You never know what situation might call for you to act completely insane. Maybe you need a day off, or maybe your relationship is so bad and you need to get out of it as quickly as possible. Whether you’re acting for stage or film, or just acting for the effect, here’s how to pull off looking crazy without actually going nuts.
1. Always reply, no matter what you have just done, that you are “okay” or “fine.” Repeating this over and over at various volumes of voice can really enhance your effect. Never say “I feel crazy.” That is a dead giveaway.
2. Be subtle. Don’t overdo it. Instead of screaming swear words at people and claiming to be “seeing” things, maybe talk in a low whisper and look at “someone” next to you who isn’t there. Imagine that the person is 2 feet tall and blue with green polka dots—but never reveal that.
3. Pick a theme. If you are all over the place, anyone with a minimum amount of education will be able to discern that you are acting out too many diagnosable maladies, outing you instantly. Pick one central theme and stick with it - people are after you or talking about you, or you are capable of some superhuman ability (e.g. hearing thoughts, seeing pictures in dogs’ minds, reading the future using alphabet soup). Keep it consistent and again, subtle. Don’t go overboard or be comedic.
4. Don’t appear harmful. This is important. Don’t threaten yourself, nor anyone else. Should superhuman ability be part of your “psychosis,” make it be super speed or smell; flying will only make people think you’re a jumper. Anything you do that violates this rule can get you locked up; you don’t want that—it’s a bad way to spend your free time.
5. Avoid using any psychological terms. Don’t say words like psychosis or delusion because - let’s face it - if you have a clear understanding of those afflictions - you’re probably not afflicted by them.
6. Wait for the desired effect. Don’t make it apparent that you want to go home or need something for what is going on with you. If you are doing a good job, what you want will be suggested in due time. You will know this is happening when someone says “Do you need to lie down?” or “Maybe you should head home for the day.”
7. Practice. You’ll feel silly, but crazy practice does make crazy perfect. You can do it in a few ways, at home in front of the mirror, or out in untested public - just make sure it’s not the environment you plan on being ‘crazy’ in when you go to do it for real.
* At home, find an area of your body that you have never had to itch. Now, scratch it. Now, look off and upwards in a random direction and scratch that part of your body like a flea was biting it. Now stop suddenly and remain motionless.
* Next, practice looking at objects nearby like they had said something either a) evil about your mother, or b) terrifying. When you look at the object, cast your glance at it like you were looking directly, but actually look at something 5 or 6 feet behind it. Do this several times.
8. Be creative and research. A good “crazy” has many aspects to it, and when they come to you at random and in high frequency, you will find yourself able to fit the role of insane quickly and comfortably. Plenty of TV shows and movies are great resources to get new ideas from.
9. Use caution. When the time comes to be serious, do it. What you do want is the ability to “act crazy.” What you don’t want is to actually be crazy. And just in case the situation doesn’t go as you expected, you want to still be able to get it together and reassure someone that you were just fooling around. See the Warnings below.
10. Know when to use your newfound power. Someone asking for your wallet? Not a bad time to mumble under your breath about drinking the urine with just a little blood mixed in. A cop asking for your license? Give him your license and keep crazy under wraps.
* Animals are great co-conspirators because they will almost always already think you are crazy, and if you involve them in your act - they will respond in a predictable way. So feel free to pretend to respond to the cat’s question, or glare at the hamster for that crude insult it delivered.
* If friends and family believe you, chances are everyone will. They know you best. Just make sure that in their worry they don’t have you committed.
* Criminals don’t like crazy; even if you are small and weak, if you are crazy - you are dangerous. Don’t go overboard, but you could possibly use crazy against many types of criminals to extract yourself from dangerous situations.
* Knowledge of multiple languages is a very effective tool, especially if one of them is a little known tribal dialect. This can be extremely helpful in scaring off the non-believers.
* Repeat yourself. Pretend you did not. Insist you did not.
* Rub off a spot on your pants that isn’t there. Do it again, 100 times. Claim not to know what anyone is talking about if they ask why you’re doing it.
* Take a sip of soda, hum while you do it, and insist it isn’t you.
* Suspicion is your friend. Accusing people of things they couldn’t possibly have done in a non-violent manner will help turn people off your scent.
* Another great crazy is conspiracy freak. For instance, explain to your friends that fish are a government scam. Be creative, be imaginative, be crazy!
* Make sure to read/watch up on all forms of media where post-crazy people share their stories. This will give you invaluable insight as to how you can get away various things.
* Be ready to reveal the joke. In most states, crazy for real can cause an immediate and sometimes permanent removal of your most basic rights and can land you in a mental ward.
* Leave law enforcement out of it. Not only could you get taken into custody, but you could be clubbed as well, especially if you’re persuasive. Clubbing a “crazy who was about to attack Frank” is a pretty good excuse for clubbing someone.
* Don’t ever go crazy in a situation where you are trying to break the law and get out of it. Speeding + Crazy = Jail and no more license. Testifying + Crazy = Perjury and a locked down psych evaluation.