Thank goodness for the people who make us laugh
Ask me who makes me laugh and I will promptly reply stand-up comedienne Jeanne Robertson and stand-up comedian Gabriel “Fluffy” Iglesias. It’s the way they tell’em: the timing, the facial expressions and the stories-cum-jokes in themselves. They tick my giggle boxes and tickle my funny bones, restoring good humour possibly faster than a dark chocolate blowout — and do it without further reducing the daylight between my thighs to total blackout.
And there are, of course, a zillion other good folk who have — wittingly or unwittingly — made me cackle over the years. My father and I always appreciated the same sense of the ridiculous, as do most of my good pals. Some of my best memories arise from the bizarre and the hysterical.
I vividly remember a university class when we were all laughing internally so hard, the two large T-forming oak tables were juddering against each other. Thirty years later, I can’t for the life of me remember why, but I do remember fifteen students desperately struggling to regain control while a perplexed lecturer fruitlessly endeavoured to establish the cause of such mirth with no one in any fit state to tell him. (Think the Biggus Dickus scene: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2K8_jgiNqUc – 2 min. mark) in The Life of Brian. Student days are happy days.
But life goes on and we grow up. And, if we’re lucky, grow older. We suffer setbacks in our careers. And worse. Our children suffer accidents, relationships fail, we fall ill, our friends fall ill and our parents eventually die.
And news items become darker and closer to home.
We understand the results of genocides and famine, earthquakes and air disasters. We read reports of migrants risking their lives to flee unimaginable atrocities at home and of the chaos and outrage caused by the lucky ones who make it safely to a safer land. We witness racism, inequality and hate.
So any cause for laughter becomes a gift. Even the oldest and silliest of jokes on Facebook are shared and guaranteed to reap large quantities of Likes. New wit and pithy good humour garner even more. I’m the same. I Like stuff too.
Because a darn good belly laugh rocks more than my cellulite, it rocks the dodgy recesses of my soul.
Last weekend, I was lucky enough to see Gabriel Iglesias’ Unity in Laughter show in Stockholm. What an apt title. Over seven thousand happy Fluffyites roared in appreciation of the new material and chanted perfectly-timed punchlines during the old. The ecstatic crowd was swept away in a tidal wave of good humour. There was no pushing and shoving on the way out. Doors were held open and folk stepped back to allow separated members to catch up with their party. Strangers chatted to strangers. This cordial atmosphere continued in the car park where too many cars queued to exit through the same barrier. Drivers permitted other cars to enter the slow but steady stream towards the road.
Because laughter does unite. And induces goodwill.
And similar to the biological advantages of orgasms, laughter is also physically good for us. It infuses a sense of wellbeing and benevolence. Experts claim laughter reduces stress and blood pressure. It boosts the immune system and triggers the release of endorphins into our blood systems. It’s good for flabby abs and improves cardiac health. In short, laughter is one of very few things in life that is utterly free with no negative side effects and a bellyful of positive.
It shines a little light into a dark world. And people respond to it.
At a zillion micro levels, laughter must be good for global contentment.
So I say again: thank goodness for the people who make us laugh.
From now on, I’m going to grab every opportunity with both hands.