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Painfully Funny

Update: 2017-03-2410
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Humans have a capacity to laugh even in the hardest of times. This hour, TED speakers describe how they use humor as a weapon and a shield, to ward off doubt, discrimination, and even depression.

Following script is auto-generated by Speech to Text Technology:

support for Ted Radio Hour and the following message come from Wells Fargo imagine what you can do with the right business credit visit Wells Fargo works for information on how to achieve financial success for your business learn more at Wells Fargo works dot com slash credit member FDIC equal Housing lender this the is the Head Radio Hour each week groundbreaking Ted talks the Technology Design at Stanford Ted conferences around the world gift of the human had to believe in impossible the true nature of reality beckons just beyond those talks those ideas adapted for radio NPR the ocean deep this is guy rise the way of that for the I'm fine thanks for joining us this is Sandy tax big and she's a comedian sentences can people they'd love to talk about the feelings that they won't last us the waitress at breakfast I suppose that only the news that this person says How you they don't want to know it's awkward and intrusive right yes so I don't and I really do with that said he's been a fixture on TV and radio in the UK for more than twenty years starting with a British children's series in the eighties called Number seventy three if you see the the FDA said he was also a regular on all kinds of comedy shows like call my bluff mock the Week and whose Line Is It Anyway the beautiful herb the days and he's the host of a BBC show called Q I What choice does the play's interesting and it's full of information that you really are awesome new names for things but can you tell me what any of them all around Tesco is having on the battlefield current phase is we take a selfie but you have a Bell uh somewhat old photo views of the three ghosts yet the Texas and is in front of the camera but off screen she's had as slightly more serious role as a political activist and it all started with something that happened back in nineteen ninety four when Sandy came out publicly and there was a single out gay woman in British public life is ready TV then on the radio so I just thought this is not right if nothing vision of me all turned out a lot of other people he didn't feel the same way because remember this was nineteen nineties Sandeep except the story from the Ted stage ll ll everybody has inside themselves like an activation button okay it's the press when you think I must do something about this that gets pressed for all sorts of reasons so I was born gay they have always known I visit my family with the least bit surprised so my activation button was pressed when I had my kids born into my then partner so I decided to come aft at every woman that I would never walk again but I decided it was absolutely worth the risk when it was hell as in Britain we have a particularly vicious section of the right wing press and they went nuts and that hatred stirred up the less stable elements of society and we got death threats enough to threats that I had to take the kids into hiding and we had to have police protection and I promise you there were many moments in the still of the night when I was terrified by what I have done that Sandy found that even in those moments of darkness sometimes the way that she found the light was to just laugh about it when we laugh out loud and we realize that there are others who think the same as us that we feel better maybe it encourages us to keep going and not just sit home and lock the door and think I'm not going out till this is over the show today painfully funny ideas about my humor is often the most powerful tool we have been dealing with pain crisis than the general chaos that life throws our way the first anti toxic humor was the sort of a way to make sense of thanks was a really long time and if that has ever affected me even if I was talking about that cake making and lesbians wow I didn't really see how that's relevant ok yes you become the days to express and hello again we took that British feelings prevailed bit of time nobody really wants to talk about them so horrified that I had been so upfront about it so in a way as it was not any questions at all because they did the polls it's somebody was me out had children or children seem to have just one hit each and perfectly happy to Mr will have to say that my kids had a most modest of having two moms and my daughter was in the sea she flew him by his mom's rushed to be with her and we were both looking after her and making soup and tidy up in one of her friends came and went to Mom's not fade away and did it have a negative effect on your career at all for any period of time should show I last left the show and was told that I could possibly host certain she is and that it was would be appropriate I wonder whether I mean you describe what happened after you came out and them this long period of fear and an obviously must've been quite painful to endure that and how were you able to withstand it I mean what it's tough to get the threats it just means no phone that you have to storm for the things that you believe in u haf to stay strong in science and I I don't know how else you do it a tale of certain of is able to t shirt and when I was lost in America that said I stand on the right side of history and you have to believe that I genuinely believe that equality for everybody is better for the whole of society so after coming out and dealing with everything that came with at Sandy's activation button was pressed again in twenty fifteen this time for women's rights we decided to found a brand new political party has is the critical thing the one place women and men are absolutely equal is at the ballot box K had no idea how complicated it was to start a political policy I thought it can't be that difficult Mina been doing it for the As said we started by calling it the Women's equality Party gay and straight away people's ads may want to call it that I don't know I just thought we'd be clear I'm the but I did what we were doing to be a secret to us the go that much to feminist scary world of the I got tell you how many times I've heard somebody say I am not a feminist blocks was to give as a button the sentencing on all the roses in the garden and getting us the hilarious question only will going to burn your bras yes because browse a famously made of flammable material that's why ol' women's spa when they wore the blue the good how are you able to react that way like how are you able to joke about things other people might just pull their hair out and get really angry that seemed to explode with anger I think yeah I think that was given of intention is to not do that and not a fear like some raging person who wants to burn around with the because actually I'm not like that I'm a perfectly normal sensible human being who wants to try make the place I'm very interested and I keep an eye here in the UK if the big increase in ratings that seems to be a late night shows that are using as a weapon in the current political situation I think this is the way forward and nothing is more disarming to critique the new finding them funny yet one hundred Day Pool Party whose aim is to get equality for Women the Women's equality Party why did she pretend and holding the pink and black party is wrong with him and Sister letter is also in life is full of things that we believed to be true when John Knox true no woman ever been to broaden the sixties was made up by a journalist I even looked it up on the internet and I could not find anything in about what happened was I to hold your mind I am still young is anything that was a time when the Vietnam people who didn't want and seven the Vietnam War but the draft comments yeah and that idea was conflicted with the protests were held the Miss America contest at the deed crown machine miss America is funny but nobody seems to mind the fact that I would like to see pieces like this a thing like I suspect that you don't sit around and consciously think I am going to use humor to advance my ideas but they just sort of your temperament is a crisis is absolutely and I think of to keep smiling bad things happen in the world lessons about things like everyday I think really this is happening now it is so heartbreaking and so appalling that the only thing I think you can do is you have to start combating it with activism also was remembering that we human beings we have a sense of humor I don't see any other way for it frankly because if you just said what about those things you would just solve the the the normal wild for example women have equal representation in positions of power a very quick look at the top one hundred companies in the London Stock Exchange in twenty six to one hundred companies how many women running the seven the US or ice wasn't the eyes that seventeen mile run by men cool Joan uh the old John running the company is the all women therefore team run by men pulled a scene that showed Dave and Joan doing a bang up job okay why does it matter so well it's that pesky business of the gender pay gap or gay know in the world do women earn the same as men and that is never going to change unless we have more women at the top in the boardroom with the most are the equal Pay Act in Britain was passed in nineteen seventy five nevertheless there are still many who from early November until the end of the Year by comparison to their male colleagues are effectively working for free in fact the World Economic Forum estimates that women will finally get equal pay in the The The The The The The The and all the examples that you've given your talk like more companies are run by Dave's or Johns for women who run companies indeed it would be funnier if it wasn't so depressing to go but Abdullah pointed out that life is this is has many amusing sides to this have to say Mr. Trump bless him has been a boon frankly a boon to satirist so well so it could be depressed you could just find the funny side and eyes so it makes me smile I have to say when I say something and I can see can go a bit mixed but it makes me laugh till it is the Greek drama masks with tragedy and comedy and they stood side by side in the Greeks knew that we should know that that in the midst of despair that we are still human and and a sense of humor and a good laugh is one of things that makes us human the love the bridge together I think this was an official US life and I had some other people laughing together a little even know each other but with the birds going about why it's so just keep going for the the eighty s anti tax big she hosts a show Q I on the BBC and Sky co host the next season of The Great British bake Off later this year you can hear people talk and had the outcome the show did a painfully funny guy rise and you're listening to the Ted Radio Hour from NPR to have on just a quick thanks to two of our sponsors who help make this podcast possible first to Wells Fargo imagine what you can do with the right business credit from expanding your business to increasing your inventory and buy equipment Wells Fargo works can help you achieve financial success for your business discover online tools and resources to help your business thrive at Wells Fargo work stuck on Wells Fargo together will go far member FDIC equal Housing lender thanks also to stamp stuck on You stamps that come to automatically calculate and print the correct amount of postage for every letter or package you sent all the services of the U S Postal Service right at your fingertips I imprint official US postage for any letter or package using your own computer sign up for stamps dot com for a special offer a four week trial plus postage and a digital scale staff at com click on the microphone to enter in PR staff at com ever go to the post office again it's the Ted Radio Hour from NPR guy rise and should a painfully funny ideas about how humor can make uncomfortable things a little easier to deal with the I don't like doing re thereafter by Amazon totally in control really because I have a face for TV not radio that's true this is Mason's I it she's a standup comedian and Florian ever something fun from now the reason why my sin is a little self conscious about doing radio is because of a disability she has which in her standup routine she tackles head on her she is on the Ted stage I may soon say it I am not drunk but the doctor who delivered me was he caught my mom fix different times in six different directions suffocating follow me in the process as a result I have cerebral palsy which means I shake all the time look it's exhausting I'm like sick here see Kira meets Mohammad Ali Fifi is not genetic it's not a birth defect you can't catch it no one put a curse on my mother's uterus and I didn't get it because my parents are first cousins which they are the it only happens from accidents like what happened to me on my birthday now I must warn you I'm not inspirational I don't want anyone in this room to feel bad for me because at some point in your life you have dreamt of being disabled come on a journey with me it's Christmas Eve here at the mall you're driving in circles looking for parking and what do you see sixteen empty handed of the year like Hyde can I just feel a little disabled also I gotta tell you I'm not a ninety nine problems and holy is just one the There was a sign of oppression Olympics I would win the gold medal I'm Palestinian Muslim I'm female I'm disabled and the New Jersey the and the remember when I go remember watching her talk in the audience and you saw it live young that's our car so when you came out and you started to talk the audience was like kind of uncomfortable right because you were talking about how you shake like secure an end but within just a few seconds you were able to disarm the entire mass of room for people by just kind of putting people at ease which is that something you consciously or are you aware that initial something they do naturally because of man stand up comedian for fifteen years and when I started doing standup comedy I was in New York City clubs like the middle of the night just like begging to get five minutes of stage time and I didn't have time fer audiences to be shy or uncomfortable with me so it's just part of who I am as a comedian is that I get out there I get the fact that I have a disability out of the way on and I think because I move on and strong funny relate able way people are able to move on with me because I think most people like the idea of making fun of a disability it's uncomfortable when I use to that do you think so because I mean this really has been mocked mercilessly throughout stand up comedy on characters on TV and this bow is made fun of all the time I think what they're not use to saying as someone with a disability whose proud yeah I'm ashamed and talking about it in a way that they've never heard before but we have been moth because like even someone like me who meant so I get all the way through high school without ever being mocked or bully when I became a performer became pretty commonplace for people to do that to me the white people with CP don't walk but my parents didn't believe in Cannes my father's mantra was You can do it yes you can can the soul of my three older sisters or mop and I was mopping my three older sisters went to public school my parents would sue the school system and guarantee the I went to and if we didn't all get A's we all got my mother's slipper the wife of a time and I walk when I was five years old by placing my heels on his feet and just walking another tactic that he uses he would dangle a dollar bill in front of me the Chase said my inner stripper was very strong in my know by the first day of kindergarten I was walking like a champ who had been punched one too many times the the social when you're a kid I mean personally describe like the leaves are five you were able to walk right I was able to walk at five I had to be able to walk in order to be mean streamed into public school and I'm my father worked day and night to teach me how to walk I think what's so amazing about this is the fact that he was told that I would never walk and he decided that he was going to try it what did you realize that you are funny so my dream in life was beyond Omaha so I didn't die was funny I went to college for drama and then I came back to New York City started auditioning realize no one was hiring me and I had a conversation with an amazing acting coach and she said to me Why don't you do a one woman show that way you can stand out and I started looking at things like that and who did I see I saw Whoopi Goldberg and Lysol what would be Goldberg didn't saw like how she used comedy I was like Wait a minute when I look at my TV the people who look like me are all comedians Richard Pryor you know Al and Rosie O'Donnell goes with the people who were not typically beautiful possibly had this ability you know how different races like Margaret Cho and I felt like comedy was how I could break through the fact that I was another and still get on TV and so I signed up for comedy class and it worked out because I had no idea I was funny and it turned out on his staff is interesting because like all these comedians at the mention I mean they dealt with their demons or other challenges to humor right in India I mean do you see yourself doing that in your carry the same way I mean do you see yourself is almost like kind of an advocate for people with disabilities or for Arabs and Muslims as well I've never tried to be an activist or an advocate I was telling my own story and just by telling my own story I was controversial I was telling people things they didn't know and this started post nine eleven A New York City my friend and I founded the New York American Comedy Festival to counter the negative images of Arabs and media and we always made sure that the comedy came first so we want a bunch of Arabs trying to be funny we were a bunch of comedians who just happen to be of Arab heritage and you know sometimes i just wanna talk about beyond say I name my cat be on sale and people like you got guys that was the poly you know I like but I really just went on the Beyond say the cap so it gets exhausting having to constantly battle but I feel like more than ever in my life it's important now I do battle because having grown up with you know one foot in Jersey and one foot in Middle East I'm really worried about where we are right now in this country and when I did the Ted talk I didn't know how important was this a Muslim in front of everyone I really thought it was the disability that was game be the thing that I was championing the the going out there only six errors in my town and they were on life and uh now there are twenty hours in town then they are still on my family who Wyoming game we were in Italian the lose lose before nine eleven before politicians thought it was appropriate to use I hate Moslems as a campaign slogan the people I grew up with had no problem with my faith they did however seem very concerned that I would starve to death during Ramadan I would explain to them I have enough fat to live over for three whole months so fasting from sunrise to sunset is a piece of cake the I spent my summers in a war zone because my parents were afraid they are pleading go back to Palestine every single summer we drove to the Madonna the the summer vacations often consisted of my father trying to heal me so I I drank years milk I had hot cups on my bad eyes and dunked in the Dead Sea and I remember burning my eyes and thinking its word the word the the the M T think ultimately that comedy can change people's minds I think Gary has we've seen for generations comedy taking the risks that no one else would whether it was Will and Grace mainstream in the LGBT community on primetime TV or you know black ish right now I think comedy is the easiest most reliable way to tell people things they don't want to hear you know early what you're saying that you didn't set out to be an activist or advocate I mean you sometimes end up changing people's minds right right so like I've never been like OK for men talk about Palestine Israel and how people deserve equality regardless of faith I have to use comedy because otherwise people are going to get defensive it's more like I can tell a joke about when I was strip searched I'm not really thinking about like this is the best way to deliver this message I'm thinking about this is a really funny story I'm totally and get them to laugh and then it's usually not tell after the show were my oh my god someone just came out to me and said they didn't know that Palestinians were people they thought it was the name of a terror group and it's like it's always afterwards that I realize I've shaken someone's ground it's never my intention to go out and do that my only intention is make them laugh get on General Hospital when in and the That's my sins I can hear her full talk at Ted that count ok so Mason was just saying that she's not a comedian and activist you basically use comedy as like your form of activism the company is like the best tool for that just opens people up and what makes comedy so effective is that if you're making them laugh along the way they're going to listen to the deeper cut stuff this is Nadine far side also a standup comic begins the daughter of Iranian immigrants and the kid her parents would regale her with stories about life during the Iran Iraq war specifically the unusual way they got through bombing raids and he talked about how they were going to base man and how they would turn on the candle was and how they would block out all the windows and they would be like always and we would play cards play charades storage and then we hear a bomb that would worry that was our neighbor you know and hand many of the agape and so I think the human capacity he you know it the way and humans get through these really terrible times is by flipping the script on themselves yeah actually it kind of lets you take the story back into your own hands the team's own turn at flipping the script happened when she was in college right after September eleventh and the start of a wave of Islamophobia and it started becoming clearer and clearer that is love Love is one of those things is not going away I kept thinking like well will be will hate Muslims for like a few months and then whilst the reason reasonable project or a poem and it could have never stopped you know and then in a felt like a cottage you know I had a voice in that my voice as American Muslim was not something that the average American has already heard and so he decided that the best way to disarm the haters was to make them laugh and that's been the goal is just that and you know if you have never had a Muslim friend I may be my stupid face can be your Muslim friend again does this through what she calls social justice comedy and how it works well here's my jeans explanation from the Ted stage the population can be broken up into three main categories there's mostly wonderful people all haters and Florida the most troubling category here are the haters as a social justice comedian it's my goal to convert these haters because they hate a lot of things which lead to negative outcomes like racism violence and Ted Nugent on the play is we have to reckon with the haters but there's variance within this group and it's not efficient ago after all of them right so what done is I've created a highly scientific taxonomy of haters they basically took all the haters I put them in a Petri dish like a scientist and this is what I found the first of the trolls the people who have quit their job so that they can post on YouTube videos all day long on the I ride by haters now these people will be at a stoplight the way for light to turn green when it does they help the country what the group I'm most interested in is the swing hater
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