Who's Laughing?

Bill Abbate

Do you know what you need more of in your life? Laughter! There are many good reasons to laugh, and it is one of the healthiest things you can do. If you’re up for a few good laughs, read on!

What good is a little laughter?

Wouldn’t it be a great job to study humor and laughter? I wonder if it takes someone serious or light-hearted to do such work.

Studies show humor and laughter have positive psychological and physiological health benefits. What can be better than enhancing the health of your mind and body? Did you know humor can make you happier and reduce stress, depression, and anxiety while also improving learning?

About 3,000 years ago, the wisest man to ever live, Solomon, said:

“A happy heart is good medicine and a joyful mind causes healing.” Proverbs 17:22a AMP

A happy heart and laughter in this context go hand in hand.

Let’s look at a few areas of life to find some humor, learn a little, and maybe even have a good laugh!

Government and politics

The more serious the subject, the greater the potential for humor. This is especially true when it comes to the government and politics.

Has a more accurate statement on politics ever been made than:

“Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly, and applying the wrong remedies.” Groucho Marx (1890–1977)

Why are Groucho’s words funny? Because they contain so much truth in them.

Politics affect our lives so negatively, what can you do but laugh? Otherwise, they may drive you mad!

A famous writer more than a century ago had this to say about politicians in Congress:

“Reader, suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself.” Mark Twain (1835–1910)

Another well-known gent from the last century said something more valid today than it ever has been:

“Everything is changing. People are taking their comedians seriously and the politicians as a joke.” Will Rogers (1879–1935)

And lastly, has a president ever spoken truer words?

“Politics is supposed to be the second-oldest profession. I have come to realize that it bears a very close resemblance to the first.” Ronald Reagan (1911–1981)

Writers and authors

With the serious stuff of politics out of the way, let’s look at a vocation with more amateurs than any other — writing.

It has never been easier to write and be published than it is today. Estimates are that nearly one million books and more than 600 million blogs are published yearly! That is a considerable number of people writing! Surely there must be some good laughs involved in all of this activity.

Some of us adhere to the Amis method of writing:

“If you can’t annoy somebody, there’s little point in writing.” Kingsley Amis (1922–1995)

Practically every writer has similar feelings about critics and criticism, as expressed by Hampton:

“Asking a working writer what he thinks about critics is like asking a lamppost how it feels about dogs.” Christopher Hampton (1946-present)

Do you ever wonder if you use too many contractions in your writing?

“Did you hear the one about the pregnant woman who went into labor and started shouting, “Couldn’t! Wouldn’t! Shouldn’t! Didn’t! Can’t!”? She was having contractions.” Unknown

What about those drafts?

“I am a writer. If I seem cold, it’s because I am surrounded by drafts.” Unknown

Have you ever felt like:

“I’m writing a book. I’ve got the page numbers done.” Steven Wright (1955-present)

And who hasn’t experienced:

“It takes an awful lot of time to not write a book.” — Douglas Adams (1952–2001)

One thing every writer learns early is:

“The art of writing is the art of applying the seat of the pants to the seat of the chair.” Mary Heaton Vorse (1874–1966)

What about those deadlines so many of us struggle to meet?

“I love deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by.” Douglas Adams (1952–2001)

Finally, for the countless freelancers out there:

“The dubious privilege of a freelance writer is he’s given the freedom to starve anywhere.” S. J. Perelman (1904–1979)

What about grammar?

Aren’t you glad the old grammar rule to never end a sentence with a preposition is now defunct? Surely this gentleman had something to do with it.

“From now on, ending a sentence with a preposition is something up with which I will not put.” Winston Churchill (1874–1965)

Many words are overused or used unnecessarily in the English language. Some of the worst offenders are called do-nothing adverbs. These include words like actually, basically, currently, presently, really, suddenly, seriously, and very.

“The road to hell is paved with adverbs.” Stephen King (1947-present)

An adverb many of us use far too often is “very.” Try this method to tame its use:

“Substitute “damn” every time you’re inclined to write “very”, your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be.” Mark Twain (1835–1910)

Frankly, there is no end to adverbs:

“Frankly, I wonder who Frank was, and why he has an adverb all to himself.” Jodi Picoult (1966-present)

Don’t you find it frustrating when people misuse your for you’re, there for their, or to for too? It can make your life a constant battle between wanting to correct grammar and wanting to have friends.

A few one and two-liners for the road:

  • Double negatives are a big no-no.
  • The passive voice is to be avoided.
  • Synonym rolls: just like grammar used to make.
  • What dinosaur knows the most words? The thesaurus.
  • How do you comfort a grammar snob? “There, their, they’re.”

Elements of truth

“Humor is the whole truth.” Frigyes Karinthy (1887–1938)

There are times when little is funnier than the truth. As Dick Cark once stated — “Humor is always based on a modicum of truth.” A well-known Irish poet once said:

“The pure and simple truth is rarely pure and never simple.” Oscar Wilde (1854–1900)

A case in point is fashion. It changes so often it is challenging to keep up with the latest craze. It has been like this for at least a century:

“Fashion is a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months.” Oscar Wild (1854–1900)

A favorite comedian and social critic once said:

“Here’s all you have to know about men and women: women are crazy, men are stupid. And the main reason women are crazy is that men are stupid.” George Carlin (1937–2008)

Need more proof?

“I have always noticed that people will never laugh at anything that is not based on truth.” Will Rogers (1879–1935)

Final thoughts

How can you add some humor to your day? It is far more available than you may realize. Open your eyes, and you will find it everywhere!

If you have a smart speaker device like Alexa, ask it to tell you the joke of the day. Sure, they are corny, but the jokes can still lighten your mood.

Another way is to simply type “joke” or “joke of the day” into any browser, and you will find plenty of great material to make you laugh.

You can also find many humor pieces written by some great writers on Medium.com. Simply search for humor in the app, and you will find plenty of stories and articles.

And lastly, Youtube has thousands of humorous videos, ranging from stage performances to pranks to funny cat videos.

If you can add just one laugh into your day, you will improve your health and disposition. While you’re at it, why not help someone close to you laugh? You can bet they will appreciate it.

Try it, you’ll like it!

For a quick laugh, check this short video, the original commercial: Try It You’ll Like It (1972)

May you find much humor in life and experience the wonderful benefits of laughter often!

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Semi-Retired-Leadership/Executive Coach -Personal & Career Growth Expert -Editor and Leadership Writer at Illumination -Author

Richmond, VA

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