How to Face Uncomfortable Emotions With Comedian Paul Gilmartin

Paul Gilmartin

Verywell / Julie Bang

Every Monday on The Verywell Mind Podcast, Editor-in-Chief Amy Morin, LCSW, interviews experts, authors, entrepreneurs, athletes, musicians, and other inspirational people about the strategies that help them think, feel, and do their best in life.

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Meet Paul Gilmartin

Paul Gilmartin is a comedian. He was the longtime host of the TBS show Dinner and a Movie. He’s also appeared on Comedy Central, MTV, HBO, and VH1.

He’s now the host of a popular podcast called The Mental Illness Happy Hour. He interviews celebrities, experts, and everyday people about their trauma, mental illness, addiction, and negative thinking. 

Why Paul Gilmartin Is Mentally Strong

Beneath Paul’s humor was a darkness that he hid for many years. He struggled with depression and alcoholism.

He chose to get sober in 2003. And when he did, his depression treatment began to work.

He continues to talk about his depression and the steps he now takes to stay mentally healthy.

He launched his podcast as a way to help people feel less alone in their struggles. He says his podcast is like a psychiatrist’s “waiting room” where people can gather and learn from one another. 

What You’ll Hear on the Show

  • Why people with depression are often drawn to comedy
  • How compliments felt when Paul was battling depression
  • What it was like to “act funny” when feeling depressed
  • What made Paul decide to get sober
  • What happened to Paul’s depression when he quit drinking
  • The things that gave him hope in life
  • How Paul’s depression is treated
  • Why social support is vital to good mental health
  • The emotions everyone experiences
  • The power of prayer even if you don’t believe in God
  • How to start recognizing and changing your negative thinking patterns
  • Why you have to get outside your comfort zone to feel better

What You’ll Learn About Mental Health and Mental Strength

Sometimes, people have an image in their heads about what depression “looks like.” And Paul doesn’t fit that description.

He was a comedian with a successful TV show. He made other people laugh, and he looked like he was enjoying life from the outside.

But mental illnesses are often hidden. And just because someone doesn’t “look depressed” doesn’t mean they aren’t.

You also can’t tell whether someone is mentally strong simply by looking at them. While you might assume that person who exercises regularly is “self-disciplined,” they might actually have serious body image issues.

You never know what types of internal battles someone is facing. And Paul is proof that people often get really good at hiding their emotional struggles.

Quotes From Paul

Paul Gilmartin

I heard somebody say one time that comedy is a socially acceptable way of expressing anger. 

— Paul Gilmartin
  • Anxiety and depression are like the Skipper and Gilligan. You usually usually find them together.
  • The psychiatrist said to me, ‘I can't deal with your depression when you're pouring a depressant down your throat every night.’
  • Sitting in your recliner, obsessing about yourself, is not going to make your life better. 
  • The brain is neuroplastic and it can be rewired.

More About the Podcast

The Verywell Mind Podcast is available across all streaming platforms. If you like the show, please leave us a review on Apple Podcasts.

Reviews and ratings are a great way to encourage other people to listen and help them prioritize their mental health too.

By Amy Morin, LCSW, Editor-in-Chief
Amy Morin, LCSW, is the Editor-in-Chief of Verywell Mind. She's also a licensed clinical social worker, psychotherapist, and international bestselling author. Her books, including "13 Things Mentally Strong People Don't Do," have been translated into more than 40 languages. Her TEDx talk,  "The Secret of Becoming Mentally Strong," is one of the most viewed talks of all time.