Frank King: The Mental Health Comedian with a Mission

Meet Frank King, the “Mental Health Comedian” and a 6-time TEDx speaker with a knack for turning personal pain into powerful comedy. Frank’s journey to the stage started young; by age 5, he already dreamed of becoming a comedian. After graduating from college, he pursued that dream by moving to the West Coast, launching his career in comedy.

Frank spent seven exciting years touring the country, opening for comedy legends like Rosie O’Donnell, Ellen DeGeneres, Steve Harvey, and Adam Sandler. His career took a turn toward corporate comedy, where he found a lucrative niche performing for business audiences.

However, Frank’s path wasn’t always smooth. His mental health challenges became particularly intense when he faced bankruptcy, leading to a diagnosis of depression and chronic suicidal ideation. Despite these struggles, Frank found a way to combine his comedic talents with a serious message, earning a spot on the TEDx stage. There, he brilliantly demonstrated how humor could bridge the gap in conversations about mental health.

Frank believes his mental health struggles are intricately tied to his creative genius as a comedian. Tragically, he has a family history of suicide, having lost both a grandmother and an aunt to it. He even had the heartbreaking experience of discovering one of their bodies. Frank’s story resonates with those of other notable figures like Robin Williams, Anthony Bourdain, and Kate Spade, who also wrestled with balancing their passions against the pressures of life.

Comedy is tragedy plus time. The longer a comedian practices their craft, the quicker they can turn tragedy into humor.

Beyond his own performances, Frank dedicates himself to teaching comedy and coaching aspiring TEDx speakers. He emphasizes the importance of using personal, funny anecdotes, particularly for those facing mental health challenges. Frank finds that neurodiverse individuals often possess unique perspectives that enhance their comedic creativity. He views mental illness not as a genetic flaw but as an extraordinary adaptation, echoing Malcolm Gladwell’s notion of a “desirable disadvantage.”

In his teachings, Frank encourages his students to transform their pain into passion, passion into purpose, and purpose into profit. It’s this cycle that fuels not just their comedy, but their overall success and well-being.

To delve deeper into Frank’s insights and humor, check out his website and his book, Guts, Grit, and the Grind: A Mental Mechanics Manual—a comprehensive guide to men’s mental health.

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