Interview with lovely lady comedian Nicky Barry, who is a self-described late bloomer in comedy as she first entered Raw Comedy at the age of 45 in 2011 (and made the state finals no less). She then returned to Raw in 2013 and has been gigging regularly around Melbourne since then. About 12 months ago, Nicky also became the resident comic at the vaudeville club Speakeasy HQ in Melbourne.
We discuss: mental health in family life, Nicky's high-functioning dysfunctional family, alcohol issues in family members, Nanna's electric shock treatment (and resulting trauma), Nicky's main career in community development work, destigmatising MH, seeing people as people rather than a diagnosis, changes in language to describe mental health issues, reflections on memories of growing up, being a positive person by nature, personalising family issues as a teen, how childhood can consciously affect parenting, the different talents and experiences of Nicky's kids, monitoring healthy levels of self-discipline, the challenges of her youngest with Autism, mental health in the comedy community, bonding over humour, truth and vulnerability at the heart of the best comedy, time healing, the importance of having someone to listen when you need it, men vs women seeking help, issues in regional and remotes areas, the role of GPs, Man Therapy, the importance of learning more about a loved one's mental health issues, the universality of fluctuating mental health, investing money into community services, Kennett government cut-backs, Men's Sheds, Kennett now being Chairman of Beyond Blue, comorbidity of mental health issues and domestic violence, unemployment, Centrelink/DSP, homelessness, workplace support and incentives (eg. Job Share arrangements), government modelling, policitcal advising, making the most of free comedy, and getting out and having fun with comedy - with or without mental health issues.
Interview with Perth Comedian Jeff Hewitt, who has had a comedy career (in balance with his law career) for 11 years, and also has a podcast called Once Were Zombies.
We discuss: Jeff's breakdown in the final year of law school and his subsequent diagnosis of depression, rebelling and dropping out of law school and starting comedy, tattoos and green hair, insulting a room full of bikies, triggers for his breakdown (ie, law school pressure, competitive peers, and unrequited love), encouragement to seek help for depression, how Jeff got into comedy, the co-dependent relationship with a messy break up, rediscovering himself, comedy being the "go-to place" after trauma, law and comedy being opposite but balancing careers, the dark side of Family Law (domestic violence, child abuse, financial battles), comedy = connector of people, positive outlook after being fired in 2011, the burn out of family lawyers, the oxymoron of "corporate social responsibility", "Triangulating", Zen and meditating on a black cushion, book: Zen And The Art Of Stand Up Comedy by Jay Sankey, childhood amibitions, being poorer but happier, getting into Family Law by process of elimination, inspiration from Geraldine Hickey, Jeff's show about depression called Reach Arounds For The Soul (2009), meaningful vs whimsical comedy styles, helping people vs being a cog in the machine, Once Were Zombies, Infinite Jest - the book and the comedy room, podcasting to cope with traffic jams, importance of a good home life, the benefits of meditation and plugging in to the universe to recharge, reading recommendations, cutting down on social media, getting out of your own ego, no matter how bad something is you never know what's just around the corner, and don't give up on yourself or Jeff will personally come to you to kick your ass!
Interview with Frank William Hampster, who has been crafting comedy since 2011. Frank describes himself as "a standup comedian, connoisseur, conspiracy theory expert and general bon vivant". He is also the Executive Producer of The Elegant Universe Radio Show, which you can catch 4pm to 6pm on Fridays on 94.1FM, and also on You Tube. Frank was in the Australian Army until 2011 and this interview contains very open discussion about his Army experiences and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)*.
We discuss: PTSD (shell shock and war neurosis), jumping at shadows, the phenomenon of symptoms disappearing when Frank is on stage, being in the 4th year of a "comedy apprenticeship", Frank's breakdown in 2008, being in and out of a mental health facility, the Boxing Day Tsunami, preparation for warfare vs military response to civillian crises, humour as a defence mechanism, Oscar Wilde quote, philosophy re comedians telling the truth, occasional not-so-good gigs due to soldier-mode aggression, feeling of normailty on stage, Anti-Depressants, the slow return to work, "face leakage", stigmas in the Army, survival reason for protecting women and children first, sharing his view of Black Saturday, Psychiatrist and medication, benefits of exercise, coffee and cupcakes, eating habits, sleeping habits, relationships and MH issues, nightmares, not believing in ghosts but finding a way to cope with seeing them, middle name "Darling", empathy, understanding, tollerance and patience, recognising triggers, concern about soldiers not having access to mental health support ... slight interruption by colleagues following Frank's re-enactment of a trigger at Brisbane Airport ... Charity organisation Soldier On (check out their Facebook page), 'fight or flight' doesn't include flight in the Army, noise cancelling headphones, being proactive, avoiding self pity, reaching out to friends, cuddle/hugs therapy, strength inside comedians and love of the craft, killing and dying, connectedness within the comedy community, unhelpfulness of hearing "Harden the F@$% Up", Generation X saying No to child abuse and gender inequality, resilience, love of children, Rosie Batty, comedy for coping and wellbeing, views on PSOs, Key message: Be tollerant and patient, just SMILE, working miracles, and the craziness of under-funding mental health.
*WARNING: This podcast includes graphic discussion about war/battles, the Boxing Day Tsunami, and the Black Saturday bushfires. If you need to speak with someone about how you feel after listening, please call Lifeline on 13 11 14.