TED Radio Hour: Painfully Funny

On this week's show, TED speakers describe how they use humor as a weapon and a shield, to ward off doubt, discrimination, and even depression.

When comedian and TV host Sandi Toksvig came out as gay in the early 90s, she used humor to recover from the onslaught of vitriol. Today, she says, humor can help bring about social change.

Maysoon Zayid teases herself for all the ways she's different: she has cerebral palsy, she's Muslim, she's Palestinian. By making us laugh at it, she gets us to think about acceptance

Comedian Negin Farsad traveled all over the U.S. to clear up misconceptions about Islam while making people laugh. She calls this form of activism "social justice comedy."


The image of the "sad clown" can seem like a cliche. But for Kevin Breel, it's very real. He describes how he struggled with depression while performing as a standup comedian