The Sad Clown: Humor Usage And Psychological Well-Being Of Stand-Up Comedians
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The research on the psychology of comedy has been sparse and largely anecdotal, in contrast to research on laughter and a sense of humor, which have been studied somewhat more thoroughly. After the death of Robin Williams in 2014, more research began in this area in order to understand the mental profiles of comedians, as well as the high incidence of depression and anxiety in this population. This included work regarding new ways of classifying humor styles and their different psychological effects on comedians. This thesis examines the unique mental, emotional, and psychological profiles of comedians, including factors that may influence their choice of profession and their usage of different styles of humor, and explores how all these elements may coalesce to explain why there is an archetype for a sad clown. Finally, this thesis examines a specific style of humor, self-defeating humor, in comedians with mood disorders, and theorizes how its usage varies among comedians with different mental states.