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.
Rob Delaney’s intro to the new Vice comedy issue is very much worth reading:There is a ton of great stuff in this issue well worth checking out, some of which I will probably write up/link to specifically later, but start with this.