…Professor Gordon Claridge, of the University of Oxford’s Department of Experimental Psychology, studied personality questionnaires filled in by 523 comedians (404 men and 119 women) from the UK, US and Australia.
“We found that comedians had a rather unusual personality profile, which was rather contradictory,” Prof Claridge says.
“On the one hand, they were rather introverted, depressive, rather schizoid, you might say. And on the other hand, they were rather extroverted and manic.
“That was a rather unusual profile. The actors we compared them with didn’t show that, and this was highly significantly different from the norms on the test.
“Possibly the comedy – the extroverted side – is a way of dealing with the depressive side. Of course, this is not true of all comedians.”
Laughing to cope
It is not. Not every comedian has difficulties, and depression is far from particular to creative personalities.
Depression is the single biggest killer of men aged 20-49 in the UK, according to the Campaign Against Living Miserably (Calm). It touches all corners of society…