Comedians have long been classified as “crazy,” according to the diagnoses of America’s many Dr. Grins and Mixed Nuts clinics. But now the equally esteemed British Journal of Psychiatry has weighed in with its own pronouncement, declaring that comedians seem to have “high levels of psychotic personality traits”—traits that actually prove beneficial to the formulation of jokes, provided they do not first drive you to arson or homicide.
“Although schizophrenic psychosis itself can be detrimental to humor,” said the University of Oxford’s Gordon Claridge, whose own dry wit suggests he’s also pretty fucked up, “in its lesser form it can increase people's ability to associate odd or unusual things or to think 'outside the box.'” Other advantages of being slightly psychotic include manic thinking’s ability to help you “form new, original, humorous connections,” a tendency toward antisocial behavior that allows you to discuss, in public and at length, how stupid everyone else is, and the tendency to avoid intimacy that forestalls fulfilling relationships, which are death to comedy.
To conduct their study, researchers recruited 523 comedians from across the U.S., UK, and Australia and had them answer an online questionnaire regarding things like believing in telepathy and the paranormal, difficulties with focusing, and tendencies toward introversion and impulsiveness. Their answers were then scored against those of a group of actors, as well as a control group of regular, “non-creative people.” And while actors generally scored higher across all psychotic traits—which isn’t news to anyone who’s dated one, amIright? [*carves into forearm*]—also not surprisingly, they weren’t nearly as introverted, making comedians far and away more “psychotic.” Presumably their craziness was confirmed by the comedians then launching into monologues about the day’s headlines, which they presented with a humorous slant that was just slightly “askew.”
Meanwhile, a separate, independent study found that writers who make their living making dumb jokes on the Internet have high levels of erotic traits. Those findings will be published in next month’s Journal of Oh Yeahhhhh.
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