Buddhist Realism and Dark Comedy: It's Funny Because It's True


The Buddha is believed to have taught that the fundamental nature of the human condition is suffused with feelings of existential angst and abiding dissatisfaction. Such realism is not exclusive to Buddhism, however. As any dark comedian knows this already because making jokes about the reality of life usually gets big laughs, or as they say in the business—“kills.” Like the Buddha, the comic can be a powerful medium for communicating the more disquieting and shunned truths in life.

Join me in a provocative conversation on the merits of dark comedy as a vehicle for embracing the truth of the human condition. We’ll watch video clips of comedians like Louis C.K., Tig Notaro, and Andy Kaufman. And we’ll discuss why I believe that both Buddhism and dark comedy offer a kind of therapy for eliminating the existential anxiety that comes from being the kind of animal that lives with the knowledge of their own inexorable death.


Recommended reading from Penguin Press:

The Trauma of Everyday Life by Mark Epstein, MD

“Epstein’s book is a guide to viewing trauma realistically, not striving to avoid it or even suss out its cause, but use it as a means of understanding “the texture” of our own suffering. If, as the Buddha said, life is suffering, why not suffer wisely?”

—Nancy Haught, The Portland Oregonian  




Location: Strand Bookstore

828 Broadway, New York, NY 10003

The Rare Book Room at Strand Bookstore boasts an elegant venue for our Friday night residency.




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Other upcoming Olios


Mar 27

Urban Development: From Reconstruction to Gentrification

Taught by Lauren Hudson
7:30 p.m. at Berg'n

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Mar 28

Catfishing: The Artist as Trickster in Factual Fictions

Taught by Ted Barrow
7:30 p.m. at Blender Workspace

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Mar 29

Self-Love or Narcissism?

Taught by Skye Cleary
7 p.m. at Strand Bookstore

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Mar 30

Scenius Summit 2019: Apiary Book Launch

Taught by No Professor Weekend
noon at OlioHouse | Wassaic, NY

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Apr 5

OlioMuse | Beethoven's Minor Mood

Taught by Gil Harel
7 p.m. at Strand Bookstore

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Apr 7

Olio Breakfast Club | Death & Bagels on a Sunday Morning

Taught by Jeanne Proust
10:30 a.m. at North 3rd St. Market - Williamsburg

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Apr 9

Madame(s) X: Muses, Makers, & Shifting Identities

Taught by Ted Barrow
7 p.m. at Strand Bookstore

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Apr 13

OlioHouse | Music & The Feast for Senses

Taught by Whitney George
noon at OlioHouse | Wassaic, NY

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Apr 23

The Death of Art, The Rise of Image

Taught by Vishwa Adluri
7 p.m. at Strand Bookstore

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Apr 27

OlioHouse | Found Poetry: Composting Words

Taught by Heather O'Neill
noon at OlioHouse | Wassaic, NY

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May 29

Composing Beauty: Mapplethorpe’s Quest for Perfection

Taught by Jeanne Proust
7 p.m. at BAM Fisher

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