• Ian Zaro says comedy helped him overcome his depression. (Supplied)Source: Supplied
He's the funnyman with the signature hairdo who found accidental fame through social media, but behind the scenes Ian Zaro isn't as confident as he seems.
Ella Archibald-Binge

17 Oct 2017 - 3:38 PM  UPDATED 17 Oct 2017 - 5:08 PM

With his colourful and energetic on-screen presence, the 22-year-old Black Comedy actor betrays no hint of self doubt. 

But just a few years ago, Ian Zaro was struggling with negative thoughts. 

"There's a lot of things that I really don't like about myself," he told NITV News. 

"Everyone has their flaws and what they see in themselves, and I think it just got to the point where I'm like, I don't like it.

"My grades weren't that great because my eyesight started going because I have Keratoconus, so it was deteriorating at that time so I kinda thought I was pretty much useless."

At 18, Ian was diagnosed with depression. He sought help, and ultimately found it through comedy. 

A class clown by nature, Ian had been uploading videos to social media using Dubsmash - an app that lets users lipsynch over popular movies, songs and shows. 

One video went viral, catching the eye of an ABC producer who invited him to join the cast of groundbreaking sketch show Black Comedy. 

"You have dreams and stuff like that, well one of my main ones was to be on a sketch comedy show. And that happening, being 19 is just like, did that just happen?"

But his comedy career was more than just a dream realised. Ian says it was the feedback from his fans that buoyed his self-confidence. 

"Multiple people [were] saying they had depression and that I was helping them rise up from it just by laughter," he said. 

"The fact that I can put a smile on someone’s face and make them feel better, makes me feel better."

Aside from his comedy commitments, the Townsville-based performer advocates for mental and physical wellbeing through public speaking gigs, marketing roles and youth mentoring. 

For others battling with mental health, he recommends giving comedy a go.  

"If you're depressed or feeling low, get into comedy, be cracked, make people laugh, have fun with it. That's what I did."

If you need help or support, you can call Lifeline on 13 11 14 (24 hours-a-day) or contact your local Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation. If you have questions for the Australian Human Rights Commission contact the National Information line on: 1300 656 419 or 02 9284 9888.

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