“It’s so complicated being a human being,” says comedian Rich Hardisty, “but I’ve always been an oversharer, so it works well for everyone.”
Rich’s oversharing is what has brought him to this point; from being manically depressed and unable to leave his London flat for two years, to touring the country with his wildly successful new comedy show.
So successful in fact that SILLY BOY has received rave reviews, sold out at Soho Theatre and Edinburgh Fringe, and has a TV adaption in the pipeline.
Considering its content is enormously personal and often bleak, that’s quite a feat, but Rich doesn’t see what the fuss is all about. He sees all life as potentially comedic and that bringing the stigmas around mental health out into the open can only be beneficial.
“I’m an oversharer, it’s what I do. So this is ‘Me The Show’.”
And he should know – touching as he does on being locked up in a psychiatric unit, his eating disorder, being bi-polar, manic depressed and agoraphobic.
And how is he now? “Oh I’m still under the care of a team and constantly being monitored but I never want people to feel sorry for me. I’m brilliant,” he grins.
So how did he get here? “A comedian friend came round when I was in my flat and said I should think about doing a show, which sounds ridiculous considering the circumstances but I am very silly and idiotic.
“Yes I’ve got a lot of material to work with, But being a human being is a complicated business”
“So one night I invited a few people around and just began talking to them with a mic about my issues, but in a funny way, and it went from there. It was like a very gentle form of rehabilitation and my confidence just grew. It was very organic.”
Word soon spread and Rich was then invited to do a gig in Camden and was spotted by the promoter Mick Perrin who took him to Edinburgh Fringe, and it went from there: “I know it sounds extraordinary, but that’s what happened,” he smiles.
And does Rich mind sharing his deepest, darkest times with a room full of strangers? “No because it had to come out and it has really helped. It’s just me telling my truth and talking about what’s happened to me.”
“i almost wish people didn’t know about the contents of the show, because it puts them off. But honestly it’s very funny. People love it.”
And why is that funny? “I can’t explain it – it just is. I almost wish people didn’t know about the contents of the show, because as soon as they hear ‘bipolar’ or ‘eating disorder’ it puts them off. But honestly it’s very funny. People love it.”
“Once I realised it’s difficult for everyone, that we have less control over our own minds than we think, or what we choose to believe, it helped. We should all be more gentle to ourselves and to others.
But being so public must be a struggle for someone recently so reclusive? “No, Edinburgh was amazing and one of my favourite gigs was in a working men’s club up North. What can I say? I’m an oversharer, it’s what I do. So this is Me The Show and SILLY BOY is keeping me sane in every sense of the word.”
“SILLY BOY is keeping me sane in every sense of the word”
As for the next show, Rich is writing it as we speak and features coming out of a psychiatric unit and going to the US to find his biological father during a manic episode.
“Yes, I’ve got a lot of material to work with,” he grins, “but as I’ve already said – being a human being is a complicated business.”
Rich Hardisty’s SILLY BOY is at OFS on Thursday April 27. Book here https://oldfirestation.org.uk/whats-on/richard-hardisty-silly-boy/