Two things everyone should know about Jamie Masada before reading any news item regarding his Laugh Factory comedy clubs in Hollywood and Long Beach, Calif.: 1) Masada's heart is usually in the right place, and 2) the guy knows how to get mainstream press.
His latest idea is the hiring of an in-house therapist so comedians can work out whatever issues they cannot work out onstage.
NPR interviewed the clinical pyschologist, Dr. Ildiko Tabori, and also had Kevin Nealon phone in from Denver. Between cracking jokes, Nealon did offer his own honest perspective on how comedians have a different need for therapy, describing one of his bouts with depression:
I should have been, you know, seeing somebody or taking something. And I think for some comics, I know in my particular situation, getting on stage is an escape for me. If I – whatever problems are going on in my life, when I'm on stage, it's like going to Disneyland. I don't think about it. And then when I come off stage, it hits you like a ton of bricks.
So it's kind of being on stage is that – I think if every comic that has emotional problems could just be on stage all the time, they would be fine. But they have to step off the stage eventually and deal with what's going on.
Every comedian has a different opinion on this subject. Getting laughs onstage gives you a powerful high. An addictive high. Whether comedians have a need to be in pain before getting that high, as Tabori alleges in this NPR interview, and whether having a therapist inside the comedy club is a good idea, however, are things upon we might not agree.
It's nice of Masada to offer therapy sessions for stand-ups who truly need it. Offering it in the club? Not entirely sold on that.