I have bipolar disorder and have worked with folks with a mental illness the last five years. Oh yeah, and I teach stand up comedy to folks with a mental illness and family members. We then perform in the community. Average audience size per performance is 130.
The performances raise the self esteem and self confidence of the underserved comics who perform and help to break the stigma against mental illness. And the shows are flat out funny.
Our work is unique, funny and inspiring and I want to bring it into the city of Portland. Every show we have had has been a rousing success.
This is the kind of project that continues to make Portland awesome. It is unique and forward thinking. It combines social justice with mental health. With proper marketing we can reach hundreds of people. Once they see the performance they will never look at mental illness in the same light again.
In the 13 week classes I teach, we look at our hardest struggles and challenges. We talk about it and explore it. Then we turn things around and start looking at these experience through the lens of finding the humor in them. We convert this humor into stand up comedy. This process is transformative. Class members gain control over experiences that used to control their lives. They get tools for living with a mental illness. We this happens and then we perform, magic happens. Audiences sense that magic and leave knowing that they have seen something special.
All our shows are clean and classified as PG. It is a refreshing change from the standard stand up comedy show.
Any additional costs above the $1000 level for venue or marketing, (We expect to get some earned media), will be funded by other nonprofits or individual contributions.
Funded by Portland, OR (January 2015)