If there were a lifetime laugh meter, Ruby Wax would register into the billions by now. She’s a native of Illinois but a star of British comedy – the Royal Shakespeare Company, a BBC comic legend, collaborations with Alan Rickman, and editor of the television series "Absolutely Fabulous."
But she also suffers from severe clinical depression. She’s made even that the subject of her witty one-woman show called "Still Out of Her Mind." The show takes the audience through the ups and downs of mental illness, and the stigmas associated with depression. And finally the freedom that can be found when you share life's darkest moments.
About five years ago Ruby became the poster girl for mental illness. She didn’t actually go for the role, she was "outed" by Comic Relief. They asked to take a photo of her for their Mental Health campaign. She assumed it was going to be a small picture instead there were suddenly enormous posters of her all around London with the words, “This woman has mental illness, please help her.” She was mortified. She tried to cover up the first one she saw but realized they were everywhere. So she wrote a one-woman show about mental illness and turned her image into publicity poster. If you have a disability, why not use it?
She went on to perform the show she created for two years in Mental Health institutions. They loved it — even though they weren’t always facing her direction. She jokingly says, “If you can make a schizophrenic laugh you’re half way to Broadway.”
"Still Out of Her Mind" wraps up this weekend at the Broad Stage in Santa Monica, but not before Ruby Wax has a few words with Patt Morrison.