What was his experience like in the psychiatric ward? How did it influence the way he characterizes emotional disturbance? Think about why people who act “differently” could be seen as a threat to society. Besides being helpful for a comedian, can you think of other occupations that might be enhanced by mania or a bi-polar condition?
Why you should listen:
His eclectic combination of performance disciplines and activity as an educator in mental health has given Walters a national platform and audience. In 2002, Walters co-founded the DBSA (Depression Bipolar Support Alliance) Young Adults Chapter in San Francisco, one of the few support groups specifically for mentally ill young adults in the country. As a facilitator, Walters developed humor to address the subject of mental illness, reframing it as a positive. Walters speaks as a mental health educator and has engaged in mental health advocacy at conventions and in classrooms nationwide.
Who is he:
Joshua Walters is a comedian, poet, educator and performer. He incorporates elements of spoken word and beatbox into his shows in a mash-up of comedy, intimate reflection and unpredictable antics. In the last two years, Walters has performed at theaters and universities throughout North America, Europe and the Middle East.
- Instead of mental illness, why does Walters think of it as mental skillness?
- What do Christopher Columbus, Steve Jobs, and Mozart have in common?
- Indicate what it means to be “just manic enough”?
- He says that there is no such thing as mental illness (being crazy); it is just that some people are more sensitive than others. Write a defense for one side of this argument or the other and share your views with someone else. Ask them to agree or disagree with you and tell you why.