Comedy Tour Brings Awareness to Suicide Prevention Through Laughter


Photo courtesy of Robinson Recalde, Unsplash

Abigail Muth, Staff Writer

Comedian Stephanie Foster lost her best friend to suicide a little over three years ago. She is now currently on a comedy tour to sororities, women’s athletic programs, LGBTQ+ communities and campus groups around the nation. Her goal is to create a safe space to raise suicide prevention awareness. 

Foster will be coming to FGCU tonight at 7 p.m. as a guest of the Tri Delta Sorority. 

The first half of her show is a comedy series and the second half is dedicated to creating a safe space for the audience to discuss more serious topics. 

“I know suicide is really scary to talk about. Here’s a way that you can talk about it in a room without bringing the room down, because that seems to be one of the biggest fears amongst women and why they aren’t talking when they are in those low places,” Foster said.

Foster’s shows start with an opener, FGCU’s opener will be Sureni Weerasekera. She has multiple other comedians on tour with her who will open the show depending on where she is and when. 

Each stop on the tour is a little different, as Foster has different openers at each event. For her stop at FGCU, Weerasekera will have ten minutes on the stage before Foster comes out. The two met in L.A. and consider themselves old friends. Weerasekera also has a new special on HBO and has Comedy Central credits. 

The second half of the show is set up in a question and answer format. Foster works with the Live Project nonprofit organization which created a game with three tiers of questions, each getting more personal as the game goes on. Audience members are encouraged to join the game, but are not forced, and the only rule is they have to be honest in their answers.

“It’s like slumber party vibes, you know, telling jokes that you would only tell your female friends and then also having those super deep conversations,” Foster said.

This part of the show is recorded and put into a podcast called Without Rhyme Nor Reason Comedy Tour. The tapes are edited, and participants are notified beforehand that they will be recorded. 

Foster started this tour in the spring of 2022. She has been doing stand-up comedy for years but was unable to support herself full time until last year. The tour is sponsored by Maybelline, a multi-million dollar makeup company, and The Society of Valued Minds, a community created by Otsuka America Pharmaceutical Inc., which brings together individuals with mental health conditions.

Foster sees this tour as an opportunity to start this conversation amongst women on campuses around the United States, and is encouraged when she sees students and athletes starting to come out of their shell to get involved. 

“We hear some of the most beautiful things and they get that bonding moment. And I think it provides a foundation where they feel a little bit safer to ask each other those tough questions and for support,” she said. 

Foster utilizes the app Instagram to find the locations where she will bring her tour by direct messaging sororities and women’s athletic programs in schools around the nation. Once she gets one or two in the same state, she builds her schedule from there. 

The first year of the tour consisted of 14 different stops, ending the tour at her alma mater, Texas Tech University, in the same house that she and her best friend lived in. 

“I talk about survivor’s guilt and what it’s like to lose someone you love to suicide, and I think the amount of people who are resonating with that and that experience is shocking and moving but it tells me that we’re doing the right work and we’re talking about the right stuff,” Foster  said.