31 Days: The benefits of laughter

Laughter is in.  There is laughter yoga,and laughter therapy there is the plain old fashioned laughing and banter with friends. It makes us feel better, it makes us breath more, promotes endorphins, those happy hormones, it can surprise us out of our lethargy.

Psychologists have had difficultly in pinning down humour and what makes a joke work but the consensus is that a joke results from the juxtaposition of two incongruous thoughts which causes a new connection to be made, resuliting in laughter. This new connection that allies things that should not go together is the joke trigger. A joke is usually quick fire, requiring us to make an instant assimilation of the material. In that way it fits very well with the creative mindset of these posts.

For some reason (boredom perhaps!) when I was a teenager my sister and I memorized the definition of To laugh from the dictionary. It went thus “The facial distortion, shaking of the sides etcetera which form an instinctive expression of mirth, amusement, sense of the ludicrous, scorn etc.

Reciting that was enough to make us laugh. (We had very sheltered lives!)

Comedy in itself is creative art, seeing things in new ways, often requiring the stand up comedian to get into free flow and sometimes requiring improvisation.

Since it’s the weekend I’m not going to get any more academic about it. I am just going to invite you to share your favourite comedy moments, shows and in particular books (since there is a serious dearth of fun books about.

I love watching 8 out of ten cats, Have I got news for you and Mock the Week – where the panelists have to come up with witty commentary on the news items of the day. I also love Big Bang Theory, The IT Crowd and Father Ted and really enjoyed Mark Haddon’s ‘A spot of bother‘ among others. While a lot of what  I write is serious, it meant a lot to me at the time I wrote Housewife with a Half-Life (some difficult family events had just occurred) to fill it with humour and lightness. I love Zoolander and The Life of Brian among many others.

Let me know your book, TV and film recommendations as well as your favourite comedians and what you do to chill and have a laugh.

4 thoughts on “31 Days: The benefits of laughter

  1. I like all Alexander McColl Smiths’s books. They are not laugh out loud obviously funny but there is a lot of humour in there. I also think you can’t beat Marion Keyes books for funniness and I just finished some books by Karen Wheeler which I found amusing. As for films, the funniest I can think of are ‘There’s something about Mary’ and ‘The Full Monty’. I laughed so much at both of these. I think Ben Stiller is one of the funniest guys on earth along with Owen Wilson.

  2. alisonwells

    Hi Claire, thanks for your recommendations. I’m going to try out the people you mentioned. Yes Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson are just brilliant. You just reminded me of Zoolander which is an absolute classic. 🙂

  3. I also watch 8 Out of 10 Cats, Have I Got News for You and Mock the Week. I also find Never Mind the Buzzcocks very amusing. As for books, I don’t tend to read those with comedy aspects. I am currently reading Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness, and I was chuckling at a chapter the other night when her characters (a witch and a vampire) were discussing popular vampire fiction with lots of sarcasm.

    The main source of laughter for me has to be my 2 year-old daughter. Just last night she carried her potty into our bedroom, set it down in front of our full-length mirror, and sat down to watch herself do her business. She was hilarious!

    1. alisonwells

      Your two year old’s antics brought a smile to my face. And thanks for sharing the things you love. Never Mind the Buzzcocks is very amusing, I agree!

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