In this answer to the special call, I layer accounts of my reaction to Bo Burnham’s stand-up comedy special Make Happy with discussions of the stigma surrounding mental health and personal narratives about my own difficulties with anxiety. Dutta argues that “narratives are sites of contestation where cultural meanings are played out through dialogues among cultural participants” (91). He goes on to add that the sharing of narratives reveals the cultural politics involved in models of health and allows for the exploration of new possibilities (Dutta 103). In this light, disclosing struggles with anxiety or other mental illnesses represents a means of challenging and destabilizing stigmas that depict mental illnesses as shameful states-of-being. This essay reflects on the profound effects of seeing my greatest insecurity reflected in a mediated performance, and the implications for sharing my own personal narratives in order to erode the stigma surrounding mental illness.
Valenta, Darren J.
"Comedy Makes Me Cry: Seeing Myself in Mediated Disclosures of Mental Illness,"
Kaleidoscope: A Graduate Journal of Qualitative Communication Research: Vol. 17, Article 2.
Available at: https://opensiuc.lib.siu.edu/kaleidoscope/vol17/iss1/2