PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Tuesday is World Suicide Prevention Day, and while the numbers are trending downward, an average of 22 veterans each day die by suicide. Now, a group of veterans is using comedy to bring the topic to the forefront.
“Laughter is an actual medicine,” comedian Derrick Eason says.
Comedy can be used to talk about any topic, including veteran suicide.
“That’s the risk I was willing to take. [They say] you’re doing a comedy tour about suicide? Yeah, because we need to talk about it,” Crystalle Ramey said.
Ramey is the host and producer of “The 22 Tour,” which is a comedy tour that is is making a stop at the Helium Club in Philadelphia on Wednesday night. This will be the sixth show in the nationwide tour.
The “22” refers to the number of veterans who die by suicide every day.
“One is too many. The fact that we can make people laugh and bring them into a good cause, kind of make it all come together,” comedian Anthony Crawford says.
All of the comedians are veterans. Crawford served four years in the Air Force, Ramey served five years in the Marine Corps and Eason, a local comedian, served four years in the Navy.
“Who can make Philadelphians laugh other than a Philadelphian? That’s a good question, because Philadelphians work you. Sometimes they laugh on the inside and sizing you up on the outside,” Eason said.
The Helium Club donated the space for the show, with 100% of the ticket sales going to the organization Stop Soldier Suicide.
Through laughter, they have helped raise nearly $20,000 for veteran suicide awareness.
“It’s how most comics are. We usually try to figure out a way to twist the dark and to make it funny,” Eason said.
“Laughter is healing and it elevates a very heavy topic,” Ramey added.
It’s a one-night only event for Philadelphia. For more information on Wednesday night’s show, click here.
The National Suicide Prevention hotline is 1-800-273-TALK or text “TALK” to 741741.