Some comedians make more negative remarks about themselves compared to other performers.
Many comedians are known for their self-defeating humor. Self-defeating humor entails entertaining others at your own expense. In many cases, people use self-defeating humor as a coping mechanism for dealing with their anxieties and insecurities.
However, this “coping mechanism” tends to make things even worse. When people laugh at your expense, it can take a tremendous toll on your self-esteem, especially if you’re prone to social anxiety to begin with.
Comedian Chris Farley is a prime example. In a memorable Saturday Night Live sketch, Farley played an aspiring exotic dancer who was deemed “too fat and flabby” for Chippendales. The sketch was a huge hit and remains famous to this day. Yet, comedian Chris Rock, who was Farley’s SNL castmate at the time, said, “As funny as that sketch was…it’s one of the things that killed him. It really is.” Farley was one of the most talented physical comedians in recent memory. He was willing to do just about anything for a laugh, and that willingness made him great, but it also took a tremendous toll on the troubled and insecure star. Farley died of an accidental drug overdose at age 33.
Researchers have concluded that comedians who routinely employ self-defeating humor have a greater risk of suicide and are more likely to feel “thwarted belongingness” and “perceived burdensomeness.” Thwarted belongingness refers to a reduced ability to feel close to and connected to other people. As the term implies, perceived burdensomeness is the (often irrational) belief that one is a burden on others. Both thwarted belongingness and perceived burdensomeness are highly prevalent among people who are suicidal.
Photo source: Chippendales skit