper they dug, the more they were able to strip away at their lives’ basic elements to deliver true acts of comedy. Since there is beauty in simplicity, they trained themselves to keep digging until that beauty rose to their perspective.
In that sense, comedy is powerful, it pulled me and many others out of depression, and it unlocked my full potential. One that I am happy to share with you today through these lines.
Comedy renders the patient a therapist, and the therapist a patient. An amalgam of exchanges between the performer and the crowd, which neither fully understands yet deeply connects through, including this fool, behind his keyboard typing these words.
We are sometimes blessed to be the patient and sometimes the therapist. I know I am at least one, especially when I laugh.
George Tarabay is a local radio host, comedian, marketing expert and a self-proclaimed average human being. For his latest updates, follow him on Instagram @GeorgeTarabay.