Originally Published: June 30, 2016 6 a.m.
PRESCOTT – Some might argue there is nothing funny about living with mental illness or addiction.
David Granirer isn’t one of them. And it’s not because he’s callous.
Twelve years ago, the Vancouver, Canada, therapist and stand-up comic founded a traveling comedy show he titled, “Stand Up for Mental Health.” His jokes and observations are rooted in his own struggle with severe depression that dates back to his teen years.
The 55-year-old married father of two even teaches comedy to those with mental illness on three continents: 35 cities in the United States as well as in Canada and Australia.
“The one issue with mental illness is not only do you have the condition, but you have all the shame that comes with the condition. The ability to laugh has gotten me through some really dark times. An evening of comedy is amazingly good for my soul,” said Granirer, who has been hired by the West Yavapai Guidance Clinic to bring his show to the Elks Theatre and Performing Arts Center in Prescott on Saturday, July 9.
Leaders of the county’s largest provider of mental health and addiction treatment services opted to bring the comedy show to the community as part of its 50th anniversary celebration. The title of the routine he will perform in Prescott is titled, “I’m OK, but YOU need Professional Help.”
West Yavapai Guidance Clinic Chief Development and Communications Officer Laura Norman said Granirer’s humor offers his audiences a chance to gain an understanding of mental illness in a non-intimidating forum.
“First and foremost, he’s a stand-up comic. He’s funny,” Norman said. “But he weaves in his personal experience as someone who has a mental health condition and who is a counselor. He can say things, and see things, from perspectives that other people cannot. And he sees the humor in these things.”
Granirer assures his brand of entertainment is applicable to everyone.
National statistics suggest that one in five adults suffers from some type of mental health condition, Granirer said. For those who do not, Granirer said, they likely either live with, or at least, knows someone with mental health-related issues.
“Coming to see my show will give them a better understanding of the people around them,” said Granirer, who 17 years ago started teaching comedy at a Vancouver community college and from witnessing the life-transformation of his students founded what is more than a show, but a life mission.
At the very least, Granirer guarantees ticket holders can be expected to laugh “a lot.”
Granirer confirms there is truth in the adage, “Laughter is the best medicine.”
“It sure helps me feel good to laugh with a comedy club full of people. It’s a life saver.”