Jim Norton: 'Comics Are Always Looking to Escape'

The comedian believes that being funny is often a response to sadness.
5:03 | 08/12/14

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Transcript for Jim Norton: 'Comics Are Always Looking to Escape'
Joining us now is another comedian. And -- -- Norton he's joining us now via sky eight. He was a friend of -- and Williams and who has a very interesting opinion piece today on time dot com titled. Why the funniest people are sometimes the saddest. -- and we just heard the sheriff the court -- tell us that Robin Williams. Likely died of this -- here from hanging what is your instant reaction that. Welcome -- just instincts in me was that they said it could cut marks here. And as somebody who's been depressed and anybody who's been depressed and tired knows that you're probably an automatic stay and you just thinking anything to get you -- -- you realize that cutting is going to be a very painful way to do it. Almost being -- -- and hanging seems to be the most she's away. That make sense and also gives you a moment to get out of it if you want to. That's what I was struck by the fact that he sat -- -- tried something else ours it's just it's terror. -- can tell us how -- met Robin Williams at the beginning of your career. -- eight years in comedy and performing comedy sellers and they said that Robin was coming in. And I imagine the article genes never wanna act contrast with -- comedian -- try to act you know -- plus we don't care. But doubt we are all excited and he came in and he did this -- It was really sweet to all the comics you know Robin didn't have to do ours he could -- -- And not ask anybody and not been courteous and you don't make it Portugal and saw the guy whose owner Bob you know he might want you -- He was extremely humble alone and he was like -- -- all comedians I don't know what. Level of the latter Iran -- -- it really gentle. -- -- -- -- -- -- on time dot com that you're personally known at least eight comedians who have committed suicide. I can't ask a lot of people -- in your life that have gone and ended their lives that way. -- -- what is the correlation there. Well I think that you don't most comedians have something wallet doesn't and I -- almost affectionately you know we're either. Alcoholics or drug addicts or sex addicts it's almost like you know comics always looking to escape. That's why they become -- -- comedy is you know making people act as a great way to escape and it's a great response. To feeling sick. I -- looked at being fun music as a response to sadness. And -- -- usually let us and Richard Pryor tried to set himself on fire and who is funnier than and he was. So it almost seems like in many cases -- -- -- person is if you look behind them. The the Nadine -- -- -- are -- they came from and I think that's always true but I noticed that. In a lot of tremendously funny people as they come from a very very dark place -- -- not being funny they can slip into a very dark place. -- -- -- Then what you know about. Sometimes the correlation between very funny people on the struggles that they have in their lives. Behind the scenes at the rest of us aren't always aware of were you surprised at all. When you heard about the death of Robin Williams in the way that he died. -- you're always surprised because you know -- -- -- of strange person you know he's been famous and since I was ten years -- and enjoy it apart her life. You know the culture. But as an alcoholic or that you're you're never -- 100%. -- When somebody does that just because being so you're seeing so many people do it and you know that nobody is beyond. Actually tell anybody you know. Who thinks that material -- will say you you know Robin had you know use electronic guy and gotten started -- And she had money at all things that you think would make a person happy. But that just doesn't do it it's not necessarily -- You know if you don't -- -- yourself so yeah I'm surprised. -- dog on you know the other part of me just -- that it's always possible somebody's. So Jim what is it that you think that we as a society we as family members and friends -- comedians and others who are struggling with depression. Can possibly learn or take away from the death of Robin Williams. Well I think it's harder for most people are comedians because at least we had an outlet. If you know people who are going through all of this suggestion actually given and he seems right. Is to encourage them to get. Helped us you know there's an old expression. If somebody is. Ready can't say anything wrong and if they're not ready can't see anything right. So lucky that you could -- suggest that thing over -- try to do what you -- but you know. So that people you know in your life may be suffering silently. Going to a job they hate each and they had no ability to dance so -- -- you know I would say just try to be supported and helped them in. I wish I had a more profound things senator -- very -- can -- here. Definitely some important vice mayor Jim Norton thank you so much for joining us this afternoon we appreciate it. Thank you very much.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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