"Inside, You Have Infinite Power" - Lessons From An Anti-Bullying Comedian
"Why not come over to the site of joy, happiness, love, and laughter?" is how the comedian ANT invites us into his world. It's a world that ANT had to work very hard to create, but now that he has, he wants everyone to choose kindness over cruelty and light-hearted jokes over mean-spirited insults.
ANT is a stand-up comedian who has appeared on multiple seasons of the NBC show Last Comic Standing. But just because it's his job to make people laugh now doesn't mean that his past is at all a laughing matter. Throughout his adolescence, school bullies picked on ANT because he was open about his homosexuality.
"I was tortured in school," he recounts in one onstage bit. "I would be stuffed in garbage bags. I was thrown into a garbage bin... So I always thought that there was something wrong with me."
Fortunately, ANT found catharsis and an outlet for his feelings in the world of comedy. And he hasn't forgotten his past. During his recent tour, called Bullied, Bashed but Not Broken, ANT shared much of his experience with bullying—and explained how he overcame the threat that the resulting pain could consume him. "If you're not laughing at life, at some point, you're being consumed by hate, despair, fear," he explains.
We're grateful to people like ANT, who turn their struggles into opportunities to help others. We choose laughter, too!
To read more about how humor can help cope with tragedy, click here.
This is a HooplaHa Original. Want more HooplaHa Originals? Check out our YouTube channel — and don't forget to smile!
To Honor The Son She Lost, A Mom Built A Playground And Started A Movement In Accessibility For All!
Every kid deserves a place to play and have fun. Amy Barzach is one of the people who is fully dedicated to making that dream a reality.
The Ivy Girl Academy is a leadership training program for teenage girls in South Jordan, Utah, and it culminates with a pageant that's a little different from the typical kind of beauty contest. At the Ivy Girl pageants, the contestants showcase leadership skills that they've developed over the course of their time with the Academy. Leading up to the pageant is a four-month intensive program consisting of 30 hours of service, character-building challenges, and mentorship of younger Ivy Girls through community clubs.
BalletNext's search for innovation led the New York City-based company and its Artistic Director Michele Wiles to a first-of-its-kind production, a ballet called "Follin."
In a sun-filled church in Stamford, Connecticut, a small group of young students sit with their musical instruments. Among them are many instruments you'd expect to see in a classroom—like violins and guitars—and also several that you may have never seen before, like the South American Charango and a Caribbean steel drum. That would give you your first hint that you're not looking at a standard music class. This is an INTEMPO class.
Since 2003, the ADA Foundation has offered an annual free program at New York City schools called Give Kids A Smile. The program, New York City Dental Society's largest community-focused event, unites dentists, orthodontists, dental staff, and other volunteers to provide screenings and oral health education to students, their parents, and teachers.
Sometimes celebrities get a bad rap for being self-centered, but not these celebrities! These 3 celebrities are following their passions outside of the music, television, and film industries, and as a result, they're helping others!
AJ Muss is just 23 years old, but his has been an eventful life so far. As an alpine snowboarder, AJ qualified for this year's Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea, competing for Team USA— but that's not the only reason we love his story. We've already seen a number of new young American stars be made on the mountain during these Olympic Games, including fellow snowboarders and gold medalists Chloe Kim and Red Gerard. When AJ competes in the Men's Parallel Giant Slalom beginning later this week, we hope to see him shine as brightly as his teammates have so far.
The inaugural Universal FanCon (FanCon) is the first large-scale, 24-hour, inclusive event that celebrates the diversity of fans, the diversity of fandom, the true needs of those who love pop culture and a celebration of the differences that make us strong. Hosted at the Baltimore Convention Center in Baltimore, MD, April 27-29, 2018, FanCon's mission is to create a sense of belonging by providing authentic connections and experiences through fan-centric parties, programs, panels and partners.