Comedian Simon Delisle poses in a barbershop chair, holding an electric shaver like it's his mic
"Men need to feel comfortable talking when they're not feeling well."Image by: Max Rosenstein
Comedian Simon Delisle poses in a barbershop chair, holding an electric shaver like it's his mic
17 July 2023

Comedian Simon Delisle on how vulnerability makes him invincible

Mo Bro
Simon Delisle
3 minutes read time

When it comes to my own health journey, there’s a lot to talk about. To make a long story short, I was born with an autoimmune disease called polyendocrinopathy. So, I was born with health problems. I haven’t known life without being sick. It has always been part of my life.

It certainly influences my take on life, it influences my urgency to live, perhaps a little more than other people. And I've always been in favour of talking about it and laughing about it. That's always been very important. Because it's important to play things down -- not necessarily to make them less important, but to have a laugh about them. At home, we laughed a lot about everything. Humour has always been a vehicle for getting messages across, and maybe taking some of the pressure off everyone.

Often, us guys, even if we're from another generation, we still have that pressure to be stoic; a man doesn't cry, a man doesn't complain, a man doesn't say when it hurts. Guys often take a lot on their shoulders, we close in on ourselves, we want to look strong, even though we're no longer in our parents' era of chopping wood and all that. The kind of men who don't complain or cry. A man who doesn't say when it hurts. But we need to talk. Men need to feel comfortable talking when they're not feeling well, in every sense of the word.

Talking about it makes me feel invincible. And so I named my comedy show just that – Invincible. It comes from life. I've always had a lot of limitations in my life – I didn't move at the same speed as everyone else for different reasons. But on the other hand, it made me very strong. I'm tough, I'm resilient and I'm convinced that when you've been through things like health problems, when you're dealing with life's problems, you don't see it as that big. I have my health problems, but in the hour and a half when I’m on stage – nothing shifts. At that moment, I’m solid. I’m at my best when I’m holding a microphone and telling jokes. I’m extremely vulnerable, but on the other hand, I am also invincible.

I have to laugh about it. Self-deprecation, but without distorting it or thinking it’s not important. It about laughing at things, seeing them from another perspective. I think this openness, has made it easier for guys to talk to me. I’m perhaps in a better position to understand a little of what hardships they might be going through. My friends, those who are close to me, know very well that if they need to talk, if they need to come and see me, if they need to chat, that when the phone rings, I'll always answer, I will always be there for them.

A close friend of mine is going through a prostate cancer diagnosis right now. There's something to be learned from this guy, in his joy and perseverance. Even when he's ill, he continues to do what he loves. And that makes people happy. Love, laughter, it's all good. Right from the start, even for someone who may not be able to heal, love, joy, laughter, happiness. It will always be a balm, a remedy. Remedy here means healing from something, but it also means perhaps suffering less from something, then laughing about it, crying about it too. I may not have the luxury of growing a moustache in Movember, but I’m capable of making jokes to bring joy and start conversations. So, I’ll continue to do that during Movember and beyond.