Dark, Funny and Fringe

By Madge Slack

Welcome to today’s Fringe update, featuring some darker topics and how they play out (pun intended) with comedy.

My Suicide Note

This comedy show by Collin Williams has seen 44 drafts and been all over the world. It is based on the author’s suicide note following an attempt to end his own life. In fact, there have been four other suicide attempts since the first draft. However, this show is not a downer. When Williams submitted his work to TEDxSaltLakeCity, it was basically a sticky note saying “suicide jokes.” Now, you are probably asking yourself: “what is funny about suicide?” Williams said, “It’s not necessarily making fun of people killing themselves. When you are in the middle of trying to kill yourself you are not really thinking rationally.” This is where the humor lies, and for a lot of comedians the stage is where they have a space to work through irrational and self-destructive emotions. Williams even conducted a survey and found “about 76% of comedians suffer from mental illness. Those that take medication find that being onstage helps more.”

It not only helps the comedians, but it can help those suffering in silence as well. Williams explained, “I think anyone that lives in Salt Lake has seen or been at dinners where people don’t really talk about real things. With something as personal as suicide, speaking up and having that deep discussion can be what helps them get help.” This show has been popular everywhere it has shown and according to Williams he has found more and more people feel a connection to this content and want to reach out to him than ever before.

This show contains strong language and discussions of suicide, child molestation, household abuse, violence and religious schism. Yet, Williams said, “I don’t cover politics, I cover suicide and somehow that’s less depressing.” Don’t miss “My Suicide Note” where you’ll laugh, cry and maybe reveal a little bit of your very soul.

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We have all wondered what goes on inside the minds of people who commit acts of mass violence. This play endeavors to understand by following He, who has just committed a mass shooting. Can murders be redeemed by something so simple as an explanation?

Behind these Walls

This show is self-written by the performers and will resonate with anyone who has ever felt hurt and unloved. Incompleteness, fear, anger and loneliness are human emotions we all face. Explore them together in a moving and powerful piece.

The Ballad of Emotional Incompetence

This piece will explore the feelings, emotions and memories of its creator, Dat Nguyen. Explore absences and live memories with missing parts. You might even discover a piece of yourself, missing or there.

The Secret Son of Hitler

This piece claims to be opened by “recently escaped lunatics,” which only makes it more enticing in my opinion. It also promises laughter and mayonnaise. Who knows if that will be a good combo?

The Eulogy

This piece is an eight-time internationally award-winning play. Is it good? Let’s find out. This comedy about death features some really bad speeches at a rather appropriate event.

Turn to Page 93

What will you find there? Existentialism. Take a moment to explore narrative and give up some of your preconceptions. Maybe you will learn something, just don’t expect it to be true.

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