The Anxiety Show at Guilt & Company shines a comedic light on mental health

Jan 5 2017, 12:10 am

A new comedy night at Guilt & Company is using laughter to explore different mental health disorders, as told by comedians who also experience them firsthand. Produced by Megan Phillips (Not Enough, Breaking Velocity) and Tonye Aganaba (604 Records), The Anxiety Show bills itself as a dark comedy variety show featuring stand-up, sketch, storytelling, and music.

“We live in pretty scary times that could easily allow for isolation and fear, which is the breeding ground for any mental health issue. But we’re not in this alone,” said Phillips. “Laughing at our demons together shows that we’re not alone in the struggle, and joy is not as far from reach as depression, anxiety or addiction wants us to believe.”

The Anxiety Show Megan Phillips 1

Image: Megan Phillips

Every episode of The Anxiety Show features a different mental health issue, starting
with Episode 1 on January 15: F**k Fat Shaming. Vancouver comedians Hayley Beamish, Suzy Rawsome, Deneece Burg, Sherri-Lynn Gamracy, Mona Monaé, Alissa MC and more join Phillips onstage to address societal, familial, and all kinds of body shame around weight and size. Plus the second half is open-mic style to give audience members the chance to share their own stories. This event is in honour of Haigan Day, and donations will be collected for the Day family.

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“The comedy and performing that I resonate with the most is truth-telling,” added Phillips, who recently performed at the Vancouver Fringe Festival and runs a comedy night at Cartems Donuterie. “Between the recent spotlight on Carrie Fisher’s creative work around mental health, and the increasing societal push to de-stigmative mental health, it’s clear to me that the world is ready to start talking from a place of knowingness and compassion.

“I think the most empowering way we can talk about our experience is from a place of truthful perspective, which just happens to be one of the ingredients for comedy.”

The Anxiety Show Megan Phillips 2

Image: Megan Phillips

Suzy Rawsome also hopes that The Anxiety Show will inspire broader empathy from the audience.

“It will probably put most people in touch with some faction of their past, and hopefully help a few people feel less alone in their self-consciousness and past trauma,” said Rawsome, who runs The Bomb Shelter Late Night Open Mic and The Comedy Basement ProAm Showcase at Goldies Pizza. “I think the show will also help others understand what other people go through. I think we’ve all experienced some form of body shame in our lives, and it will be neat to hear everyone’s interpretation of their experiences.”

The Anxiety Show – Episode 1: F**k Fat Shaming

When: January 15 at 8:30 pm

Where: Guilt & Company — 1 Alexander Street, Vancouver

Tickets: $10, available online

Daniel ChaiDaniel Chai

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