Laughing Like Crazy
Laughing Like Crazy aims to empower participants and audiences alike, breakdown isolation and anxiety, build self-esteem, and challenge stigma. Looking at difficult issues through the lens of humour provides an empowering perspective on mental health issues, builds confidence, and improves communication. Our problems are transformed into humour — we're laughing, so you can too. There's no point being sane unless you're laughing like crazy!
The backbone of the Laughing Like Crazy program is an intensive 16 week group that teaches participants how to develop a stand-up comedy routine based on their experiences of mental health issues and the mental health system. Each meeting combines mutual support and group building with learning how to write, hone and deliver a stand-up routine. The culmination of the program is a public showcase performance where people perform stand-up comedy for the very first time. There are now over a hundred graduates of the intensive program who can be booked for other public and private performances. These shows raise awareness, reduce stigma, and are an opportunity to create a meaningful dialogue about the impacts of mental health issues on individuals and communities.
Positive impact on:
- Immunity, cardiac health and pain (Bennett & Lengacher, 2008)
- Workplace health, productivity, and coping (Mesmer-Magnus, Glew, & Viswesvaran, 2012)
- Social interactions (Ibarra-Rovillard & Kuiper, 2011)
"Just meeting new people in general and being able to chat with them and listen to their stories, and, you know. Joking around. It does help a lot. Especially when you're at your lowest."
"I came here and met some great people and had some laughs and hopefully made other people laugh – and that’s what I enjoy doing. I enjoy making people laugh and try to work through my depression at the same time."
- Distress and anxiety (Grases Colom, Trías Alcover, Sánchez-Curto, & Zárate-Osuna, 2011; Szabo, 2003)
"I got in touch with a spark of brilliance that I didn't know was there. (…) That spark of brilliance will help me move along on my hardest days. (…) I know I did something fantastic and I have that fantasticness [sic] and I can see it now, whereas before it was clouded behind curtains."
"I know this sounds hokey, but it was a magical feeling… that was what I experienced, and then I felt proud."
Humor and Mental Health:
"…there's only so much therapy you can do. Only so many drugs you can take. (…) It's just nice to have another outlet, another thing to put your focus on instead of rehashing your childhood or history. It’s a good way to channel it."
- Psychotherapeutic benefits (Gelkopf, 2011)
- Coping with stigma (Ilic et al., 2012)
- Change people's perceptions of the symptom severity, see themselves in a more positive light (Witztum, Briskin, & Lerner, 1999)
"I started realizing I was finding the funny a lot more in things, you know? Problem solving a little bit better. How do I handle it a bit better? Where's the humour in this situation? There’s got to be some humour."
"[I]t just became time to laugh and have fun and to stop trying so hard to get better and just release that a little bit and just have—I keep saying have fun."
Laughing Like Crazy Video
Laughing Like Crazy was officially created in June 2010; however, the core of its programming goes back to 2005 when it began as the Toronto chapter of David Granirer's Stand Up for Mental Health (Vancouver). The Toronto program was founded by Michael Cole (LLC Director, 2005-2011) who combined his lifetime of comedy writing, theatre, and arts experience with his experience as a peer support facilitator. After completing the program herself, Emma Árdal joined Michael as a co-facilitator in 2008. Emma became the Program Director when Michael Cole retired in December 2011.
Laughing Like Crazy Joke Book
Celebrating 10 years of the Laughing Like Crazy program, this book includes a sampling of the material created since it's beginning.
Call (416) 486-8046 or 1-888-486-8236 for information on how to purchase.