36: Surviving School with Comedy

Surviving School With Comedy | ADHD reWired

36: Surviving School with Comedy

An interview with Patte Rosebank, comedian and voice actor

Comedian, voice artist, writer, and more Patte Rosebank joins us to discuss her journey and struggles with ADHD as a child and how she made the transition into the woman she is today. Covering her early years dealing with bullying, uncaring schools, and even contemplating suicide, Patte describes what changes were made and what motivated her to pursue her current line of work. Which and whose comedy inspired her, how she deals with anxiety prior to a performance, and even a bunch of funny voices are also entertained during the podcast.

About Patte:

  • From Toronto, Canada
  • Works as a voice artist, writer, costume designer, comedy historian, and ADHD coach -in -training
  • Always felt different
  • Loves bright colors, sparkly things, feathers…

Patte and ADHD:

  • Patte realized she may have had ADHD when she saw a newspaper wherein a comedy hero of hers mentioned his moment of realization.
  • She performed really well at academics in school but poorly at penmanship, which she later found out was related to her ADHD; her hand couldn’t keep up with her brain.
  • Her parents finally decided to take her to a child psychologist when they realized she had, unbeknownst to her, started sleepwalking.

Poor Experiences at School:

  • Patte’s mother was a teacher who began teaching her children almost immediately, leading to Patte excelling at her schoolwork, taking advanced classes, and skipping a grade, much to the chagrin of her classmates.
  • Her mother made sure she was well dressed for school, while most other kids dressed more plainly
  • Both of the above contributed to her being often picked on and berated by other students.
  • Reprimanded and sentenced to detention by her teacher after another student talked to her, she was laughed at by other students and further ridiculed on the bus ride home.
  • Patte climbed up a tall tree with the intention of falling head-first into rocks below.
  • On the precipice of falling, she suddenly thought about the comedy she had started to listen to, how she would love to see those comedians in person, and how great it would be to work with them one day.

Effects and Solutions:

  • After talking with her psychologist, Dr. Hawke, her parents looked into changing to another school; she eventually switched to one with an “open concept” and a “buddy” system where she had a much better experience.
  • She was assigned a buddy who was there to help her adjust and was encouraged to bring issues, like bullying, to the attention of the school.
  • The new school showed Patte that others were there that cared about both her learning and her wellbeing.
  • Eric: How much effort does it take to assign someone to help and look out for new people – not just at schools, but also in workplaces, etc.?
  • Many are told to stay out of situations where others are being bullied, but research is showing that doesn’t work; witnessing bullying, even if one isn’t the target may still affect children psychologically and it creates a more bully-prone environment.


  • Patte listened to The Royal Canadian Air Farce on CBC radio, eventually even visiting the studio to see the recording process.
  • Listened to Frantic Times, the comedy radio show by The Frantics
  • Rick Green of was also an inspiration, as well as the ADD & Loving It video
  • While visiting the show Let’s Make a Deal, Patte changed out of a costume she had been wearing in the bathroom and subsequently walked a few blocks away trailing nine feet of toilet paper. Instead of feeling depressed or embarrassed like she would have as a kid, she just laughed it off, realizing how funny it must have looked.
  • Eric: Embrace imperfection. “Perfect sucks because perfect doesn’t get us to show others what we’re actually capable of. So it’s the ‘good enough is great’ and it’s the being-able-to put yourself out there and say, ‘you know, I tried, and this is what I’m going to’.”

Dealing with Anxiety:

  • Patte likes to be able to release her “antsy” energy before a big performance
  • Rick Green once told Patte that “Nobody is coming to see you bomb. They want you to succeed just as much as you want you to succeed, if not more.”
  • Eric: Notes how powerful mindset is in influencing our behavior.
  • Even as a little kid, Patte would wonder and try to figure out why she found certain people more interesting than others.


  • If having a hard time paying attention to what he’s reading, Eric will sometimes read it in an accent to help him focus.
  • People pick up bits and pieces of different accents through living around others with stronger accents.
  • Through listening to a lot of comedy on the BBC website, Patte has been able to work more on her accents. Sometimes, she’ll habitually respond to certain inquiries using in-accent phrases she heard on TV.

Random Question Round:

  • What is the origination of calling the letter “Z” “zed”?
  • If you could act in place of an actor or actress in a leading role in any past movie, who would you replace?

Products, websites, and software mentioned:

YouTube video of Patte’s PlayDHD Burlesque Dance

Find and Contact Patte Rosebank:

Other information:

(CHADD does not endorse this podcast)

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