This Melbourne International Comedy Festival, we reached out to a number of awesome comedians to discuss mental health in comedy. With a show title like 'Am I mental?', reaching out to 24-year-old comedian, Daisy Berry, seemed like a potentially outside of the box thing to do - but it posed some really interesting ideas.
Real honesty and authenticity comes through in stand up comedy, when comics use personal experience and stories to engage with their audience. You can feel it quite easily at a show when there is the trust between the audience and the performer, as they reveal their secrets or stories to us, and that we feel they are comfortable in doing so. But it must be incredibly intimidating.
Daisy reveals some pretty important life experiences - the coming out to her family story or the time she met her Dad for the first time - and she does it with that mystical comedic brush that makes the often awkward or challenging situation seem oddly funny and more light hearted than it probably was.
When I caught up with Daisy ahead of her show, we chatted about how that concept of revealing secrets or stories can even allow the storyteller to keep potentially processing the event.
Whilst Daisy's coming out story might have been a bit less dramatic than some others, she highlighted that perhaps a lot of people saw that 'standing on stage seems a bit more forgiving then telling people closer to them.' - I can't help but think she's onto something.
Daisy's show - quite like counselling sessions we're some of us may be familiar with - was a 50 minute insight into her experiences and her thoughts. At the culmination we were invited to make a decision on her mental status.
Whilst I don't necessarily condone the use of stand up for clinical diagnosis purposes, or even counselling (and it most certainly isn't registered with Medicare or on the PBS), what Daisy's work does reveal is the importance of talking, sharing and connection with others to process thoughts and experiences. Don't be a stranger to sharing and talking, whether with friends, family or professionals.