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Updated: 14 hours 13 sec ago

Julian McCullough headlines fundraising event to ‘stand up’ against mental health stigma (guest post)

Thu, 09/07/2017 - 13:03

Storytelling is a powerful agent for change. Sharing personal stories with others takes bravery, especially when a person is opening up about their own mental health journey. In doing so, they may feel vulnerable or judged. And while those feelings may exist because of the dark shadow stigma casts on mental health, something far more important and impactful is happening; people are learning, relating—empathizing. Stigma is replaced with a message of hope.

The individuals listening may be going through similar issues, and therefore the storytelling is helping others feel like they are not alone. Sharing mental health stories is combatting stigma. These stories of lived-experience are relatable and genuinely felt. They are not forced, staged, or mechanical. They are truths being told based on that person’s life.

Similarly, comedy that resonates with an audience is also storytelling at its finest. Human life as told through the eyes of a comedian has a very unique appeal. Good stand-up comedy wouldn’t exist without comedians willingly stepping outside of their comfort zone to share their personal stories. It can even be therapeutic for the comedians and audience members. The very events a comedian shares on stage may be similar to the experience of an audience member, giving them both an opportunity to laugh and find humor in life’s situations.

On Monday, September 18, 2017 at 8pm, comedian, actor, and writer Julian McCullough will bring you comedic storytelling at its best. He will team up with the Jordan Porco Foundation charity for a night of stand-up comedy to stand up against mental health stigma at the Comedy Cellar at the Village Underground. All proceeds — TICKETS HERE — will benefit the mental health promotion and suicide prevention programs of the Jordan Porco Foundation.

“When celebrities like Julian use their influence in support of raising mental health awareness, it makes them key allies for challenging stigma, wherever it may be. With comedy, Julian has found ways to broach tough topics, providing what many cannot—a sense of relief and laughter,” said Marisa Giarnella-Porco, President and CEO of the Jordan Porco Foundation.

Relief from stigma is needed. Research on stigma towards mental illness shows that most people, starting at a young age, hold negative attitudes towards people with mental illness. These attitudes include stereotypes and perceptions that those with mental illness are dangerous to others. According to the World Health Organization, depression alone is the leading cause of disability in the world. One in four American adults is suffering from a mental health disorder this year. But, even though this crisis is so visible in our society, only 25% of those diagnosed with mental illness feel that other people are caring and sympathetic towards individuals with mental illness.1 Stigma can create overwhelming feelings of isolation and shame that cause people with mental health issues to distance themselves from their family and friends, due to fear of being judged.

“I don’t want my daughter to feel alone, to distance herself from the people she loves. My daughter’s mental health is important to me because I don’t want her to simply endure life, I want her to enjoy it. I want her to be able to talk about how she is feeling without fear being judged. I want her to freely share her talents with the world, know how to take care of herself, and how to take care of the people she loves… especially me when I get old,” said Julian.

Sharing our stories helps bring people together, replacing fear with hope. It takes a village to stand up against mental health stigma and change the mental health landscape. Come be part of our village at the Comedy Cellar at the Village Underground. Get your tickets, here. Tickets are $80 per person. Doors open at 7:15pm for the 8pm show. 21 and older.

About the Jordan Porco Foundation

The Jordan Porco Foundation’s mission is to prevent suicide, promote mental health, and create a message of hope for young adults. This is accomplished by providing engaging and uplifting peer-run programs on college campuses. Their programs strive to start a conversation about mental health that reduces stigma while encouraging help-seeking and supportive behaviors in order to save young adult lives. Learn more at jordanporcofoundation.org.

EXCLUSIVE preview: Jim Gaffigan takes over Pandora Comedy in honor of Cinco

Thu, 06/15/2017 - 13:14

With the release of his latest album Cinco, Jim Gaffigan continues to spread his everyman comedy to the world. So, it’s no surprise he’s set to to begin a national tour — dubbed the Noble Ape Tour — that begins July 14 in Hershey, PA and continues through December. Before he hits the road, however, he’s got a job to do. In honor of Cinco and Father’s Day — you probably know Gaffigan is a father to five children — he’s taking over Pandora’s Today’s Comedy Station today!

During today’s takeover, Gaffigan will curate a selection of tracks from his favorite comedians and will, obviously, be playing some of his favorite bits from his past albums as well as tracks from Cinco. But the pressure is on for the comedian-turned-radio host since Pandora‘s Today’s Comedy channel is its most popular; listeners logged 1.7 million hours listening to comedy on Pandora in the past month. And Gaffigan, himself, is the most popular comedian on Pandora with 770 million total spins. With the release of Cinco, those numbers will only shoot up.

In an exclusive preview of Gaffigan’s Pandora takeover, Laughspin got a sneak peek into some of the things the comedian will talk about today. “I’ve done a fair amount of comedy albums and specials over the years. And you’re never really sure when it’s done because I think every comedian knows that they tape a special or they record and album and then a week later they think of a great line,” Gaffigan says about co-writing material with his wife Jeannie. “The addition of a line can change the whole makeup of a joke or a chunk. But I do think that determining when a chunk is done, it does feel like material reaches a point where it’s ripe.”

On being labeled a “self-deprecating comedian,” Gaffigan says,  “it’s definitely something that I am aware of. Look, I’m a straight white male, so there’s no punching above me. And I don’t really want to punch down. And so the self-punching — my comedy — I really kind of steer away from ‘us and them.’ And so making fun of myself, it’s not easy, but it’s a safe place to go because I don’t want my comedy to end up messing up someone’s day. That being said, I’m sure I say things that offend people.”

Check out the full Gaffigan takeover today!

Kevin Hart audiobook from Audible — I Can’t Make This Up: Life Lessons out now! (Exclusive Video)

Tue, 06/06/2017 - 18:38

If you’re even a casual follower of Kevin Hart‘s comedy and, especially, his social media feeds, you already know the mega-comic is a bit of an inspiration junky. That is, he loves being inspired and inspiring others. Sometimes he inspires us by being shirtless— because he’s built like a goddamn NFL running back. Sometimes he inspires us by posting a photo of him standing next to a private plane or working out or sitting on a super fancy red car; or he posts a photo of himself standing next to a private plane holding the book I’m about to tell you about or hanging out with his wife, who is-not-in-the-least unattractive.

He’s got so much inspiration to give, it turns out, that mere mortal Instagram accounts and comedy stages just can’t contain the breadth of Hart’s sage-like summations of living and life. Enter: a book. Not just any book, mind you. It’s a book titled I Can’t Make This Up: Life Lessons, penned by — you guessed it — Kevin Hart.

Now, you book traditionalists are welcome to “read” the 400-page tome, which came out today.

Personally, I would much rather listen to Kevin Hart read me 400 pages.

To prove to you how much better — and more inspirational — listening (instead of reading) can be, we have lovingly procured an exclusive video from the folks at Audible, the proper swell organization responsible for the more listen-y version of I Can’t Make This Up: Life Lessons, in which we watch Hart gives advice to his 20-year-old self. I won’t give it away but you should know it has to do with his balls. So if ball talk offends you, maybe you should skip it and go right to the audio track below the video. Either way,  you are most welcome for these gifts we have bestowed upon you.


Here’s that audio-only clip we promised you. Enjoy!


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