Dr. Janelle Junkin is a lot of things—musician, community music therapist, humor researcher, activist. And, her work brings her to some of humanity’s most challenging places, from conducting research in post-genocide Rwanda to providing music therapy to children in hospice. But the throughline for all her service is a recognition that no one is disposable, everyone has something to offer, and, no matter what you’re doing, you can’t take yourself too seriously.
In the second episode of In Stitches Podcast, we explore Janelle’s wide-ranging work with affected communities and the importance for mental health providers to receive care of their own. Plus, Janelle shares the role humor plays in her personal coping as well as her academic research on creativity and humor.
Dr. Junkin brings joy and strength—and, sometimes, a good laugh to some of the most challenging places. And the world is better off for it.
Within the DNA of all comedy communities is the desire and willingness to help in the face of tragic events. The Hampton Roads area felt it deeply after May 31st and has banded together to create this event supporting the victims’ families. I believe laughter is the surprise recognition that we are not alone. It brings us closer to one another. It doesn’t erase the event, pain or fear, but sharing in a positive experience in the wake of darkness could often be a step towards healing. If you are near Town Center tomorrow (July 14th), stop in to the Virginia Beach Funny Bone for their Comedy Marathon between noon and midnight in support of the community. #VBStrong
Please share this young mans story. We NEED more Sam Pressler’s in the world. When Sam contacted me a few years ago with his vision for the Armed Services Arts Partnership I could feel his passion. I held zero doubt he was the REAL DEAL! A young man of ACTIONS that followed up smart, compassionate & thought out words. He went on to make the Forbes list of “30 Under 30” for his work with Military Veterans, Active Duty & Families. Thank you Kerri Furey and everyone at The Hampton Roads Show for shining the spotlight on a phenomenal person! Congrats Sam! #inspirational
“It’s ok to be ignorant, it’s not ok to stay that way”– William Esper
The first time I heard those words I was sitting as a student in Bill Esper’s class. They pierced me so hard that they instantly became a principal I’ve lived by ever since. I sit here broken by the world’s loss and re-enforced by the foundation he gave to so many.
For myself, Bill guided and showed a dyslexic, blue-collar, military veteran, comedian that he had more to offer and there was much more he had yet to be exposed to. He re-awakened a stagnant will for learning while refueling my curiosity in people who live a life much different from my own. The people, the moments shared & the friendships I have been blessed with from The William Esper Studio could fill a thousand books. It’s a chapter in my life I cherish.
I think this exchange from when I sat down with Bill for the studio acceptance interview captures the journey perfectly.
Bill – “Have you acted in any theatre, tv or films?”
Me – “I was in Larry The Cable Guys – “Delta Farce”
Bill – “Well… we can only go up from there”.
Thank you Bill. Your lessons continue to settle in… RIP