people think you have to be nuts to do stand-up comedy.
Counselor and Stand-Up
Comic David Granirer offers it as a form of therapy.
In David's Stand Up For Mental Health course, mental health consumers turn their problems into comedy, then perform their acts at conferences, treatment centers, psych wards, for various mental health organizations, corporations, government agencies, on college and university campuses, and most importantly for the general public.
“We use comedy to give consumers a powerful voice and help reduce the stigma and discrimination around mental illness” says Granirer. “The idea is that laughing at our setbacks raises us above them. It makes people go from despair to hope, and hope is crucial to anyone struggling with adversity. Studies prove that hopeful people are more resilient and also tend to live longer, healthier lives.”
Granirer, who lives with depression, got the idea for Stand Up For Mental Health from watching students in his Langara College Stand-Up Comedy Clinic course. “Though Stand-Up Comedy Clinic isn’t intended as therapy, I’ve had students overcome long standing depressions and phobias, not to mention increasing their confidence and self-esteem. There’s something incredibly healing about telling a roomful of people exactly who you are and having them laugh and cheer.”
Stand Up For Mental Health trains groups in Vancouver, Victoria, Courtenay, Chilliwack, Abbotsford, Fort Frances, Guelph, Ottawa, Toronto, Montreal and Halifax. We work with the Depression Bipolar Support Alliance in the U.S.
“There’s something amazing about having members your community take the stage at an event and rock the house,” says Granirer. It’s incredibly empowering and a great way of fighting public stigma. Most so-called normal people would never want to go anywhere near stand-up comedy. Seeing people with mental illness do it forces the audience to re-evaluate their perceptions of and prejudices against people who have a mental illness.”
Vancouver Class before a show
(left to right): Jennifer Steel, Eufemia Fantetti.
Middle (left to right):
Roxanne Teal, Leigh Bennewith, Rose D'Vilano.
(left to right): Paul Decarie, Tibor Toth, Michael Warren, Joan Stone, Robbie