Clearly, the gift of being funny is the biggest requirement for a career in comedy but being funny all the time is not easy. Although it may not occur to us as we watch our favourite funny men and women perform on stage or film, outside of their work (which can be hard going a lot of the time) comedians are flesh and blood like the rest of us and subject to the same stresses and strains of everyday life.
Comedic history is littered with sad tales of stars who were manic depressives (Spike Milligan), had serious drink or drug problems (W.C. Fields and Lenny Bruce) or committed suicide due to a combination of the above such as Robin Williams. Being funny is big business but also a serious business and comedians, probably more than any other entertainer, need to look after both their physical and mental well-being and fitness.
Survival of the Fittest
From the outside looking in, the life of a comedian may look simple and sedentary, and in truth it can be, but a lot of hard work and preparation often goes into a short stand-up routine or brief appearance on stage or on film. The days of tubby little comedians or fat jolly characters are pretty much over and the new breed of comedian is now streamlined and active and bursting with zest and exuberance. Top comedic stars such as Jim Carrey regularly exercise and work out in order to keep in shape and at the top of their game. They even have a gym at home that’s fully equipped various exercise equipment like rowing machines, treadmill, and weights.
Competition is fierce and only the strongest survive in the cut-throat world of comedy and any edge in fitness and health can only help. But it’s not just comedians who can benefit from a healthier lifestyle, it’s everybody. Without going overboard, simple healthy eating and a modest amount of exercise can bring about many improvements in everyday life.
Small Changes, Big Benefits
Recent American studies have shown that people who exercise for just seven hours a week are up to 40% less likely to die prematurely than those who are only physically active for less than half an hour a week. The risks of suffering from high blood pressure, diabetes, strokes and heart disease are all reduced as are the chances of suffering many forms of cancer.
This is good news for everybody, but for people whose livelihood depends on remaining fit and active, such as comedians, it is hugely significant. Other major benefits in making some small lifestyle changes in exercise and diet include:
- Lower Blood Pressure
- Reduced Stress
- More energy
- Increased Attention Span
- Better creative thinking
- Improved Memory
Anybody who maintains a reasonably healthy lifestyle will improve their quality of life but for working comedians, energy, the creative process and memory are critical components of their profession.
To put it bluntly, being a comedian is not always a barrel of laughs and certainly not the easy life many think it to be. It is a hard, uncompromising profession and there are new pretenders to the King of Comedy crown appearing every day.
It’s time to take being funny seriously and look after not just your material but yourself. Natural talent is still the first requisite but being healthy, creative and energetic are not far behind.