Comedy is a true art that exists to make people laugh. Comedians are tasked with entertaining audiences with different personalities, mindsets, and opinions. It isn't an easy job. Or one that is known to pay well unless a comedian is really successful. Still, we all need to laugh and appreciate the brave souls with enough gall to tell jokes in front of a live audience. Even harder than telling jokes about the peculiarities of life is doing a whole show about something that clearly isn't a laughing matter.
Mara Marek, a comedian from New York City, created this challenge for herself and met it head-on. Mara is passionate about bringing awareness to, and wanting to end, domestic violence. She decided to embark on a cross-country bike tour to perform her brand of stand-up across the country. Along the way, she is teaming up with non-profits and other organizations that are just as committed to ending domestic violence as she is. Her goal is to raise a cool $1 million to aid in the prevention of abuse and the recovery of victims.
The Bike, Laugh, Heal comedy tour is designed to make people aware of this epidemic while giving them hope. Mara is a strong woman hoping to empower other strong women and inspire the women who don't feel so strong just yet. It'll also make you laugh your socks off because we all need that in our lives.
This global problem affects men, women, and children every single day. Any person being abused mentally, physically, sexually, or emotionally by a romantic partner is a victim of domestic violence. One in three women and one in four men have been physically abused in some form by a romantic partner. Young women between the ages of 18 and 24 are the biggest victims of this abuse.
Mara herself knows violence first hand. She grew up in a volatile household and was married to a man who could become abusive when he drank. She has used humor her entire life to deal with life's hard dealt hands. When any public figure simply talks about an issue, and says, "Hey, this happened to me too" it starts a conversation and releases some of the stigma associated with being a victim.
Abut now, you're probably wondering where the comedy comes in because this is some heavy stuff. But this is what Mara does. In addition to stand-up, she hosts a podcast titled Happy Never After that gets brutally honest about divorce. She has had three failed marriages and has been engaged seven times. Something that she laughs about because it is sort of funny....and impressive.
After her failed relationships, she started living on her terms which included becoming a comedian and confronting her demons with laughter. Now, as she bikes cross country performing for a good cause and making people laugh, we're grateful and in awe of her courage. It's powerful to see a woman directly taking on acts of violence that usually finds women as it's main victim. Women need to stick together and support each other. That's when it gets really fun.
Laughter is important for everyone but especially so for those either suffering from depression or illness/injury. Both of these can easily be caused by abuse.
The Bike, Laugh, Heal cross-country bike tour will end on October 25th in San Francisco. In the next few weeks, Mara will be spreading laughter in Illinois, Nebraska, Colorado, Utah, Nevada, and California. If you're in any of those states, be sure to check and see if she'll be nearby. Or if you're somewhere in between, maybe you'll see her biking around. Be sure to give her a wave. This woman is going places.