Please enjoy this hilarious conversation with comedian Alicia Dattner. She had me laughing the entire interview.
We discuss how she got started in comedy. Apparently, standup was a major choice at her college! Then she tells us about her rock bottom at Burning Man and path to wellness. It involved a 12-step program (definitely NOT AA) and a trip to India. She goes on to tell us about what the role of comedy is in wellness. And of course the role of wellness in comedy.
I particularly loved her take on the need for comedy to help reframe and reprogram the brain to deal with trauma. She talks about the neuroplasticity that occurs in the brain just for a few seconds after laughing. Laughter is clearly a powerful tool.
I can’t recommend enough watching her comedy special “How to Dress For The Apocalypse”. It came out at the beginning of the year about one month before lockdown started. It’s freaky spot on and fun to watch a comedian in the wellness space.
Quotes from Alicia Dattner:
“It was a life reckoning of like, what am I up to here? The big dreams I have, the ways that I sabotage myself, and what's here to heal because it's not going the way I want it to. I'm miserable most of the time. And I'm paralyzed. Like there was a point at which I was just kind of paralyzed. All of the critical voices and the bitterness and everything sort of congealed into me, not really being able to break through to another level of success or to really enjoy it. So I had to really examine what I was up to.”
“There are so many amazing people who are here to support us and help us and who have walked the path before.”
“And so I hit a bottom at Burning Man. I was like 26 and I finished my circus tour and, I went into SLAA (Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous) and it was really amazing. I really deeply rekindled my connections with women, and strengthened just the sisterhood aspect because there was so much trying to get validation from men and from outside that I basically ignored women.”
“After we laugh our brains return to the neuro-plasticity that we had when we were five years old. I really believe when we combine laughter with insight and with humor and we bring our trauma in, in a way that we can reflect and hold the space for it, that the laughter actually unlocks and shakes up the old well-worn pathways and opens up new synopses and opens and fires and new places in our brain and then pumps in endorphins and can change the structure of our brain.”
“All of this life force is just constantly flowing through us. And it's almost too much. In fact, it's usually too much to take. And so of course we would layer on all of these protections to keep us from the awe and the majesty of whatever the absurd thing is going on as in a material world.”
“If we can navigate this [pandemic] in a gentle way where we kind of stay grounded and peaceful and relaxed and remember too, that this is an opportunity for a deeper connection with ourselves and with the earth and with each other that would be a good way for us to have it.”
“It's been a reckoning for white people who just kind of take everything for granted as things aren't that bad...Where people of color have been living with a constant level of trauma and adversity just in every interaction with people all the time everywhere and find an inner resilience most of the time, to find things to be happy about ways to stay connected with themselves.”