Science and Health

Comedians More Likely To Have Psychotic Traits, Study Says

Research out of the U.K. shows many comedians tend to have psychotic personality traits.

Comedians More Likely To Have Psychotic Traits, Study Says
Warner Bros. / 'Yes Man'

Comedians are nuts, and that's why we love them — they make us laugh. But a new study out of Oxford University shows that crazy might not just be an act.

Research shows comedians are more likely to display some psychotic personality traits than people with other careers. The researchers studied American, British and Australian comedians — altogether about 523 men and women. (Via Comedy Central

The study also found "the comedians were more impulsive, antisocial and tended to avoid intimacy." (Via NBC)

Yeah, not really a laughing matter. So what led to the conclusion? Well, Professor Gordon Claridge from Oxford University's department of experimental psychology said funny guys and gals embody characteristics similar to both schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, saying:

"Although schizophrenic psychosis itself can be detrimental to humour, in its lesser form it can increase people's ability to ... think 'outside the box'. Equally, 'manic thinking', which is common in people with bipolar disorder, may help people combine ideas to form ... humorous connections." (Via The Guardian

It is important to note the findings don't necessarily hold true for every comedian. The research merely found it's more likely among that specific demographic. (Via Fox / "In Living Color"

Juliette Burton, a comedian in the U.K. who has openly battled with mental health issues, told The Guardian she agrees with the results: "These findings make sense to me. There is something about the solo comedy performers … quite a few I know have experience with mental health issues." (Via YouTube / Juliette Burton


But there is sort of an upside to the results. The study found "often they probably use performing as a form of self-medication." (Via BBC)

Which, researchers say, is actually a healthier and more constructive outlet than nonperformers with mental health problems who tend to become more moody and introverted.