There’s a lot to be upset about in today’s day and age: the continual fight against racism, sexism, terrorism and all the other isms, the constant negativity on social media, and all of the daily stress of the 21st century fast-paced lifestyle add up to a lot of baggage. It’s important to take care of your mental health and to remain positive. Some people may turn to therapy, and that does a lot of good for a lot of people, but I’m going to offer an alternative to therapy that’s much easier to get a hold of and way better for your wallet: stand-up comedy. I completely believe that laughter is the best way to heal your soul, so here are a couple reasons why the next time you’re feeling down you should turn to a comedian before you call a therapist.
1. Laughter is the best medicine.
If there’s one thing that will always make me feel a million times better, it’s laughing. Something about letting joy burst out of you in the form of a giggle or a chuckle just washes away any problem I’m having. If I’m upset about anything, there’s a 150 percent chance I’m going to try to find some way to make myself laugh, and stand-up comedy is my go-to.
2. It makes you realize you're not alone.
Comedians are weird people. They are weird, honest, awful, real people. Most comedians have struggled to get where they are. All will turn their personal tragedies into a way to connect with the audience and to make people laugh. That’s a beautiful thing, and it’s even more beautiful to realize that these incredibly and successful people have the same problems you do.
3. It's way cheaper than therapy.
If you have a Netflix account, access to youtube, or even a library card you can obtain any stand-up comedy routine your heart may desire, and it’ll be way cheaper than therapy. The five minutes it takes to decide which comedian you want to watch and a couple bucks for some snacks is all it’ll cost you.
4. Stand-up comedians will tell it like it is.
If you’re looking for an honest opinion on your dating life, your social media obsession, your weird habits or literally anything under the sun, a comedian will tell you exactly how and why you’re doing something wrong. Comedians have a twisted form of honest exaggeration that captures our daily thoughts, and they’ll tell it like it is in a way that paid professional therapists just aren’t allowed to do sometimes. Forget sugarcoating, if you have a problem these comedians will call you out on it.
5. It's a confidence booster.
I don’t know about you guys, but I find that watching stand-up comedy always makes me feel good about myself, and it’s not because I’ve had some life altering self-discovery moment, it’s because I realize that all the weird stuff I do and all the things I think are true to someone else too. I am an animated person, I love to be loud and the biggest voice in a room and watching stand-up reassures that larger than life part of myself that loud voices and weird facial expressions can be pretty and successful and admired.
6. They will reassure you that you are still a good person.
Did you ever think something really terrible about a stranger in public? A thought that surprised you because your mom didn’t raise you to think like that? That’s okay, we all have, and comedians capitalize on it. It’s easy not to feel like a terrible person when the comedian bares it all onstage and throws their worst thoughts out into the world. If they can make a joke about orphans and still be thought of as a good person and show their humanity, your mean comment to your roommate won’t feel as catastrophic.
7. Watching stand-up provides the opportunity to socialize.
Bring all your friends over and turn on your favorite comedian. You don’t have to talk if you don’t feel like it, you can just sit and laugh in a room full of your favorite people. You don’t have to be lonely when you’re cry-laughing on the couch late at night, you don’t have to dance with your demons in the dark by yourself. You can turn on a funny routine and just be still for a bit, and it automatically gives you a million inside jokes with your friends that you’ll only understand because you watched the same comedian.
Maybe you have a Pinterest addiction, or a drinking problem, or a habit of being very irrationally mean when you’re hungry. A therapist might want to get to the root of that problem, and figure out a way to get you to quit. A comedian is a comrade though, they will support your habit and tell you their stories of the same struggle. It might not be the healthiest way of dealing with your problems but it sure does make you feel better about whatever is going on.
9. Learning to laugh at yourself counts as personal growth.
Comedians use a lot of self-deprecating humor, and that’s a good trait. It’s good to learn to laugh at your mistakes, because at the end of the day we are all tiny humans in a huge universe with no real grasp of where we’re going and if we let ourselves get caught up in our problems we’ll drown. Learning to laugh at yourself and to not take everything so seriously can majorly improve your daily outlook on life.
Sometimes you don’t need to tackle your problems head on, not every situation calls for an intervention and a total change of life plans. Sometimes, all you need is a small distraction to get through the day, and stand-up comedy is my chosen form. Escapism might not be the best way to deal with every issue, but it certainly helps to alleviate my stress levels. Taking a break from the outside world and just having a good laugh is all you need sometimes.
11. You can borrow their jokes in your own social life.
I am a joke re-teller. If I think something if funny I will use it daily in my life, because I feel that a day without laughter is a day ill-spent. These days, 90 percent of my conversations involve at least one reference to a comedian I love, whether my friends realize it or not, and that’s okay. Not every day will be your wittiest day, sometimes you need to borrow humor to keep things light and watching stand-up routines will give you plenty of material.
12. Stand-up comedy actually provides a lot of insight on society.
Last but not least, comedians are actually quite observant. They take pieces of their lives and culture to weave humorous tales, but if you look past the expletives and the gimmicks there’s actually a lot of smart social commentary happening. Comedians have given me a fresh perspective on a lot of societal issues and frequently force me to think about the way I treat others. A lot can be learned from what we laugh about.
Comedy is a longstanding tradition in our culture for a reason, it makes people happy. Laughter is one of life’s most wonderful gifts, and it’s completely free. So if you find yourself with the blues, watch some stand-up first and see how it can brighten your day.