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10 Famous Comedians With Dark Sides You Didn’t Know About

5. Ruby Wax

She shot to our screens as a motor-mouthed whirlwind, interviewing Madonna with crotchless knickers on her head, helping Jim Carrey trash a hotel room and showing off the Duchess of York's underwear drawer. After writing for Not The Nine O'Clock News, Girls On Top and French And Saunders, as well appearing on Absolutely Fabulous, she became renowned for her boisterous and irrepressibly brash persona: but the comedian has (like many) been plagued with depression since childhood. Her parents were Jewish immigrants living in Chicago; a pair of raging neurotics. Her father expressed his rage in a domineering violent nature while her mother had extreme Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, covering every surface of the house in plastic. Wax grew up troubled, without friends, and extremely miserable... until she discovered the power of making people laugh. Discussing her stand up, she said: "I don't think you'd bother standing on the stage by yourself if you had a great home life. I don't know every comedian, but my hunch is something's not right. Something happened to make you want that attention, that hit." It's been a long time since Ruby was in the spotlight. A breakdown ensued when she fell out of fashion, landing herself in The Priory after giving birth to her third child, and she threw herself into studying neuroscience, speaking candidly about her mental illness ever since. When asked how she'd feel if an audience didn't laugh she answered: "If you had a sink, you would vomit. That's what it's like. Your insides are coming out. And then afterwards, the voices of suicide start coming in."
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Human woman. Content Manager at What Culture. Lover of many "ologies", punk rock and cats. My god is Ilúvatar. Follow me on Twitter: @nina_cresswell