“Kracking Up” Comedy Show Aims to Break Stigma Around Mental Illness - NAMI-NYC

“Kracking Up” Comedy Show Aims to Break Stigma Around Mental Illness

Kracking Up: A Crazy Night of Mental Health Comedy, produced by Michelle Hammer, will be on Saturday, May 13, 9:30 PM at Caveat in Manhattan. The comedy show, which aims to end the stigma surrounding mental illness, will feature a lineup of talented comedians, including Judy Gold, Dan Laitman, Sharon Simon, Kody Green, Rachel Star Withers, and Gabe Howard.  

Hammer received a grant from Janssen to put the show together. She hopes the event will break down the stereotypes associated with mental illness and provide a platform for people to talk openly about their experiences. “Comedy is a way to turn my past traumas into something positive,” Michelle shared. “Turning my stories into jokes is therapeutic. I love that I can make people laugh while also raising awareness about mental health.” Michelle was first introduced to NAMI-NYC as an Ending the Silence presenter, educating middle and high school students about mental health. She’s been a part of the NAMI-NYC community ever since.  

Michelle’s mental health advocacy is rooted in her own lived experiences. In high school, Michelle began to experience paranoid thoughts. When she went to college, the paranoid thoughts didn’t subside and she realized something was wrong. Michelle eventually sought help from the health center on campus and she went through several diagnosis before learning she had schizophrenia.  

Michelle launched mental health clothing brand Schizophrenic.NYC in 2015, when she started designing and selling t-shirts that promote mental health awareness. Since then, her business has grown beyond her imagination, shipping her products all over the world, including to the Netherlands, Lithuania, Australia, the UK, and even Guam. Michelle’s t-shirts are more than just a fashion statement. They are a way for her to speak to people and encourage them to talk about mental health. Many of her shirts feature messages that are conversation starters, like “It’s not a delusion. You are incredible.” 

Michelle is thrilled to produce Kracking Up and has a solid lineup, including two-time Emmy Award winning stand-up comedian Judy Gold. Like Michelle, Dan Laitman, Kody Green, and Rachel Star Withers draw upon their experiences living with schizophrenia. Sharon Simon uses humor to talk about borderline personality disorder. Gabe Howard is an award-winning speaker, author, and podcast host who lives with bipolar disorder. 

The show will take place on Saturday, May 13. Doors open at 9 pm and the show starts at 9:30 pm, at Caveat, 21A Clinton Street, Manhattan. Discounted early bird tickets are available here.  

If you’re a fan of comedy, check out NAMI-NYC’s almost 40 support and social groups, including Find Your Funny: www.naminyc.org/calendar