Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Laughter is the Best Medicine on Knowledge Network

Time sensitive

Laughter is the Best Medicine on Knowledge Network
Cracking Up! premieres Monday, January 28 at 9 p.m.

From the first fumbles of the microphone, to their one-on-one performances in front of the mirror, to their sold out graduation show at one of Vancouver's biggest theatres, Cracking Up! takes viewers on a quirky journey through the unique perspectives of some remarkable people.

Cracking Up! follows the story of 11 courageous people who stand up for their mental health – literally! Using laughter as a form of therapy, Vancouver counselor and comedian David Granirer trains these individuals, who suffer from mental illnesses such as schizophrenia,
obsessive-compulsive disorder, and manic depression, to confront their problems through stand-up comedy. While learning to laugh at themselves, they get to share their stories and address public stigma with an audience that has a lot to learn about mental disorders.

Giving a face to mental illness, this documentary introduces audiences to inspiring individuals, such as Michael Warren who has both bipolar disorder and attention deficit hyperactive disorder. Michael couldn't speak properly until he was a teenager, but it hasn't deterred him from his dream to become a stand-up comedian. Likewise, Paul Decarie suffered traumatic injury to his brain and spine after falling off a second story balcony when he was two years old, but he too is determined to attain a career as a professional actor and stand-up comedian. Eufemia Fantetti has battled clinical depression for most of her life, yet she is striving to find her long lost sense of humour. Sufferer of schizophrenia, Robbie Engelquist uses his creativity and the unusual voices inside his head as inspiration for his jokes. Each of their stories provokes viewers to reevaluate their perceptions and biases towards people with mental illness.