There’s a lot of pressure to be social and productive, often to the detriment of mental health. The South is especially known for friendly, chatty strangers, which makes being an introvert even more difficult. With this video, we wanted to send a message to whoever needed to hear it that it’s perfectly normal to shut down and take a break to recharge, even if you’re just eating junk, ignoring texts, and dancing in the dark to the music in your head. Doing nothing is doing something when it’s beneficial to your mental health. And we fully subscribe to the belief that “if they’re laughing, they’re listening” so it was important to us to use our sketch comedy as that vehicle to reach people with this important message.
Oh, and we wanted to make people laugh! We introverts can be funny, and this video proves it.
For over five years, we’ve built our audience on relatable, Southern humor. This video represents somewhat of a departure from our usual fare – there’s no cornbread or biscuits anywhere in the video – and was a challenge because we had never dealt with mental health topics and issues on our channel before and didn’t know how well it would be received. We hoped that since it is a relatable issue, it would speak to the introverted types everywhere, especially those in the South who feel especially frowned upon because of the overly chatty culture we live in.
Although the script is humorous, it came from a not-so-happy place. From writer and Director Adam Schwartz: “The script itself was born out of distress. My grandfather had just passed away and I needed to fly out of town to attend his funeral. Since this was going to put me out of commission for a good portion of the work week, and the content machine must continue to churn, we needed something we could easily produce and edit in a short amount of time to meet our release schedule. I was really struggling with coming up with sketch ideas and was feeling pretty burnt out and depressed. In essence, I needed a recharge. I wanted to be doing nothing. So, I just started writing down what I was experiencing and adapted it into a comedy sketch about a personal assistant who could serve as an intermediary between a stressed out introvert and his extroverted friend. My parents, who were already out of town to be with my grandfather in his final moments, were gracious enough to let us film in their house in their absence. I wrote the script on a Sunday, we filmed it the following day and I edited it shortly after that.”
The video was extremely well received. From a numbers standpoint, it has over 2.3 million views on facebook and over 470,000 views on YouTube, with incredibly high engagement across platforms. Over 23,000 people shared it on Facebook and it has over 30,000 likes on YouTube. More than that, the qualitative response was heartwarming and supportive. We had numerous comments on both platforms identifying with the video and championing it as a message they not only needed to hear, but one they could share with folks around them who may not understand what they’re going through. To quote a few:
“I have never felt so heard and validated before. Explaining my "nothing" days to my mostly extroverted family has always been a fundamental struggle. Even though this is meant to be a funny skit it really does hit the nail on the head for me.”
“That mini monologue about taking care of yourself by doing nothing needs to be broadcast everywhere”
“Doing nothing IS doing something. I felt that in my soul.”
“Liz and Ryan [the actors in the sketch], this is your best work and bravo to the whole IAST team for pushing a strong mental health/self care message. Doing nothing IS doing something.“
And many, many more. It’s incredibly gratifying to be able to use comedy as a vehicle for mental health awareness, especially in a social media driven world that puts so much pressure and value on productivity and socializing.