It’s no secret that everyone thinks performers are crazy. From the Evel Knievel types risking their lives for the thrill and entertainment of their audience to the comedians trying for their big break in some small time coffee shop, the stigma follows that any person who would lay themselves out on stage in front of others is a bit off their rocker. Luckily for that stigma, researchers at Oxford University have found that performers are indeed certifiably nuts! Or, at least the comedians definitely are. As it turns out, comedians test slightly higher for psychotic traits than their close cousin, the actors and actresses, and higher still than those in a non-creative field.
This word, “psychotic,” can raise a few red flags in everyday conversation, so let’s break it down. Psychosis, by medical definition, is a disorder characterized by emotions that are so impaired there is a loss of contact with reality. In severe cases, there are reports of hallucinations and delusions, but traditionally means difficulty concentrating, anxiety, unusual thoughts and behaviors, depression, and introversion. There are a number of ways psychosis is developed, including disease, alcohol, and illegal drugs, most anything that damages the brain over time. “Psychotic” means a person suffering from psychosis, and is usually synonymous with insane, deranged, and demented among others. Does this mean comedians should be committed to a mental hospital? Maybe, but most likely not. The study conducted by Oxford suggests that the psychotic traits found in comedians are actually beneficial to their work. These traits promote creative thinking, and helps in creating routines filled with original, interesting, and thought-provoking material.
Being a bit crazy means comedians see the world from a different perspective, so they are able to pick out details many others would generally overlook. This “outside the box” cognitive process leads to truthful conversations and commentary on social issues that people actually listen to, because the argument is held together by the overarching glue of comedy. So, thanks to psycho comedians, the general public can finally have healthy conversations about politics!
“Comedians Have ‘high Levels of Psychotic Traits’.” BBC News. N.p., 16 Jan. 2014. Web. 28 Sept. 2015.
“Psychosis.” Healthline. Web. 30 Nov. 2015.