Comedian Mickey Bell wants people who attend his shows to laugh, but he hopes audiences leave with more than a smile.
He wants them to “feel encouraged,” he said, in large part because humor has helped him reach a significant personal milestone.
“Knowing that I am now living my life more fulfilled than I ever have before, ever in the history of living on this earth, I wish that I could get everyone to that point to where they never had to fake it, but that they could actually enjoy life,” Bell said.
Bell’s mix of comedy and encouragement comes from his willingness to share difficult struggles from his past, which he acknowledges haven’t fully gone away.
Growing up, Bell’s humor helped protect him from being hurt.
As an adult he experienced a time with depression so severe, he wasn’t sure how he could go on. He still battles anxiety, especially concerning crowds.
“I may look like a very outgoing person, and I pretty much am, but there is a thing called ‘too many people being around you,’” he said.
Bell’s transparency is one reason he is loved by audiences. He often is told, “This was the hardest I have laughed in a long time.”
The feedback inspires Bell, especially when it’s from others who deal with mental health issues. Those who attend his shows trust him to be funny, he said. And some know his personal story, which inspires them to get out themselves.
“For some of them it was the first time out of their house in a very long time, especially if they are dealing with some sort of mental illness or they’ve had some kind of tragedy in their life,” he said.
“I don’t take those compliments mildly at all. To know that they thought that my hard work behind the scenes paid off, presenting something that was funny enough to move them and to encourage them — especially if they have had a hard time — that just means a lot to me right now.”
Bell wants those attending his shows to know that not only are they going to have a good time, but they will hear about some tough subjects — his story along with his depression and anxiety.
His main hope is that his voice will bring calm.
His desire is that from what he says, audience members will “have the know-how to take the next steps of defeating their mental illness or living with that depression.”
There are a lot more hurting people in the world than he realized, Bell confessed. Many have admitted to him that they are faking their way through life.
He understands because he used to be that person. Comedy has been a productive outlet for him.
His entertainment journey has taken him to places he could never have imagined.
He did 170 shows last year and is on track to match that this year. He continues to work on his craft and is finding his voice and the type of humor he wants to do.
In 2021, Bell was named Comedian of the Year by the Inspirational Country Music Awards. Also in 2021, he filmed his first comedy special at a sold-out performance at the StarDome Comedy Club in Birmingham, Alabama. He is currently in negotiations to film another comedy special — this time for network television.
However, Bell’s passion still is about sharing his testimony with those affected by mental illness.
“God is the God of second chances,” Bell declared. “When He talks about redemption, He means it. I am the picture boy of that. I don’t shy away from that. I talk about it every night. I‘m one of the very few people who will stand on stage and admit their shortcomings every night. [I’m] not afraid to do so.”
He wants everyone in the audience to be “confident that they’re gonna laugh and have a good time, but they’re gonna leave with a little bit of inspiration and feeling like, ‘You know what? I can take on another day.’”
For more about Bell and upcoming performances visit themickeybell.com.