Comedian Susan Stewart – Taking Mental Health Seriously

Comedian Susan Stewart – Taking Mental Health Seriously

Comedian Susan Stuart – Taking Mental Health Seriously

 ‘My brain stopped working. I didn’t want to live anymore.’

 Join comedian Susan Stewart for a night of laughs while she shares her mental health journey and what she has learned the hard way about taking mental health seriously. You won’t want to miss this important community event that raises awareness about mental health and raises money for the Brantford General Hospital’s Mental Health Unit. Here is the link.

If you want to hear the entire interview with Susan, check it out here.

 Don’t miss Susan’s Show on March 27th and March 28th

 Hi there, I’m Judy Croon. Canada’s Keynote Humourist. Welcome to another episode of Laugh Long and Prosper. Today I’m chatting with Susan Stewart.

 For the past 15 years, Susan Stewart has been entertaining and inspiring audiences across North America. Susan is best known for her ability to make people laugh while helping them to meet their challenges with a sense of humour. Susan is the author of 3 books including her latest title, You Gotta Laugh: Wit And Wisdom About Not Taking Life (Or Yourself) Too Seriously. Susan’s podcast, Still A Hot Mess, and her comedy album, Relentless, are available on iTunes and Spotify. You can learn more about Susan on her website.

 By the way, Mar 27 and 28th, you can check out Susan’s latest show called; A Bit More Than A Rough Patch: A Comedy Show About Taking Mental Health Seriously. 

 Join Susan for a night of laughs while she shares her mental health journey and what she has learned the hard way about taking mental health seriously. You won’t want to miss this important community event that raises awareness about mental health and raises money for the Brantford General Hospital’s Mental Health Unit. Here is the link.

 Susan’s catalyst for this important fundraiser

Judy: Susan, welcome to the podcast. Your brand-new live show is called ‘A bit more than a rough patch. A comedy show about taking mental health seriously.Can you tell people what was the catalyst for this particular show? 

Susan: Well basically it was inspired by some events that happened to me last year. I found myself in a clinical depression and suffering from a high grade level of anxiety. I was having panic attacks and all that good stuff! So that happened late winter/ early spring last year. That’s when I reached what is called a mental health crisis.
To make a long story short, I basically didn’t want to live anymore.
The way I was feeling… my brain stopped working.

I was also caught up in a negative assumption that I was never going to feel better again. 

The situation was permanent. I had a feeling of hopelessness. So, with that bleak outlook on life, it resulted in an attempt. Luckily, I was unsuccessful. So, my new show reveals how I got there. I wasn’t interested in taking medication. I did not want to make an admission that it had gotten to that point. Right? You’ve read my bio; I’m an author. I’m a speaker. I’m a comedian. I help people see the lighter side of life. So, this was my own personal stigma. That was the real main contributor to reaching that crisis point. Also, I didn’t reach out to my therapist so I didn’t get the help. I wasn’t honest with the people in my life about how severe my condition was getting.

 When it comes to suicide, people often wonder, ‘How could you let yourself get to that point?’ 

Judy: Did this mental shift happen over a month, over a week or one day, did you suddenly feel like a switch went off? Explain the timeline to me if you can.

Susan: I would say that both my symptoms of depression and anxiety got to an intolerable level around last June. So, it was a slow decline. I was so resistant to the idea of medication that I could have gotten on medication, like, say, in January or February and avoided the whole damn thing. However, I was so unwilling to admit what was going on because of what I do for a living. I was convinced that I could handle it on my own.

You convince yourself that you can just think your way out of it.

Yeah sure, I had the tools in the toolbox. I had healthy habits. But I didn’t start to feel better with all of my self-help. The self-help wasn’t helping. I was at a point where my brain’s chemistry was so imbalanced that medication was a necessary element to my recovery. So, I finally did get on medication, but then I was playing around with it. First of all, I wasn’t taking it every day.
Then I would switch prescriptions. I‘d go see a psychiatrist and decide that I needed a new prescription. It was a series of errors where I just didn’t respect the role of medication in my recovery.

My symptoms just kept on worsening.

Judy: Is this a common reaction for people like yourself who are going through that slow decline?
“I don’t need to do this with medication. I can talk myself out of this”.
Or is it also a fear of what the side effects of the medication might be like? Or are you so removed from yourself that you just can’t think clearly?

Susan: Well, all of the above, I think, Jude, yeah, it was fear around side effects. But if I had to pinpoint it, if I had to get down to one major reason, it was stigma. I didn’t want to be standing on stage as this motivational speaker on anti-anxiety, antidepressant medication. I thought that it made me a bit of a fraud.


Judy: It’s funny that you would say that, because your keynotes and your workshops are all about mental health, right? Yet, you don’t want to be considered a ‘fraud’.
What would you say to people now who are feeling the way that you were feeling back then?

 Susan: Well, now, I understand a lot more. We have these neurotransmitters in our brain; like serotonin, norepinephrine, dopamine. When they are basically imbalanced to a certain degree, all the self-help in the world isn’t going to be enough. Right?

 Like, all the exercise and positivity and spirituality in the world is not going to be enough.

 Now, what’s in the equation is medication to balance out those, well, we call them good feeling chemicals, right? It gets down to science. I didn’t know that at the time.
This is now clarity. This is information I have now.
But you talk about me being this mental health advocate, and so, yeah, I’m choking on the irony of it all to this very day. But I think there was just so much shame around it. I just couldn’t believe that I was sick.

Going on medication was not an admission I wanted to make.
Now, here’s the thing. If there had been something physically wrong with me, right, like, if I all of a sudden got diagnosed with diabetes, like high blood pressure, even lower back pain, I would have had no problem getting medication. So, there’s my stigma.
I really had to face down my personal stigma with this. As a result, that’s the show that we were talking about earlier- the show that I’m doing March 27 and March 28th called, A Bit More Than A Rough Patch. Really, it’s just me sharing with the audience what I learned.

Judy: I would say it’s a bit more than a rough patch. That’s the understatement of 2024, Susan Stewart.

Susan: Well, the title comes from a conversation that I had with my partner when I was in a recovery treatment program at the Homewood Health center in Guelph. It was a nine-week program.

 I basically went there after my attempt.
Yeah, one day I’m at Homewood, I’m talking to my partner and we get talking about my mental health crisis, and I say to her, “Yeah, it was a bit of a rough patch”. And it was just like silence. We’re facetiming, actually. I could see her, and she was, like, stunned and wide eyed, and she said, “What the hell did you just call it, Susan? Let’s be very clear. It was a bit more than a rough patch.”

And so, to this day, we laugh about that conversation. Now, there I was, minimizing it to the very end. So, when I was thinking about the title of the show, like, what the hell am I going to call this a show? And then I recalled the conversation and I thought, well, that’s kind of. There it was, yeah, it was a bit more than a rough patch.

Judy: But it’s interesting that you say that it’s a stigma because there are no mistakes on this planet, right? And I mean, something in the universe picked Susan Stewart. Funny Susan Stewart, who says this is a stigma to write a comedy show about it. And I think you’re going to reach a lot of people who have too much pride, who have too much, who have too much going on in their head that they don’t want to ask for help.

 How does someone in a similar position go about getting help?

 Susan: Yeah, well, I think it’s really important that you get your symptoms assessed. There are some classic symptoms when it comes to depression and anxiety.

 Judy: Tell us what they are.

Susan: You lose interest in pretty much everything-an apathy about pretty much everything sets in. Another symptom is isolation- I withdrew from my family and friends. The chemical imbalance in your brain really affects your cognition. I had a severe problem focusing and making a decision. Finally, the last big symptom is that you go into survival mode. You lose your creativity, your curiosity, your courage and your sense of humour.

When depression and anxiety set in, you do not feel like yourself- your behavior dramatically changes.
 I think the one indicator that something was going wrong was actually last January, I had this gig in Victoria. I was out there to do an after dinner talk for a bunch of travel agents. And I don’t know about you, but when you’re a couple hours away from getting on stage, I start to get kind of pumped up. I have a lot of energy in my body. I can’t really sit down anymore. I pace around, I run some lines. On the day of the event, my partner and I did some sightseeing during the day, and then when we got back to the hotel, I crawled into bed and fell asleep.
The girl who practically does jumping jacks before a gig, was napping.
That change in behavior was a sign of much bigger things to come.
So, you just start doing things that you never do.

There’s just a lack of energy for everything. Physically, mentally, emotionally. You just feel drained.

 Judy: What else are you hoping to achieve with this blockbuster pre-Broadway show?

 Susan: No pressure felt there whatsoever.

 Well, first of all, I want to emphasize that it is going to be fun. I promise.
t’s a comedy show, of course, and any shows I’ve ever seen you do have been ultimately comedy shows. We’re going to have lots of laughs about our experiences with mental health. I poke fun at stuff like anxiety, but what I’m achieving, or what I hope to achieve with the show is, I think, helping people feel less alone, people feel seen and heard. I really hope that it’s incredibly validating for people just to, I think, understand how I got to a crisis point. So maybe they can avoid reaching that point. Seek help, like talk to a therapist or a social worker, anybody, really, just talk to anybody and get medication if your symptoms are at an extreme level. So, yeah, it’s really just to kind of understand the necessary steps to avoiding that feeling of hopelessness. So, yeah, like you said, it’s really what I learned the hard way.

 Judy: You’re a tough egg, my friend. And I don’t know how many other people would have come out of this saying, “You know, what? I’m going to write a comedy show about this, and I’m going to teach people what they should do.”

Because the great takeaway out of just having this interview with you is you said it right in the beginning. Sometimes you just need medication because the chemical imbalance is something that you can’t fix on your own. So, stop being brave, you know, worrying about the stigma. Do what Susan did. Talk to somebody, even if it’s just talking to a friend or talking, know, just get it. It’s. You’re not helping anybody, especially yourself.
Susan, how many comics do we know that have mental health issues? Again, it’s the tears of a clown. You see people who are on stage, they’re funny, they’re confident, and then behind the scenes, it’s the exact same thing. Right? So, my hat is off. I’m really impressed that you’re putting this together.

 Why do you think it’s important to see humor in something serious, like mental health?

Susan: Well, okay, first of all, I think there’s something funny about everything. Okay. Like, even the really tough stuff, for sure. I strongly believe there is room and a necessity to laugh at the hard things in life. Mental health is a serious topic, but it’s important not to take it too seriously. I believe seeing the humor in our struggles helps us move through them and get to the other side. Actually, research has proven humor to be a key element in our ability to be resilient, and I’m not surprised by that one bit. The struggles we face create tension in our lives. Right? There’s tension there, and laughter releases that tension, which gives us the boost to keep going. So, like I said, I think it’s not only important to laugh, but I think it’s necessary. So that’s one of the things I do at the beginning of the show, is I give the audience permission to laugh, and hopefully they take that cue. Hopefully we can feel like we’re in a safe space to see the funny, because there’s funny stuff. And hopefully I’ve done a good job in bringing it to the stage.


Judy: Every show I’ve seen you do has been hilarious. So, like I said, I’m not worried at all. I know we’re talking about a heavy topic, but it takes a brave person, and it takes somebody with sometimes a dark humor to see through that. Because again, we’re talking about the combination of humor and tragedy.

Like the comedic experts say, tragedy plus time equals comedy.

 Once again, March 27th and 28th, join comedian Susan Stewart for a night of laughs while she shares her mental health journey and what she has learned the hard way about taking mental health seriously. You won’t want to miss this important community event that raises awareness about mental health and raises money for the Brantford General Hospital’s Mental Health Unit.

Get your tickets Now

 Susan, Thanks so much for coming on my podcast!

Until next time, laugh long and prosper.

Judy-Croon-laugh-long-pro$per-sig-logo

Feel free to take a listen!

If you would like to catch up on any of my other Laugh Long and Prosper episodes, voted one of the best podcasts of 2021 in Canada by CTV, check me out.

Laugh Long and Prosper podcast on Spotify or Soundcloud

Wayne Gretsky – Hockey and Humour

stand-up-in-10-steps-by-judy-croon-canadas-keynote-humorist

Today’s blog is sponsored by: @TROOLSocial knows that to be visible online you have to be fully committed, congruent in who you are and what you do.
YOU MUST ADOPT THE RIGHT MINDSET- When you’re open to being visible, your online presence becomes like a well-assembled puzzle that search engines can easily recognize and elevate in rankings.
Check out TROOLSocial

 

How I got started in stand-up comedy

How I got started in stand-up comedy

Don’t be shy. You can check out my Laugh Long and Prosper podcast on Spotify or Soundcloud.

‘Laugh Long and Prosper’ is shelf help with a smile, stressbusters with a smirk, and information with a wink wink. You get the point.

Don’t be shy. You can check out my Laugh Long and Prosper podcast on Spotify or Soundcloud.

‘Laugh Long and Prosper’ is shelf help with a smile, stressbusters with a smirk, and information with a wink wink. You get the point.

How I got started in stand-up comedy

It seems like millions of years ago.  I’m pretty sure that I was doing open mics during the Precambrian era.

By the way, I never had any intention of becoming a comedian.
For my whole life, I wanted to be a veterinarian.
Unfortunately, during my second year of university, 70 percent of my fruit flies and 50 percent of my final mark flew out of the biology class window.

I was devastated. I went home and cried my eyes out.
As I was weeping hysterically, comedian Joan Rivers was on late night tv doing stand-up.
That’s when the lightbulb went off.
I know what I’m going to do! I’m going to become a stand-up comedian!

To my parents’ horror, I quit university the next day.
I signed up for an improv class at The Loose Moose Theatre created by the legendary Keith Johnstone.
Unfortunately, I never got a chance to work with Keith but I was trained by some of his best students. Unfortunately, to a science nerd like myself, improv seemed so difficult.
Nerds like me like to work alone.
Fortunately, that worked out perfectly for stand up.
Luckily, nerds love formulas. Stand up has a formula! Eureka! Improv has formulas as well but I didn’t learn those until much later in life.
I loved the idea of working alone and carefully crafting the words for my monologue- which unfortunately, on some nights, probably seemed more like a Shakespearean soliloquy. However, I did not give up. 

The comedy bug bit me. Those few laughs that I got in the beginning fueled my craving for more laughs. I drove from Calgary to Boise, Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Los Angeles and every small town in between. The incidents that happened during those road trips are too much to mention in one blog so I will share two quick stories.

Once such tale involved a one-nighter outside of Boise, Idaho.  There were probably about 10 people in the audience. After the show, the two other comics and myself piled into the cars of the 10 audience members and drove waaaaaay up into the woods. Through the pitch-black forests, we drove on dirt roads for what seemed like an eternity. We finally arrived at a desolate cabin.
This could have turned into a scene from Get Out.
Instead, the host walked around and lit candles. He cracked open a window. We could hear a raging creek just outside.
Underneath the window was a beautiful baby grand piano.
The host sat down at the baby grand and proceeded to play Chaka’s Khan’s Through the Fire. This very white man with a beard, baseball cap and lumber jacket played this beautiful soulful song. A reminder to never judge a book by its plaid cover.

During another road trip- this time in Seattle, a female comic from San Francisco said that I could use her apartment while she was traveling across the country.  I had never met her before. I thought it was a very generous offer. I arrived at the apartment in the middle of the night. It was a pretty sketchy part of town but I was just grateful for the accommodation.
When I opened the front door and turned on a light in the kitchen, 8000 cockroaches came out to greet me.
To top it off, there was a note on the kitchen table from my host that said, ‘Hi Judy, welcome. By the way, a repairman is going to swing by tomorrow to replace the wall-to-wall carpeting. Do you mind helping him lift up the carpeting?’

Uhhhh, that would be a HARD NO.
I should have known that the offer was too good to be true. I checked out of the roach motel and checked into Motel 6.

After working in the states for a few months, I returned to Calgary, loaded up my car again and moved to Toronto. Using Toronto as my base, I became one of five female comedians doing stand-up comedy across the country full time.

Comedy led to a radio gig which led to motivational speaking and coaching gigs.

As I’ve said on a number of occasions, I even got a chance to work with Joan Rivers at Roy Thomson Hall in Toronto. It’s as if my life came around full circle.
This nerdy veterinarian wannabe could have never predicted how things were going to turn out. My only advice to kids or adults nowadays based on my experiences is to always keep trying new things.
If you are truly unhappy with what you are doing in life, pick a hobby.
At the very least, you will forge some new skills and perhaps, even make some lifelong friends with people who share your passion.
At the very most and if you have the courage- you might just find what you were truly meant to be doing.
As Tina Fey says in her wonderful book entitled; Bossy Pants, ‘Start with a YES and see where that takes you.’

Until next time folks, Laugh Long and Prosper!

Judy-Croon-laugh-long-pro$per-sig-logo

Feel free to take a listen!

If you would like to catch up on any of my other Laugh Long and Prosper episodes, voted one of the best podcasts of 2021 in Canada by CTV, check me out.

Laugh Long and Prosper podcast on Spotify or Soundcloud

Wayne Gretsky – Hockey and Humour

stand-up-in-10-steps-by-judy-croon-canadas-keynote-humorist

Today’s blog is sponsored by: TROOL Social knows that to be visible online you have to be fully committed, congruent in who you are and what you do.
YOU MUST ADOPT THE RIGHT MINDSET- Steer your ship to the SS Optimization & TROOL Social To get you Sailing On Course
Check out www.TroolSocial.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

Don’t Walk On By The Queen of Twitter

Don’t Walk On By The Queen of Twitter

Don’t be shy. You can check out my Laugh Long and Prosper podcast on Spotify or Soundcloud.

‘Laugh Long and Prosper’ is shelf help with a smile, stressbusters with a smirk, and information with a wink wink. You get the point.

Don’t be shy. You can check out my Laugh Long and Prosper podcast on Spotify or Soundcloud.

‘Laugh Long and Prosper’ is shelf help with a smile, stressbusters with a smirk, and information with a wink wink. You get the point.

Don’t Walk On By The Queen of Twitter 

You know who’s funny? Dionne Warwick. So much so that she has been nicknamed the Queen of Twitter because of her witty comments. 

Yes 82-year-old Dionne Warwick. The woman who signed her first recording contract in 1962 and sold over 100 million copies worldwide since then.
The artist who won a Grammy lifetime achievement award in 2019.
THAT Dionne Warwick. 

Dionne Warwick has once again re-invented herself and captured a younger a generation with her funny comments on Twitter. 

Tweets like; 

I just heard about Leonardo DiCaprio’s 25-year rule. His loss. You don’t know what you’re missing

Who is Olivia Rodrigo yelling at on Good4U? I would like to know who we are angry with. 

and I will be dating Pete Davidson next. 

She obviously loves to tweet about celebrities.

When she tweeted to Chance the Rapper Hi @ChancetheRapper. If you are very obviously a rapper, why did you put in your stage name? I cannot stop thinking about this?

And then Chance the Rapper tweeted back;
Sorry, I’m still freaking out that you know who I am.

Then Dionne tweeted back to Chance;
Of course, I know you. You are THE rapper. Let’s rap together. I’ll message you. 

And then she tweeted;
I am now Dionne the Singer. 

No one is safe from Ms. Warwick. Not even The Weeknd.
She once tweeted; 

The Weekend is next. Why? It’s not even spelled correctly.

To which The Weeknd responded;
I just got roasted by Dionne Warwick and I feel honored.  You made my day! 

Now people have accused Dionne of not doing her own tweets. She told her fans that her niece showed her how Twitter worked in 2012. She said that ever since then, she said she’s has been at the helm of her own tweets. Who’s cares anyway? It’s Twitter.

On a sadder note, Ms. Warwick recently tweeted about the loss of good friend and composer extraordinaire Burt Bacharach. 

Bacharach wrote those powerhouse songs like Say a Little Prayer, Walk on By and Do You Know the Way to San Jose that catapulted Warwick’s early career.  

Ms. Warwick tweeted;
Burt’s transition is like losing a family member. These words I’ve been asked to write are being written with sadness over the loss of my Dear Friend and my Musical Partner. On the lighter side we laughed a lot and had our run ins, but always found a way to let each other know our family, like roots, were the most important part of our relationship. My heartfelt condolences go out to his family, letting them know he is now peacefully resting and I too will miss him.

On a personal note, I got an opportunity to work with Ms. Warwick twice in my career.

Many moons ago, I was her opening act in our nicknamed -40 Below Tour during the depths of winter across Calgary, Edmonton, Saskatoon, Regina and Winnipeg.

Then many years later, I got on opportunity to work with her again at Roy Thompson Hall. She loves to laugh. You can see us in the picture above yukking it up.
OBVIOUSLY, I said something hilarious.

But my favorite story about Miss Warwick is when Snoop Dogg says he got called out by her in the 90’s for his misogynistic lyrics. 

You check out the story in the CNN film entitled; Dionne Warwick, don’t make me over.

Snoop says Ms. Warwick held an intervention for him and his peers- including Tupac.
She told the group to meet at her house one morning at 7 am.
Snoop says he was so afraid, he turned up in the driveway at 652.

Snoop said, “We were kind of like scared and shook up. We’re powerful right now, but she’s been powerful forever.”

Dionne told the group that if she didn’t care about them, she wouldn’t have invited them to her house. Then she shamed them about their misogynistic lyrics. 

She said, “You guys are all going to grow up. You’re going to have families. You’re going to have children. You’re going to have little girls and one day, that little girl is going to look at you and say, ‘Daddy did you really say that?’  And what are you going to say?”

From that point, Snoop said it changed the trajectory of his writing. He said he chose to write records of joy. “Uplifting everybody and nobody dying and everybody living.”

You may not agree with some of Dionne Warwick’s tweets, you may not agree with some of her politics but when an artist chooses to re-invent themselves and they use comedy to do it…well, I for one, can’t just ‘walk on by’ without taking a look or a listen.

Until next time folks, Laugh Long and Prosper!

Judy-Croon-laugh-long-pro$per-sig-logo

Feel free to take a listen!

If you would like to catch up on any of my other Laugh Long and Prosper episodes, voted one of the best podcasts of 2021 in Canada by CTV, check me out.

Laugh Long and Prosper podcast on Spotify or Soundcloud

Wayne Gretsky – Hockey and Humour

stand-up-in-10-steps-by-judy-croon-canadas-keynote-humorist

Today’s blog is sponsored by: TROOL Social knows that to be visible online you have to be fully committed, congruent in who you are and what you do.
YOU MUST ADOPT THE RIGHT MINDSET- Steer your ship to the SS Optimization & TROOL Social To get you Sailing On Course
Check out www.TroolSocial.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Comedy Fundraising Success!

A Comedy Fundraising Success!

A Comedy Fundraising Success!

This month’s newsletter is sponsored by: Linda McEwan at Sotheby’s International Realty
Canada. The number one most trusted brand in residential real estate.
Message Linda

I take laughing for granted.

Recently, I hosted a comedy fundraiser for City Street Outreach – a local charity that is near and
dear to my heart. I was joined by some truly amazing friends who donated their time and
efforts to the cause. I could not have done this show without them. I will forever be grateful.
Linda McEwan is one of these good friends.

She occasionally sponsors my podcasts and newsletters but she also sponsored the event.
My other good friends; Cathy Boyd, Martha Chaves and Evan Carter donated their comedic
skills that evening. We raised funds to help Toronto’s homeless and most vulnerable.
The evening was a roaring success.

Cathy was one of my stand-up comedy students at Second City a few years back.
She went on to perform on the first season of Canada’s Got Talent.

Martha Chaves is a regular on CBC Radio. She’s a veteran on the club circuit in the US, Canada
and Latin America as she speaks English, Spanish, French and Italian.

Evan Carter (also a regular on CBC Radio) has been the opening act for many stars including; the
Temptations, Gladys Knight and Dionne Warwick.Currently, he is the opening act for a cross country Motown tour.

By the way, I would also like to thank another very good friend of mine, the very talented Elaine
Lindsay from TROOL Social who put together our virtual poster. It helped us tremendously to
get the word out. Elaine is the magic behind this website and anything that I do online. I would
be lost without her!

Coincidently- Linda, Cathy, Evan, Martha and Elaine all have a quality about them that I
notice in many of my friends and family members – they love to laugh.
They love to make others laugh.
I’ll tell you something about my family.
If my nieces or nephews are dating someone – the first thing that my sisters and I say to each
other is, “Oh boy, are they funny? Please let them be funny!”
By the way, in my family, there are a couple of levels of ‘funny’ that you have to pass.

Level one – If someone can laugh at a joke or at themselves – great. This means that they’ve got
a sense of humour.

Level two– if they can TAG a joke… if they can make the joke even funnier or add another joke
then they are on their way to full club membership.

The third and final level -can they play charades?
If they can play full-contact charades in our household (and be okay with maybe losing an eye),
well then start tuning up those wedding bells!

Our family can overlook other bad characteristics or personality flaws, i.e., mass murderer,
embezzler or serial cheater. In our family, a good sense of self-deprecating humour is the true
litmus test.

My two younger sisters are very funny people. If they weren’t so shy on stage, they could both
easily do stand-up comedy. They love to make people around them laugh. They, themselves
love to laugh.

Where did we get our sense of humour?
From my parents, I think.
Both my parents were very funny people. However, they grew up in some pretty unfunny
times.

My dad was born in the Netherlands. He grew up during the war. He, along with his two sisters
and his parents spent many nights underneath the basement steps with kitchen pots over their
heads as the Nazis bombed their neighborhood. My father said that my grandparents used to
tell the kids funny jokes and stories to try and distract them from the terrible war that was
going on outside their front door. At a young age, my father learned how to use humour as a
coping mechanism.

My mother, meanwhile, grew up in Guyana, South America where there was and still is a lot of
poverty.
I always remember my mother saying that her mother never turned anybody away who came
to the door asking for food- even if she only had a cup of rice to give them.

My mother said that despite the poverty, her parents would always do things with the kids that
didn’t cost a lot of money but created a lot of fun and laughter. This included; having the
neighborhood kids over, playing games or putting on plays or make-believe circuses, just to
name to few fun examples.

My mother grew up to be a very funny person. She was the quintessential ring leader.
It’s no wonder that my sisters and I ended up being surrounded by funny people our entire
lives.

Which brings me back to the fundraiser for City Street Outreach.
My compassionate, talented and very funny friends, Linda, Cathy, Martha and Evan made the
evening so special. Again, I can’t thank them enough.
The audience was fantastic. They laughed from beginning to end.

I want to thank each and every one of them personally for buying a ticket and spending the
evening with us. I would like to thank friends and family who bought a ticket online, even
though they couldn’t make the event but still wanted to contribute to the organization.
After our ninety-minute fundraising show, Linda McEwan came up to me and said,
“Everyone that I talked to said that they had a GREAT time. Some of them said that they hadn’t
laughed in a long time and the evening was so cathartic for them because they really needed to
laugh.”

That’s when it dawned on me.
Not everyone laughs every day. Not everyone has someone who makes their world funnier and
that’s really sad because laughter is so cathartic.

Laughter creates happy chemistry in our bodies. Our immune, respiratory and circulatory
systems all reap the rewards. Researchers at the University of Maryland found that when
participants laughed over and over during a funny experiment, their circulation improved by 22
percent.

Laughter also increases our aerobic activity. While laughing, we take in more oxygen to our
body and brain. Afterwards, we feel mentally and physically invigorated.

Professor Duncan Geddes, a consultant in respiratory medicine at the Royal Brompton Hospital
in London, says that laughter stimulates the body’s defense mechanism, decreases pain and
improves recovery times. Laughter releases chemicals in our brain cells called endorphins.
Endorphins are natural pain killers.

Geddes observed that laughter helps fight diseases like allergies, arthritis, asthma, backache,
bronchitis, depression, diabetes, fibromyalgia, heart disease, hypertension and migraines.
Research at Oxford University also showed that laughter in participants improved tolerance to
pain and lowered blood pressure.

Obviously, one can see the therapeutic benefits of humour.
Don’t get me wrong, there are many people in this world who have really big burdens on
their shoulders that make it hard just to get out of bed every day- much less crack a smile.

I feel lucky. I’m blessed to have the circumstances and thus, luxury to laugh every day.
I’m also blessed and lucky to have friends like Linda, Evan, Martha, Cathy and Elaine who use
their humour and love of laughter to give back.

Again, thank you to my funny, talented and very generous and good friends.

Until next time folks, Laugh Long and Prosper!

Judy-Croon-laugh-long-pro$per-sig-logo

Feel free to take a listen!

Don’t be shy. You can check out my Laugh Long and Prosper podcast (voted one of the best
podcasts of 2021 I in Canada by CTV) on 
Spotify or Soundcloud.

‘Laugh Long and Prosper’ is shelf help with a smile, stressbusters with a smirk, and information with a wink wink. You get the point.

Wayne Gretsky – Hockey and Humour

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Humour and Grief -Comedy and Tragedy

Humour and Grief -Comedy and Tragedy

Don’t be shy. You can check out my Laugh Long and Prosper podcast on Spotify or Soundcloud.

‘Laugh Long and Prosper’ is shelf help with a smile, stressbusters with a smirk, and information with a wink wink. You get the point.

In this particular blog, I wanted to write the constantly reoccurring connection between humour and grief -comedy and tragedy.

Author Steven King once stated that humour and fear are closely related in our brain.

For example, tens of thousands of years ago, the cavemen and the cave women would freak out when they heard a scary noise outside the cave. But then when a little animal jumped by, everybody laughed out of relief. Even since the beginning of time, laughter has been one of the ways that our brain tries to cope or make sense of something that scares or confuses us.

When it comes to making sense of the unknown, Monty Python’s Eric Idle has a similar theory. He says, “Life doesn’t make any sense, and we all pretend it does. Comedy’s job is to point out that it doesn’t make sense, and that it doesn’t make much difference anyway.”

I am chatting about humour, tragedy and grief today because I want to explain why I’ve been missing from social media for close to four months. I have still been doing my live presentations of Relieving Work-Related Stress with Humour because I am lucky enough to have good people around me who keep me working. However, I’ve let my blogs, podcasts and social media slide for the most part.

Last May, my dad suddenly passed away.

It was a shock to everyone who knew him. He was indeed eighty-six years old but he was still active. The week before, I golfed with him. The night before, we had dinner at my sister’s place.

I miss him every day. My dad and I were good friends.
In terms of parents, my two sisters and I won the lottery. We hit the jackpot when it came to scoring an amazing mother and father. They were our parents but they were also our friends.

My mom passed away three years ago after a long battle with osteoarthritis. She was in a lot of pain, especially during the last year. She spent the last six months of her life in the hospital with a good part of that in palliative care. My sisters, my dad, Flo (her superhero caregiver) and myself took turns visiting her. Every day she had someone by her side.

Did you know that dogs are allowed to visit palliative care?

When I visited my mom, I always took my dog, Barnie. At first, I didn’t know this was an option. A good friend of mine who is a doctor told me to look into it. All I needed to do was present the paperwork showing that Barnie had all of his shots. Also, if you bring a dog to palliative care, it should always be on a leash and obviously, have a calm, quiet disposition. There is A LOT of sitting around. So, if your dog is this type of a dog, I would highly recommend it. It’s a welcome relief to many other patients, visitors, staff, etc.

Barnie did what dogs do best – he was just present. He’s not particularly smart, he doesn’t do tricks, he doesn’t have a degree, but he just loves people. If they want to give him a pat or a scratch, even better.

During those six months, we sat by my mom’s side for many hours.

My dad was there every day. He insisted on taking the evening shift.

It was a lot of stress on all of us but especially for my dad. So much so that he suffered a minor heart attack during that time. In fact, he ended up down the hospital hallway from my mother for a couple of weeks. They ‘celebrated’ their last anniversary together – in the hospital.

So yes, there has been a lot of stuff going on over the last few years.

Everybody has their own challenge in life to deal with but as my comedic friend, Larry Horowitz, says;

Everyone has their private hell but I wouldn’t trade mine for anyone else’s.”

As comedians, we tend to be fun and funny on the outside, especially when things go dark. We use humour as a coping mechanism.

As author Erma Bombeck once said, There a thin line that separates laughter and pain. Comedy and tragedy. Humour and hurt. That is definitely true. I will tell you comedians are the first people to make a joke when things go off the tracks.”

Two Canadian comedians died recently of cancer – Tim Steeves and Alan Park. I worked with both of them over the years. Great guys. They didn’t deserve to die with so much more love and laughter left to give. At their memorials, many comedians spoke. What would normally be a sad event quickly turned into a roomful of laughter. It was almost a roast. It was all meant out of love but again, that’s how comedians cope. When everyone else is crying, we find the joke. Life is too sad and almost senseless without humour. Your friends are dead from cancer. Two months ago, they were helping you write a punchline. RIP Alan and Tim.

In honouring the humour of my friends and family who have passed, I promise to keep laughing and keep moving forward, especially during times of fear and/or sadness. Not only for myself but also for those around me. I promise to bring the ‘haha back to my podcasts, blogs, vlogs, presentations, etc. as I try to use this gift to stay on course.

If you would like to catch up on any of my other Laugh Long and Prosper episodes, voted one of the best podcasts of 2021 in Canada by CTV, check me out.

Judy Croon  On Spotify, Soundcloud ,Amazon, FM PLAYER

Until next time folks, Laugh Long and Prosper!

Judy-Croon-laugh-long-pro$per-sig-logo

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This blog and podcast is sponsored by: by TROOL Social Media. TROOL Social knows that to be visible online you have to be fully committed and congruent in who you are and what you do. You must adopt the right mindset. Steer your ship to the SS Optimization & TROOL Social to get you sailing ‘on course’! Check ’em out!

TROOL Social Media your digital integration specialists on the online seas
Guest comedian| writer |Hirut Comedy Club founder Carolyn Bennett

Guest comedian| writer |Hirut Comedy Club founder Carolyn Bennett

Don’t be shy. You can check out my Laugh Long and Prosper podcast on Spotify or Soundcloud.

It was voted one of the top podcasts of 2021 by CTV. You can listen to this episode on the podcast too!

‘Laugh Long And Prosper ‘with Comedian and Writer Carolyn Bennett by Judy Croon

 

Today’s guest is Carolyn Bennett.

Carolyn Bennett is a writer and comedian. Selected TV credits include This Hour Has 22 Minutes, CBC COMICS, and The NHL Awards. Produced CBC radio plays include Mixed Media, and Pure Convenience. Produced stage plays include Cancel Culture, Runtkiller, Canis Familiaris, and Double Down Helix. She won the 2013 TIFF Studio Screenwriting Intensive Jury Prize, and was a member of the 2017 Thousand Islands Playwrights’ Unit where her play The Monarchists received a public workshop.

 

Bennett’s 2019 debut novel, Please Stand By, was published by Vancouver’s Now or Never. She is currently working on a collection of short stories, and was mentored by writer K.D. Miller. Her story Be My Zero-Sum was recently published in the Quarantine Review, and another story, Moral Support Desk, is upcoming in Canadian Notes and Queries. She freelances for the Toronto Star, Canadian Immigrant, among others.

 

She had a brief stint as a government writer and speechwriter, for which she will receive a small pension, which she finds amazing.

To find out about Hirut comedy nights, go to http://www.Hirut.ca

 

To reach Carolyn, you can go to http://www.CarolynBennettWriterComic.Com

To find out about Carolyn’s play ‘Cancel Culture’ go to http://www.AlumnaeTheatre.com

To find out about her memoirs writing course, go to http://www.BacklaneStudios.ca

To find out about her book, ‘Please Stand By’ go to https://www.amazon.ca/Please-Stand-Carolyn-Bennett/dp/1988098858

Until next time folks, laugh long and prosper!

Judy-Croon-laugh-long-pro$per-sig-logo

stand-up-in-10-steps-by-judy-croon-canadas-keynote-humorist