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Brody Stevens' tragic death put L.A.'s tight-knit comedy community on edge

  • The comedian's death by suicide in February shined a spotlight on the mental health struggles comedians face. One comedy club, the Laugh Factory, has tried to tackle the problem by employing an in-house psychologist for nearly a decade. "If there is a profession where it is kind of par for the course to have a mental issue, it is in this one," says Zach Galifianakis, who appeared with Stevens in The Hangover and produced his short-lived Comedy Central series Brody Stevens: Enjoy It! "I think good comedians are sensitive people. Brody certainly was." The Office's Rainn Wilson, who helped put together a documentary on comedians and mental health with Funny or Die in the wake of Stevens' death titled It's Not That Funny, adds: "The sad-clown, tortured-comic thing has a lot of truth to it, which is pretty much why everyone who makes comedy does so out of some pain that they've experienced. But it's important that aspiring young comics don't fall in love with their mental illness. You can be funny by being in recovery and healing. You don't have to be self-destructive to be funny."

    TOPICS: Brody Stevens, Rainn Wilson, Zach Galifianakis, Standup Comedy