Many of you out there in the web world have most likely learned by now of Robin Williams death. More shocking, his suicide. Am I heart broken, yes. Am I surprised, no. Why? Because I was a comedian for many years. Not a stand up, like Mr. Williams, but a performer. I used to do improv for many, many years. And, if I may toot my own horn, I was pretty good. Good enough to get into Second City Conservatory program.
You may be asking yourself, “If you were so good Elizabeth, why are you writing Erotic Romance books and not performing anymore?” Well, that has more to do with who I am as a person. Something my therapist and I have discussed at great length. I would tell him how I hated that after I got involved with things (acting, photography, improv, etc.) for many years I would get bored and walk away from it. He would argue that there was nothing wrong with that aspect of myself and we would go back and forth. I think you get it.
I know a lot of comedians. I am good friends with many; go to movies, dinner, talk about upcoming weddings/pregnancies/crazy kids, etc. with them. Some are becoming famous, have HBO specials about them and are finalists for SNL. Some are like me, went the family way and don’t do improv anymore.
The author of this article talks at great length about depression and the comedian. He does a great job and hits the nail on its shitty head. Comedians are usually depressed people. They do use jokes/humor to hide their insecurities. I was always the goofy friend in my group of buddies growing up. When my friends told me in high school that certain guys liked me, I thought they were making it up as a joke. That’s how insecure I was. I would laugh it off and make a joke, then go home a cry because I really did think they were making fun of me.
I could give you the sob story as to why I was insecure and I am sure Robin Williams could too. But the point is don’t, even for one tiny second think that the joke is the problem. A Facebook friend and fellow author lamented about how she’s worried about her son because he has talent telling jokes, like real talent. She had a good point, to encourage his other talents and parts of his life too, not just focus on the comedy. But, I fear she worried too much about the comedy thing.
My point to all this is simple, it’s the laughter, the tremendous support from fellow players/comedians, and the lessons learned from comedy that help many, even me, learn to see the world in a positive light. I was the stereotype the author wrote about and on top of all that became an addict too. When I finally sobered up some fifteen years ago I got help with a therapist, but it was my time many years later in improv that taught me some of my greatest lessons in life: Always support your partner, listen (eyes, ears, and at times, touch), yes/and (don’t be negative, always add to a scene or what your stage partner says), and so much more. To me, these are lessons for life. To my therapist at the time, he asked me to write them down because he agreed. He wanted to use them with his patients.
So, my point is, laughter can be the best medicine, even if it’s the doctor who needs the cure most.