Lisa Levy To Celebrate Five Years Of Broadcasting With 'Stoned Therapy With Dr. Lisa' Livestream Event
This is not how Lisa Levy planned on celebrating the fifth anniversary of her podcast. Since 2015, the Brooklyn-based painter, conceptual artist, and comedian has been the host of Dr. Lisa Gives A Sh*t, a weekly radio show that broadcasts live from nonprofit freeform radio station Radio Free Brooklyn every Thursday from 2-3pm EDT. On the show, Levy portrays Dr. Lisa, S.P. (self-proclaimed), who has psychoanalyzed many comedians from the NYC comedy scene, plus celebrities like Joseph Gordon Levitt and Michael Musto during live performances.
However, like many in the entertainment industry at the moment, the recent COVID-19 outbreak has caused Levy to pivot her celebration, and production of the show entirely.
"I switched to recording on Zoom and using it to pre-record for my regular slot," explains Levy. "The dynamic works well and the shows have been great. I'm looking forward to returning to live broadcasts in the studio when we are past all this, though."
Levy, who made a memorable appearance on a "Stupid Pet Tricks" segment of Late Night with David Letterman in 1986, initially created the Dr. Lisa character out of frustration towards the business of psychotherapy and psychiatry.
"I was lucky to have a good therapist when I began going to therapy in college, but I've become disappointed with some others I've had since, both in ethics and talent," says Levy.
Levy eventually found herself exploring group therapy and was inspired by how dramatic it was to be in a room of strangers, exchanging deep emotions with each other. "It felt like this was what actors were trying to imitate on stage and screen," says Levy. "I hadn't ever performed before but I thought it would be fun to try it on stage with audience volunteers."
While Levy has considered pursuing psychology as a profession over the years, and even took a few classes following the creation of Dr. Lisa, she has accepted that it isn't viable for her. "When I was applying to college, I considered it, but I thought that I would get better grades studying art, which has always been my pursuit since I was very young," says Levy. "There were a lot of opportunities that would have been more available to me as Dr. Lisa, the licensed therapist. I now appreciate the dynamic of being "unlicensed" as it gives the patient a lot more agency to decide for themselves is what I am saying resonates with them."
When Levy will be able to return to Radio Free Brooklyn's Williamsburg station is still up in the air, but she won't let it hamper her plans to celebrate her upcoming milestone.
"Having this show and being part of Radio Free Brooklyn has kept me sane personally during this time," says Levy. "Radio Free Brooklyn is a community of smart, passionate, motivated people. Despite recent setbacks, the station has been incredibly stable and productive at this time."
Although Levy makes it very clear on the show (and in person) that she isn't a licensed psychotherapist, her uniquely warm, caring tone often finds listeners and colleagues taking her advice quite seriously. "I think that the work on my show produces some genuine insights for people so they do take it seriously, no matter what my intent is," says Levy. "What really makes me laugh is when people at the station that know me talk to me seriously as if I'm a shrink, knowing that I'm not. But sometimes people will repeat to me years later what I said to them and how it affected them or stuck with them."
To celebrate the show's fifth anniversary, Levy will be hosting a public Zoom conference on April 20, 2020, aka "420 Day," entitled Stoned Therapy with Dr. Lisa from 5-9pm EDT. Listeners are encouraged to join, stoned out of their minds, and get a free 5-10 minute therapy session with Dr. Lisa--who will be stoned out of her mind. All sessions are free on a first come, first serve basis.
Dr. Lisa Gives A Sh*t airs on Radio Free Brooklyn every Thursday from 2-3pm EDT. It is also available as a podcast wherever podcasts are found.