Relationship Between Humor and Sadness
title: "Coping with Comedy: The Relationship Between Humor and Sadness"
description: "Research has confirmed that comedy is good medicine, effectively reducing the stress response, bolstering the immune system, and relieving chronic pain."
Comedy also derives from benign violations of social norms:
Self-deprecation, making fun of powerful figures, challenge social assumptions, conventions, hierarchies.
Comedians tend to be highly introverted.
Psychological studies have found that comedians tend to be highly introverted, which might seem surprising since they make their living standing in front of audiences and acting silly for a living.
Comedy is a coping mechanism to deal with social embarrassment and depression: “I laugh to keep from crying”
Psychologists have observed, though, that comedic ability is often developed as a coping mechanism in adolescence. These children are highly shy and sensitive to humiliation, and they deal with the threat of social embarrassment through clownish extroversion.
Numerous comedians…have spoken (or joked) about the depression and lack of self-worth that has haunted them in the past or present.
Higher IQs are associated with depressive tendencies.
Comedians generally have higher IQs than average.
Comedians are more depressed than average.
Robin Williams committed suicide. Everyone was shocked. We find out later he’s been suffering from depression.
Comedians have IQs much higher than average — between 110 and 160, as compared to the average 100 — which has also been associated with depressive tendencies. Psychologists theorize that this is true because very intelligent people are simply more aware and therefore more sensitive to the vicissitudes of life. And, of course, they have greater capacity to make a witty remark in response.
The funniest people I know seem to be the ones surrounded by darkness. And that’s probably why they’re the funniest. The deeper the pit, the more humor you need to dig yourself out of it.
- Jim Norton
Comedians see their mental anguish as integral to their comedic ability
There was not only an observable correlation between mental distress and comedy, but the comedians themselves saw this distress as integral to their abilities.
although comedy can be effective coping mechanism for pain, to truly heal you must confront your demons.
Ultimately, jokes alone cannot eliminate the monsters that can plague our inner lives; some turn to drugs and others to suicide. Laughter may be the best medicine, but it isn’t a perfect medicine.
Comedy can be healing
No stimulus, perhaps, more mercifully and effectually breaks the surface tension of the consciousness, thereby conditioning it for a new forward movement, than humor.
In the end it can’t solve all of our sadness, but comedy can be an effective tool to keep moving forward despite dealing with heavy feelings.