‘Laughter is medicine’: Ryan McMahon on using comedy to deconstruct stereotypes

Anishinaabe comedian and storyteller Ryan McMahon shares personal stories and twists stereotypes in a way that makes his audience laugh and think at the same time.

Laughter, he suggested, has healing power.

“There’s that old saying that laughter is medicine, and we tend to leave the conversation there. I don’t like that. I think laughter is medicine, I think laughter makes us feel good.

“There’s this idea that, well, Native people are oppressed and so we use comedy as a tool to make ourselves feel better. That’s probably true. But it’s also so much more for us and so I always try to point out to folks that it’s also inherently who we are.”

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Ryan McMahon: Fighting for Indigenous youth, shining a light on a broken system

McMahon stopped in Whitehorse while touring the country for Season 9 of his Red Man Laughing podcast.

“It’s described as an arts and culture podcast,” he said. “We like to support emerging artists and emerging voices and sort of be the one that people can look to to learn about what’s next, what’s coming in Indian Country. The show started as a comedy podcast then Idle No More hit, and then it became a depression podcast and it’s evolved through time.”

After the stop in Whitehorse, the acclaimed podcast will see McMahon travel to more cities and communities to spread the laughter.

Reporter / Whitehorse

Chris was born in Toronto but has lived all over Canada. He moved to the Yukon in 2009 where he lived and worked in Dawson City. Chris’s background is in radio broadcasting and he has worked with CFYT 106.9, CBC Yukon, and CHON FM as a host and show producer. Chris joined APTN News in May.