The highlight of Miller’s US trip was when she was guested on Johnny ‘Bananas’ Devenanzio‘s TV show 1st Look. The idea of the show was for Miller to teach Johnny Bananas how to become a standup comedian. For Miller, this was a daunting assignment since it took her 16 years to figure out what she needs to do on stage. People think that comedians just need to act and be funny, but it is far from that.
In her blog post, Miller openly admits her struggle being alone and doing her comedy acts. In her words, comedy is a thankless, stressful job that can lead to suicide. It is stressful to get up on stage and bare yourself to a bunch of strangers. She lived alone with no family and very few friends and for her, comedy was the lifeline she hung on for her dear life. She loves the laugh even though it was sparse when she started.
Her thoughts just emphasize how comedians are struggling with mental challenges such as depression and suicidal tendencies and how this depression fuels their work. Sigmund Freud, the legendary psychoanalyst, theorized that comedians often tell jokes to relieve themselves from anxiety. On a 1975 study by Samuel James, he found out that 80% out of the 55 full-time comedians he interviewed had sought some kind of therapy. Despite their above-average intelligence, salary over six figures, and national recognition, many often felt ” misunderstood, picked on or bullied.” Mental illness can also lead to suicide just like what happened to Robin Williams. Woody Allen and Ellen DeGeneres also opened up about their battle with depression.
Miller hopes that the recognition she’s been given right now will pave the way for the older generation to be able to pursue a new life or a new career without the resistance she experienced when she was starting. Thanking Joan Rivers for making her place in the comedy world, she hopes to do the same for all the seventy, eighty, and ninety-year-old chaps who follows her.
Lynn Ruth Miller really shows everyone that there is no such thing as being too old to try something new. Delivering her message with humor and wit, there is so much to learn from her acts. It is all about finding and understanding ourselves and identifying our uniqueness. Her “I Love Men” act was a testimonial she created to show people that they are unique individuals and have the power to chart the course of their lives. Social norms are there to serve as guidelines that don’t need to be followed if one doesn’t feel comfortable. To live a good life, we must create it ourselves, and once we do that, we will be able to please others. Ahh, wise words spoken by a wise nanna.