Comedy show on suicide and depression to be performed at Sac State Thursday

‘1 Degree of Separation’ designed to end mental illness stigma through laughter


Ronaldo Gomez

Brad Bonar and Ellis Rodriguez are founders of comedy show “1 Degree of Separation: A Funny Look at Depression & Suicide.” The show will be coming to Sac State Thursday at 7:30 p.m in the University Union.

Brooke Uhlenhop and Ronaldo Gomez

UNIQUE Programs will host comedy show “1 Degree of Separation: A Funny Look at Depression and Suicide” Thursday as part of Mental Health Awareness Week. 

Comedian Brad Bonar started the comedy group performing in “1 Degree of Separation” in January with other comedians based in the Sacramento area after he found a suicide note he wrote in sixth grade. 

“1 Degree of Separation” is the show itself, as the group does not currently have a name.

The show’s mission, as described by Bonar, is “to bring dialogue, awareness and acceptance to depression through laughter and vulnerability. We will kill the stigma of depression by creating an army of comedians to share stories of hope, happiness and triumph.”

Bonar said he sought advice from therapists and psychologists and found the best way to go about bringing awareness to depression and suicide would be through his comedy.

At each “1 Degree of Separation” show, four comedians do a five minute stand-up set of their own, then the group hosts a panel where they run through five questions from psychiatrists about depression. 

“I didn’t make it a one-man show, this show is not about me,” Bonar said. “It’s about these four friends. Four funny people having a real conversation about real stuff and real-life stories.”

When asked about the title of the show, Bonar said he made the title “disturbing” so people know what to expect right away — not a lecture on suicide and depression. Bonar says the “one degree” element comes from the fact that if you do not suffer from depression, someone you know does. 

“If you came to see dark comedy, I don’t know,” Rodriguez said. “If you came to see a really funny show but then also a lot of people spilling their guts about their inner-most worst demons and things like that, if you have a demon somewhere in you, it might be cool to watch someone else talk about theirs.”

The group said they have had success at previous shows but have yet to perform it at a university. Sac State will be with first, according to Bonar. 

The event is meant to tie in with multiple events, such as a Mental Health Unity Pledge that will be on the same day held by Active Minds

Ajamu Lamumba, UNIQUE programs advisor, said the idea for the show coming to Sac State was pitched by Peer Health Educators (PHE) and Student Health & Counseling Services (SHCS) to support campus initiatives concerning mental health.

PHE and SHCS are listed as co-sponsors for the event via UNIQUE’s website.

“1 Degree of Separation: A Funny Look at Depression and Suicide” is a free show and will start at 7:30 p.m. in the University Union’s Ballroom Thursday.

If you or someone you know is in crisis, here are some resources:⠀⠀⠀⠀

Student Health and Counseling Services: 1-916-278-6461 or⠀

Crisis Text Line: Text “Brave” to 741-741

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)⠀