It should come as no surprise to learn that comedians historically have battled depression.
From the exploration of the psychology of the sad clown - to the sheer number of suicide attempts made by some of our favorite stand-up artists - comedians of all colors and creeds take to channeling their deep-seeded pain into the art of a well-rehearsed routine.
Humor has long been a defense mechanism for many, as it not only serves as a catharsis worth perfecting, but yields the kind of response every former bullied child yearns for: applause.
This week, we sit down with Philadelphian comedian, Chris Morris – not to be confused with the English comedian of the same name - who removes his proverbial clown costume and allows us to examine the man behind the mask.
Chris, who is usually full of laughs, is also full of pain:
“It's hard to pinpoint the first time that I was picked on, because it happened so much that I lost count,” Chris tells us. “Even though I was being teased and made fun of a lot, I still managed to be a clown and make people laugh.”
What was once a coping method for the self-proclaimed, “scared and shy little boy” - who was often mocked for his appearance, intelligence, and lack of confidence - soon became the comic’s bread and butter. Dabbling in the holy trifecta of the stage – having worked in film, television, and theatre – Chris has found pockets of success in a realm that most others lack the courage to even enter.
In many ways, Chris managed to turn the joke on the naysayers.
“I turned around and the entire room was full with smiling faces,” the jovial soul recounts of his first time performing. “I finally had an audience that I wanted.”
But Chris is an example of something we have heard time and time again on this show: the troubles that afflict us as children, often fester and remain with us as adults.
“My story doesn't have a total happy ending. I still battle these feelings all the time; it isn't a battle that ends,” Chris says of his pain, dating back to childhood bullying. “But if I can look past all my imperfections and, in the end, know that God loves me, I will be okay.”
Chris speaks openly about how he’s come to love himself, even when others haven’t. To learn more about how Chris has dealt with rejection – both professionally and personally – and what he’s doing now to fight the demons of his youth, tune in to For the Hayters on Wednesday, June 26th. It’s an episode you won’t want to miss.