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


Jun 19

The (Un)Enlightenment and What it Means to be Modern

Taught by Lev Moscow
7:30 p.m. at Living Room

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Jun 20

Believing is Seeing

Taught by Briana Toole
7:30 p.m. at Berg'n

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Jun 22

OlioHouse | Breaking Bread: An Olio Salon Dinner

Taught by Brian Lewis
2 p.m. at OlioHouse | Wassaic, NY

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Jun 23

Female Power and Desire in Shakespeare after #MeToo

Taught by Christina Katopodis
1 p.m. at Threes Brewing // Greenpoint

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Jun 25

The Artist in an Alternative World

Taught by Ward Regan
7:30 p.m. at Nowadays

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Jun 25

OlioTour | Federal Hall & African Burial Ground

Taught by Jamie Warren
6 p.m. at Federal Hall

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Jun 26

Jun 27

The Long History of Selfie Culture

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

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Jun 29

OlioHouse | Happiness & Hedonism Weekend

Taught by Skye Cleary
2 p.m. at OlioHouse | Wassaic, NY

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Jul 7

Museum Trip | 'The 80s Show' Private Tour

Taught by Charles Riley
2 p.m. at Nassau County Museum of Art

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Jul 13

OlioHouse | The Power of Ego, The Stillness of Spirit

Taught by Michael Haltenberger
2 p.m. at OlioHouse | Wassaic, NY

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Jul 25

Frida's Fragrance: Art, Scent, & Persona

Taught by Jessica Murphy
7:30 p.m. at The William Vale Hotel

Sign Up - $20

Sep 19

OlioTrip | Cienfuegos, Cuba

Taught by Teresita Levy
10 a.m. at Cienfuegos, Cuba

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