Liz Miele Is Slaying the Comedy World Despite Dyslexia
As a budding comic with her own web series and a growing following online, Liz Miele is killing it. She started writing her own jokes at 14 and since then has been on various tours such as “Nobodies of Comedy” and recently wrote a produced a YouTube web series called “Damaged.” Miele also has her own comedy album, “Emotionally Exhausting.” Girl, we can relate. We talked to her about working in the industry with, not despite, her dyslexia.
Would you say that comedy helps heal your mental struggles?
Absolutely. Comedy forces me to acknowledge my feelings and then question them. Two things I wasn’t taught to do and by going through that process helps me accept them and overcome them. Without accepting my feelings and figuring out why I feel that way I had stopped myself from understanding myself and connecting with others both on and off stage.
Can you tell me more about how comedy heals you in times of need, like the deep depression you talked about before?
Comedy forces me to feel my feelings, accept my feelings, talk about my feelings so I feel less alone with them and connect and be with others with them. They say the opposite of depression isn’t happiness, it’s connection. When I’m feeling my lowest I can’t always fix it but I can feel less alone in it and comedy helps me feel less like its just me who goes through these down periods and humor helps me feel like I won’t feel this way forever and that I don’t feel this way for nothing.
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What is the process between the horrible feeling that becomes this funny skit? How do you get from point A to point B?
I always tell people I cry about it, then I write about it. And that’s not too far from the truth. After I let myself feel it I start to ask myself why am I so sad? Why am I so angry? Why am I so confused? And usually in answering those questions I can start to see my quirks and flaws and those usually are there because of some other issue from my past and that issue helps me build an idea around why I reacted the way I did and then I start to build up the joke from these new facts about me and collect stories, real world examples and analogies to support this discovery.
How does this type of disability affect your comedy and how you approach writing it?
Well, I’m a slower reader, horrible speller, terrible at grammar and my brain in general processes lots of things slower. So, everything just takes longer and I’m less efficient at it. When I’m writing about it I’m just honest. I still have deep insecurities about it at 31 but I’m open with everyone about my short comings and insecurities and it helps release the fear. We all have are issues and things we’re not good at. I feel fortunate that I’m able to be honest about mine and make light of it.
Can you talk about how learning you had dyslexia lead you to writing and then comedy?
I learned I was dyslexic when I was in the third grade. I probably didn’t fully understand what that meant until I was in middle school and the impact it had on me until I was 25. Because I was always in special classes and took extra reading/writing courses after school I was encouraged and forced to do extra work and I think I just got used to doing extra work and it being hard but it being okay. And through expressing myself in writing stories in my after school program I grew to love reading and writing more than the average person. I was always writing short stories and even had a book series I created called “Spiffy the Spider” (it was about a spider cause it was the only thing i could draw) and when I discovered stand-up at 13 it became the perfect outlet to express myself, because I’d write but no one would see how bad it looked because I performed it.
Your unique relationship with comedy is interesting. Would you say comedy has helped you work on your dyslexia, and if so how?
It’s helped me to care less, mostly. My writing got stronger just in general from doing it more but I still can’t spell, read slow and make lots of mistakes and need people to read over my words most of the time for mistakes. But with social media posts and being open about it I’ve learned to care less when my dyslexia shows.