Misery Loves Comedy?

Hannah Zahn
10 min readMar 27, 2019

“This guy I used to date thinks I have multiple personality disorder…But he’s nice about it. The other day he said to me ‘I’m so happy you can be yourselves with me,’ and I was like ‘me’s too.’”

This is the opening line I used in one of my most recent stand up sets. At any given time my brain is like the boat scene from Charlie and the Chocolate factory, or that episode of Spongebob where we see the inside of Spongebob’s brain and it’s run by a bunch of tiny Spongebobs and everything’s on fire. You can also think of it as a computer with too many tabs open. I used to feel alone in this sense, but I have finally found a comfortable level of mutual understanding in the Santa Clara University Stand Up Comedy Club (SUCC for short. This is not our actual acronym, but I think that it should be).

It has long been contested that creative-minded people suffer for their art. I sat down with some of Santa Clara University’s most talented comedians to probe their minds on this very subject.


I think my fellow comedian Mason Hall summed it up best when he said, “Sometimes I think that whenever I have to make a decision there’s a town council of little versions of myself inside of my brain and they’re all trying to speak at once and then the judge goes ‘Order!’ Order!’ and slams the gavel down. And then I get a headache.”

Mason is a chronically tired 6’0” man-boy with limbs that stretch for miles and have rendered him hopelessly clumsy. He’s very skinny and probably malnourished seeing as he only ever consumes “vegetables” in the form of ketchup or marinara sauce. And he spends an inordinate amount of time fashioning his nineties Boy Meets World haircut.

On stage, Mason is about as animated as the wooden stool that is perched behind him. You would think that this expressionless-ness would make him very boring on stage and very good at poker but in fact, the exact opposite is true in both cases. He speaks only out of the corner of his mouth in monotone — like a much younger and whiter Morgan Freeman. And yet, he is a veritable connoisseur of sounds. He can impersonate anything from celebrities to the screechiness of the bathroom doors in our cafeteria and the “praying mantis thing from Star Wars: Episode II.” (Which, according to Google is a creature named Acklay.)