Comedy and Mental Health Quick Data

Here’s the quick rundown from the “Mental Health in Comedy” study I conducted to gather data for a talk at TEDxSaltLakeCity 2018 that is now available on and at the bottom of this page. 494 respondents from comedians living in countries all across the world.

If someone answered anything except “No” to the mental illness question they were asked the next 3 mental health survey questions.

All respondents were asked the following 5 questions. If someone did not feel comfortable answering any the questions at all in the survey they could skip the question. That is why the response number varies between questions.

This question was admittedly poorly worded but enough responses had come in that changing the wording would have skewed the data even more. And at the very least it lets us broadly know if comedy made someone feel better or worse.

This Question was the one area where respondents could write whatever they wanted. See the Full Study “Paper” for all the detailed, beautiful, heartwarming and bonding answers.


This question received the most e-mailed feedback of “it’s too black and white”. But that was actually the point. The conversation is so nuanced you’d need a separate 100 question survey just to maybe scratch the surface. The talk at TEDxSaltLakeCity attempted to aggregate the national (USA)/and some of the international conversation I’ve watched play out in the comedy community over many years. I covered as much of the nuance while drawing meaningful personal connection as the time allowed me too. Hopefully, if you check out the talk you’ll think that I did it reasonable justice. But for this question, the raw “yes or no” was the important part.


If you found the Quick Survey Data interesting you’ll really want to check out the Full Study “Paper” once I have a chance to get it finished. Because the granular data paints a drastically different and more interesting picture than the quick charts. Right now the paper is at 18 pages in length and I’ve pulled in actual writing and data analysis experts to make it better. However, that also means it’s taking longer to complete properly. But the next time you’ve got time to kill on a long flight delay or while waiting for your spot at a mind-numbing 3-hour long mic check back to see if it’s completed.

TEDx Talk