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August 2019 (Vol. 4 Issue 6)

Don’t laugh, stand-up comics more likely to die earlier
About the author: 
Bryan Hubbard

Don’t laugh, stand-up comics more likely to die earlier image

It’s no laughing matter: stand-up comics are more likely to die prematurely than screen and stage actors.

The life expectancy of top stand-up comedians is around 67 years compared to 70 years for ‘serious’ dramatic actors, say researchers from the Mary MacKillop Institute of Health Research in Australia.

The researchers studied the lives, and deaths, of 498 actors and comedians, including 200 stand-up comedians, 114 comedy actors who appeared in films, and 184 dramatic actors, many of whom were Oscar winners.

Stand-up comics are more likely to commit suicide or die from a drug-related problem, the researchers discovered, and they were also more likely to suffer from psychotic problems, including manic-depression and schizophrenia, all of which confirms the myth that funny men are crying inside.

Stress seems to be the other factor. Lead researcher Simon Stewart said that stand-up comedy is “a highly competitive profession with low pay and low job security; years of working under this pressure may exert a cumulative stress effect even once success has been achieved.”


References

(Source: International Journal of Cardiology, 2016; 220: 789)

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