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.
I saw Whitney Houston in concert when I was either a sophomore or junior in High School. We are talking Whitney at the very top of her game! ““The Bodyguard” in its entirety whenever the chance arises? For years I have told the story how I saw Whitney Houston in concert in high school & I fell asleep. Which I completely did. I was out cold after she sang the 3 hits I knew. From then on it was all gospel songs and well… Zzzzzzzz’s. BUT THOSE 3 HITS!
Looking back… I’m completely aware that I was an unappreciative teenage idiot with a mullet. Funny thing is as time passed I never in my mind registered Whitney Houston as anything but that Whitney who sang those 3 hits. The tabloids never influenced me; the “Bobby Brown years” as I guess they can be called never tarnished the image she left in my mind singing those 3 hits. In a way I feel I again slept through the stuff I didn’t like.
The more artists I encounter. Have friendships with & the longer I perform myself. It becomes so savagely clear what a painfully heart-wrenching business this can be. I could not even comprehend for a moment what it would be like as an industry- changing young African –American woman placed in the spotlight of the world’s stage at such a young age. So for me Whitney Houston is that amazing singer acting opposite Kevin Costner’s horrible haircut in the classic “The Bodyguard”. She’s that amazing talent I got to witness belt out 3 incredible hits. Everything else… Zzzzzzzz’s
A few years ago I was the regular opening act for Larry The Cable Guy. A couple months into Larry mania a young guy from the state of Washington joined us for a weekend on the tour bus… He didn’t leave for about 4 years. Jeremy McComb became Larry’s tour manager and more importantly my friend. Jerome (as I know him) is a pure genuine talent, a real musician. I often will like an artist, go see them live, and then realize it was all studio magic that made there sound. With Jeremy (as you’ll realize below) this is very far from the case. This man and his guitar make magic! We had countless nights out on the open road together sharing a tour bus laughing, dreaming and living a dream at the same time. True artists cannot stay in the same place. Complacency kills whatever art you bring to the table. We each moved on to pursue those dreams we passionately plotted till the sun came up after Jim Beam soaked nights. Memories are a great thing to have. I have countless memories watching Jeremy break out his guitar at sound checks before a show. I would sit in a seat… in an empty arena… hours before rapid Cable Guy fans would fill it to the rafters. Getting myself a private “Jeremy McComb concert” knowing one-day people would be paying good money to sit where I was sitting. Jeremy would watch my stand-up sets each night from the side of the stage or theatre wings always supportive, truthful and encouraging. I got to enjoy so many amazing evenings with my friend and his guitar. You really should to! His talent is out there right now; enjoy discovering it as much as I did. We shall continue the ride my good friend Jerome “blood brothers till the end”.