How does comedy help my mental health? At the first glance of this question I’m like…I’m really not sure it does. It’s not as if comedy is inherently enjoyable, in fact it’s actually quite horrible sometimes. I often ask myself (everyday) “why am I doing this?” It doesn’t feel nice, it’s hard and it doesn’t always pay. And even more confusing, literally no one is making me do it. In fact the world is actively like, ‘don’t do it.’ Do something that everyone else is doing. We’ve designed it that way, it’ll be easier to succeed. Don’t go off track. But that’s probably part of the reason. I don’t like being told what to do. Oh, you want me to do this thing? Okay, no.
But really…why am I doing this? There’s loads of other, much less painful ways to forge your own path than going out every night to perform standup to judgmental strangers. Like getting a full face tattoo then volunteering as a crash dummy for example.
I’m 29 and a few months ago I got diagnosed with ASD. I’d always had trouble fitting in. I just feel like when I entered life, everyone got a memo that I didn’t receive. Everyone is playing a game, but I don’t know the rules. The therapist who called to give me my diagnosis (and started the longest session of ‘small talk’ despite currently being the only person in the world medically sure that I would absolutely hate that) said “oh, you do stand up, that must be difficult.” I mean, yes, this is the usual response from people. As if I run into burning buildings for a living. But this time the question seemed attached to the fact that I’m neurodivergent. Like surely, it’s harder for you? I said, “not really,” and tried to think of why.
Every comedian has a different reason for doing comedy.
The bubbly inspirers, who believe laughter is the best medicine. And believe that genuinely makes them a doctor: ‘I just love to make people happy and spread joy.’
The outspoken interrupters: “I just love being centre of attention”
The over-sharers: “It’s great therapy”
So what the hell is my deal?
Am I just a masochist?
It doesn’t feel nice, it’s hard and it doesn’t always pay. But for me it’s one of the only places in my life where I not only got the memo, I get to write the memo. When I'm on stage it’s my game, and my rules and I get to teach you all how to play. And I love playing. You might feel uncomfortable, that’s how I feel all the time. Embrace it. It doesn’t have to be scary. It can even be fun. This is how I see things, what makes me laugh and you’re all invited to join. And for a moment in time, we can exist in my world. Sharing those moments are some of the best of my life.
Eryn Tett Finds Her Audience debuts at the Just The Tonic Tron at 5pm from 4th – 28th August for tickets go to www.edfringe.com