Antisocial traits aside, think of the comedians who have struggled with drugs, alcohol, and depression. There's not enough space in this article to name them all, so let's restrict our list to the Jerrys for quick examples: Lewis, Seinfeld, and Jerry of "Tom and Jerry." Slapstick comedian/perpetual goofball Jerry Lewis wrestled with depression so hard that he claimed he would have committed suicide if not for hearing the laughter of his children running down the hall while he held the gun in his mouth. Jerry Seinfeld flippantly said a version of the same thing in a New York Times interview a few years ago. And as we've covered before, Jerry the Mouse straight up entered a suicide pact with his frenemy Tom.
The writers thought suicide by mutual vivisection would be too harsh.
I know what you're thinking: It makes sense for comedians who are famous for their observational humor to be extra vulnerable to depression. These people can't turn off the compulsion to keep digging at the world until they hit a truth, and comedy is how they spin that truth into something they can live with. That's why Chris Rock once called comedy "the blues for people who can't sing." Which kind of explains a lot, John Belushi-wise.
As if we needed a reason for The Blues Brothers to make sense.
Speaking of John Belushi, it's not just witty standups questioning the trivialities of everyday life who are prone to mental illness. Physical comedians like Charlie Chaplin, Jim Carrey, and needless to say John Belushi all struggled with their brain demons. There's actually something even more depressing about the guys whipping their bodies around to make you laugh. If comedians were protesters, the slapstickiest ones would be that Buddhist monk who set himself on fire to get attention for his cause. This is the part where I remind you to keep Richard Pryor jokes to yourself.
This is all terrible information for professional comedians, but what about everyday schmucks who just happen to be funny? Bad news, funny guy. You might be in trouble, too. A 70-plus-year longitudinal study of gifted children found that the kids who were described as funny by their parents, friends, and teachers were more likely to die earlier than their boring, unfunny peers. In other words, if life has dealt you a sharp tongue and quick brain rather than looks or money or an ass that won't quit even when the sun goes down, too bad, sucker. You're still going to die first. Enjoy being the jam in a coffin sandwich, jokers!