After watching the movie Joker, Eusebius McKaiser, comedian John Vlismas and comedian and writer Nina Hastie reflect on mental illness and the comedy industry and whether comedians have a platform to express their feelings?
Is there a link between comedy and mental illness?
Vlismas says he thought the movie was brilliant.
This was not a movie about comedy, he is a failed comedian and he never gets to be a comedian. The movie is more about mental ill-health. It is positioning someone who is unwell as a comedian is a beautiful romantic image.— John Vlismas, Comedian
Hastie says if comedians were happy with the status quo, they wouldn't have probed it.
Comedians wouldn't have to give society an alternative view of society. The fact that most comedians suffer from mental illness is something that needs to be demystified. Some don't suffer from mental illness.— Nina Hastie, Comedian
Vlismas says when he would experience lows in his career, he turned to drugs, alcohol and isolating himself.
Isolation is quite a big one and once you learn about addiction you tend to realise that those things start to be a vicious circle. As you isolate yourself your behaviour becomes very dangerous. A lot of addiction that happens in isolation is far more extreme than that happening in the socialised environment.— John Vlismas, Comedian
You realise that a peer group is not as dangerous as your own company when you are not well, he explains.
Listen below to the full conversation