Comedy festivals are the perfect antidote to a nasty breakup. Not only because laughing activates several different sections of the brain, strengthening neurons that lead to insight and emotional balance, but because so many comedians love to bitch about heartbreak. Like Morrissey records or the films of Charlie Kaufman, a standup comic unloading his self-loathing is a comforting thing to watch when you’re feeling like an unlovable jackass.
I was a few weeks into my own singledom when I flew to Chicago for the Just For Laughs Comedy Festival, so I was long past the Netflix and THC cookie dough binge phase of a breakup, yet still in the oxytocin (love hormone) withdrawal period that leaves you feeling pathetic and unhinged. Though a week of thinking and giggling with Bill Maher, Seth Meyers, Russell Brand and Denver’s Ben Roy (who did a staggering eight shows in three days) revived me into feeling like a considerably less desperate member of society.