Childhood trauma is funny. – By @carlyillston

By Carly Illston


Childhood trauma is funny. 


The Krak–heads (please take a moment to admire my use of the beautiful en–dash) (not to be confused with the hyphen) have just finished their fourth week at comedy school. And I think it’s safe to say, we are all exponentially more funny. 

We’ve been exploring different stand-up techniques and how to implement them to make sure we set up our punch lines right. I gave mimicking my best shot this week but I was chose my subject poorly. I decided to mimic my Canadian cousin who sounds exactly like me. I mean, I nailed the impression, which is what’s important here. 

From the first moment we met our comedy teacher, Mr C, we all knew we were in for a challenge. He didn’t crack a smile until nearly the end of the session, when Eva shared a story about her dad. From that moment on, the unwritten goal of each session is to get the stone-faced Mr C to laugh, with Eva reigning campion of last week, and Katie taking the lead this week with her impression of her dog Holly greeting her at the door. I think I speak for everyone when I say that I’m not fully recovered from that performance. I felt as if I was having some sort of out of body experience. 

But I digress. This week at comedy school I decided to talk about my family, and specifically experience when my happy family bubble was broken, and the dirty secrets began to seep up through the cracks of the family tree. I won’t expose my family in a SCAB, because exposing your family secrets to strangers online isn’t cool. Instead I’ll wait to expose them in front of 100 people at our showcase in a few weeks. My slightly dysfunctional distant family is a source of ongoing stress in my life, so I was shocked how easily I could talk about it in a room full of people. Comedy almost made the story easier to digest, and puts you back in control of the situation. Mr C did say that we can turn events like breakups, or being fired from a job in comedy really easy, because let’s be honest, looking back in hindsight there’s normally a bit of humour in everything. And I guess if you don’t laugh about something, you’ll cry. 

With classes like these, who needs therapy? 

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