Rob Delaney and the Connection Between Pain and Comedy

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There is a popular belief, in and out of comedy, that comedians tell jokes and endeavor to make others laugh as a means of treating the pain they feel inside; that depression and drug and alcohol abuse plague the world of comedy. Is this true? For me, the answer happens to be yes. Among the first things I do each morning is take two prescription depression medications, Lexapro and Cymbalta. Right before or right after that, I post my first joke of the day on Twitter. I take the medication because I deal with severe suicidal depression and have for years. It has come close to killing me two times in the past eight years: once before I became a professional comedian, and once after. I post the jokes on Twitter because making people laugh makes me feel really, really fucking good. I would even go so far as to say, “It gets me high.” And I like getting high. I like it very much. I used to get high on alcohol and drugs and I was extremely good at it, right up until the day I wasn’t. You see, nine years ago I drank myself into a blackout and drove a car (not my car, that would be stupid) into the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power.