By Tom Spiegel
The world famous comedian took some time to give us a much-needed life lesson for today's society in which he shows us the ideal path to combat depression: painting.
As a comedy nut that I've always been and also a bit of a closeted psycho therapist, it's inevitable for me to analyze the most talented comics in history, or at the very least the ones who I can remember. The furthest I've gone in my research is Jonathan Winters or Don Rickles, both considered icons of the craft. In all the passion I've found throughout my never ending videos and texts, I have found a pattern that is more familiar with comedians who are more involved in the Hollywood world and worry a bit more about succeeding than actually enjoying the thrill of making people laugh. What I managed to discover in my investigation process, is that the more talented the comedian is, the more he wants to cover other artistic areas in entertainment.
We have some incredibly quick-thinking improvisational comics, who I consider to be at the very top of the creative realm. Fair examples of this comic are the ones we will discuss in this article. Jim Carrey, Richard Pryor, TJ Miller, Gregg Geraldo, and more importantly Robin Williams; these are the prime examples of creative comic minds who sometimes cross a very thin and dangerous line that can suck their souls and sometimes even spark mental illness they didn't have before. Jim Carrey has been well-known as a diagnosed bipolar comic who has always fought with depression; he has never shied away from the burdens he has to bear every single day of his life. Being that talented has a high price, for some comics being this creative has even cost them their lives.
There is also the more prepared and sharpened comedian who wasn't good when he started but has improved over the years to levels that only the very best can aspire. In this group of comics, you can easily find people like Ricky Gervais, Louis C.K., Jerry Seinfeld, and Chris Rock talking about their rise to stardom and how hard they worked over the years. These guys need at least a year to write a full hour of material and another year to test it in comedy clubs before they are confident they have a good show, but the misfits like Carrey and Williams were born with the comedy spark since they were little. Both of them were lonely little boys who started developing characters at an early age without realizing they also developed mantel illness; Robin Williams developed dementia for example.
August the 11th marks three years since Robin Williams sadly passed away after committing suicide, the icon was found hanging in a bedroom door. People already knew how depressed he was since he was young, substance abuse at an early age certainly didn't help in latter years because his illness only grew stronger. But then again, the fact that he needed so many drugs to feel better also means that even sober he didn't feel okay. Fortunately for him, Robin's family helped him find inner peace in the city of San Francisco, and we witnessed some of the most impressive work of his career during his sober years. But as all unhinged creative minds, Robin required something to keep him occupied and distracted from his always present depression. Going on bicycle rides every day seemed to help out a lot, but divorcing his wife and separating from his family was a huge blow for him.
I remember shedding many tears when I found out about his passing; it's almost as if I had lost one of my dearest friends because I had been following his career for decades. That's when it hit me; I remembered how severe Jim Carrey's depression had been for the past few years. Personal problems had him in constant search of tranquillity and enlightenment, a sudden alarming feeling came over me, and I started researching the latest acting he's done or comedy he's performed. I quickly realized that Jim Carrey hadn't done much in the last decade, he is another one of those artists who feel suffocated by the shallow and empty Hollywood life. Then I stumbled upon a nifty little show made for comedians by a legendary comedian called "Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee", my first reaction was searching for Jim Carrey's episode, and there it was.
This was a few years back, the reason I bring this up is that it soothes me to know that fewer people are as alarmed as I was then after knowing that Jim is alive and well. In that episode with Jerry, he spoke about how much he is enjoying life through painting, the perfect therapy for a person who suffers depression the way he does. Then a few days ago, Jim uploaded a documentary about his experience with painting called "I Needed Color." Watching it reminded me of Robin Williams so much, I felt sad because I knew he wasn't able to find the proper therapy in time like Jim did. But I also felt happy because I saw hope in Carrey's words during the documentary, he knows he is the type of creative mind that needs to feel less involved in the world's problems because they hurt him on a fundamental level.
Sadly, not all comedians have the fortitude or carelessness to find comedy in tragedy. People like Jim Carrey are compassionate souls who do their comedy with no intention to enrage anyone, other comedians don't care about that, and that's okay. Perhaps the British comics have a more relaxed way of approaching their craft, people like Jimmy Carr, Ricky Gervais, and Craig Ferguson don't take themselves that seriously. Maybe that's where their success is hidden in plain sight, not giving a fuck every once in a while and just letting the comedy flow can also be the answer sometimes. I sure do hope Jim Carrey comes back to act in great comedy movies like in the past, let's hope his new hobby fuels him with motivation, and we get a new timeless character to imitate until the world comes to an end.
Keep that momentum going Jim, please don't make me miss you and cry for you as Robin did.