What do you think of when you think of a comedian? Funny, first, right? Then confident, smart, and probably empowered over their "stuff".
How about when you think of mental illness? Maybe you think of a loved one, or a friend, or maybe even yourself. Or maybe not.
Maybe you aren't aware that people you know are living with mental illness. (Believe us, statistics tell us you DO know people with mental illness.) So instead, when you think of mental illness, you think about people talking to themselves on the street corner, or crying all day in their room, or committing violent crimes.
Mental illness sucks. It really does. People with mental illness can feel isolated, they can feel hopeless, and they experience powerful stigma and discrimination in their communities.
We want you to help us fight that! Help us share the inspiring stories of comics who have turned their struggles with mental illness into comedy and been transformed in the process! Our book, "No, Really, We Want You to Laugh" will include our own experiences of living with mental illness, or living with family members who are mentally ill, and how taking that hard stuff and turning it into comedy through a program called Stand Up for Mental Health changed our perspectives and changed our lives.
Before comedy, co-author Dave Mowry's story was one of tremendous loss and grief. Paralyzing anxiety and depression took him from powerful business owner and CEO to losing everything - companies, his home and relationships. Now Dave facilitates Stand Up for Mental Health classes for his local chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness and helps other would-be comics find their funny the way he did. The power of laughter has transformed Dave's story into one of healing, restoration and hope for the future.
Co-author Tara Rolstad realized that nothing had prepared her to be a foster mom to a teenage niece with severe mental illness, for suicide attempts, hospitalizations or lengthy residential treatment stays. Now as a comic she advocates for changes in the system and serves as a voice for the experiences of exhausted family members, who have to learn to navigate frustrating ER waiting rooms and psych units.
You'll also get the stories of other comics we've performed with through Stand Up for Mental Health, fascinating people like:
- Lorayne, who has been committed to the state psychiatric hospital six times, been suicidal and lives with severe anxiety, yet is a powerful volunteer in her community who found her voice and shares it through comedy.
- Eric, who is an artist and a therapist when he's not being a comic, and is enjoying recovery from schizophrenia.
By sharing these inspiring and FUNNY stories, we can raise awareness of the hope for people with mental illness, and we can fight the stigma and shame that still exists in our society.
What will we do with the money?
We want to do this book right, so it has the best chance to reach people and make a difference. To do that we need:
- professional cover design and book layout for both e-publication and hard copies.
- professional editing
- this awesome Kickstarter video!
- Kickstarter fees
- small amount of support for Tara and Dave to allow us to really focus on this book and write it over the next few months
- small run of hard copies of the book to take to speaking events, conferences, etc.
- PARTY! We're including a little bit to throw a launch party for our supporters, to celebrate the publication of the book and do a comedy show just for you guys!
- It covers our expenses for book writing, publication and premiums
- it's a prime number, which is just cool
- It's an odd number, and we think it's pretty funny. Just like us!
How can you be a part of this?
- Share this Kickstarter video with your friends and family, through email, Facebook, Twitter, whatever you can.
- Support us and earn fun premiums! Get a free copy of the book, come to the launch party, even have us perform at a private party for you and your friends!
- Thank you so much!!!!
Risks and challenges
We have lived these stories for over a year now, and we are ready to tell them. Tara is an experienced, published writer and editor, and Dave has deep skills in project management, logistics and deadlines, so we're a great team, ready for whatever comes up.
Our most likely obstacles might come if we face delays based on "life happening", either in our own lives or the lives of our subjects, but because we are profiling more than one comic, we can restructure our research and interview times accordingly. We would communicate any delays to our supporters promptly so you would know what to expect.
- (28 days)