There have been multiple studies showing that comedians tend to be smarter than the average person, but what about the psychology of those comedians? They do seem to be a different breed altogether – it not only takes an incredible amount of talent like you’ve probably seen in stand-up comedians like Tony Baker who performed on Comedy Central’s Last Comic Standing and other well knowns who can somehow manage to turn some of the darkest political moments into laughs like Last Week Tonight’s host John Oliver.

They’re Often Introverts

While you’d probably never guess it, most professional comedians tend to be shyer than other people. They use the stage to take advantage of the opportunity to be who they want to be which doesn’t necessarily reflect their personalities in daily life. Research from the University of Mexico found that after testing a group of comedians on classic personality traits, comparing them against the scores of university students and humor writers, that on average, they had low scores for extroversion. Many comedians have admitted to being more antisocial and having less interest in connecting with other people.

They Often Experience Intense Highs and Lows

While many performers are frequently plagued with self-doubt, even after reaching the pinnacle of success, when it comes to comedians, the solitary nature of the job has been found to accentuate that. Experts say they tend to experience more intense highs and lows simply because everything to do up on stage is their own work. Actors, on the other hand, don’t carry as much of an individual burden. How satisfied an audience is comes from a combination of factors like the direction, writing and scenography as well as the other actors.

They’re More Likely to Be Depressed

While it’s not clear just how many comedians are struggling with depression and other issues like anxiety, lots of familiar names in comedy have either admitted to it or have joked about the challenges they’ve faced, including Sarah Silverman, Woody Allen, Richard Pryor, Stephen Fry, Ellen DeGeneres and Spike Jones. Of course, it likely played a significant factor in the death of favorite comic Robin Williams, but thankfully most don’t resort to suicide.

Psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud once theorized that comedians tell jokes as part of their relief system from anxiety. In a study of professional full-time comedians in the 1970s, it was discovered that despite their extreme success, 80% had sought some type of therapy. They were all found to have higher-than-average or even well-above-average intelligence, and research has linked depression to high intelligence. Many noted feeling misunderstood or even bullied, and were more often “depressed, angry or suspicious” as compared to the general population.

In a more recent survey of comedians, many noted that they primarily chose the career to get validation from the audience in an attempt to “fill a hole” or win a battle against a personal struggle. They use comedy to deal with the hidden depth to their personalities, but in the end not only are they better for it, but their audiences are as well.