A study published in the International Journal of Cardiology claims that stand-up comedians are more likely to die at a younger age than comedy film and dramatic actors. On the average, stand-up comics only live up to 67.1 years, whereas comedy film actors and dramatic actors live up to 68.9 years and 70.7 years, respectively.

According to lead researcher Simon Stewart, a cardiac researcher from the Mary MacKillop Institute of Health Research at Australian Catholic University, this early mortality risk may stem from the lifestyle of stand-up comedians. Stand-up comedy is a very competitive occupation with low pay and low job security and requires irregular and late working hours, which affect their regular sleep patterns and exercise routine. On the other hand, their film counterparts are more likely to have financial security that allows them to live healthier lives.

Stand-up comics also work in places where violence and risky sexual behavior are more likely to occur. These comedians are also exposed to drugs, tobacco and alcohol, all of which can harm their health.

stand-up comedians

Damon Wayans at the Improv comedy club in Houston. Credit: Ed Schipul/Wikimedia

The study involved recruiting 200 stand-up comedians, 114 comedy film actors and 184 dramatic actors. The team found that stand-up comics have 38.9 percent chances of dying prematurely, whereas drama movie actors have 19.6 percent and comedy film actors have 27.3 percent. They also have 19.4 chances of dying from non-natural causes while dramatic actors have 10.7 percent and comedy movie actors have 9.1 percent.

This new study echoes Stewart’s earlier study that showed the funniest comedians are more likely to die at a younger age than less funny comedians. Stewart’s previous study involved 53 comedians from the UK.

“Indeed, the data confirmed an adverse relationship between comedic ability and longevity, with elite stand-up comedians more highly rated by the public more likely to die prematurely,” says Stewart. “Overall, the results point to a need for awareness of health and wellbeing in the entertainment industry, and in elite comedians in particular.”