Friday, January 17, 2014

what makes you laugh out loud?

At work today, my friend was watching a video online about laughter yoga. She told me that she is organizing a laughter yoga session for employees during Mental Health Week. Another friend mentioned that she was chatting with a relative who expressed a desire to laugh so hard he cried, or almost cried. He told her that he had not done this in a long, long, time. We three friends looked at each other and said simultaneously, "I do that all the time!"

To laugh so deeply and loudly and for so long that your belly reverberates with it, and your face feels like it could split open, and tears stream down your face, now that feels good. We talked them about what makes us laugh.

One friend likes to listen to comedy on the radio. CBC Radio has some brilliantly funny shows: The Debaters,  This is That, and The Irrelevant Show are all hilarious. I like to listen to the stories on The Vinyl Cafe too. It's not knock-down-drag-out funny like the others, but most of Stuart McLean's stories have a climax that causes me to shout with laughter, even if I am driving by myself in the car, or walking along, listening to my iPod.

We talked about funny films too. I think Charlie Chaplin and the Marx Brothers are very very funny. There are lots of modern, funny movies, but the old timey stuff is just so absurdly funny, I find it irresistable.

Then there's the category of funny mistakes, conveniently collected and posted online for your enjoyment. Try looking at Damn You Autocorrect without chortling. I somehow manage to forget about this site until I am in an airport. That woman in the boarding gate lounge falling off of her seat? That's me, maximizing the laughs available from my 15 minutes of free airport internet. Cake Wrecks is pretty funny too. Oh my, Andy just came downstairs to see why I was laughing so loudly, so I showed him Cake Wrecks. I think it's funny. He isn't so sure.

I once got caught in a laughing fit at a funeral. Luckily we were not in the chapel yet, just outside in the parking lot. I had to duck behind a car so that nobody would see me and be offended or hurt. I did not think it was funny that a friend's parent had died, but some small funny thing set me off. I think it was nervous energy that caused me to experience a moment of entirely inappropriate hysterical laughter.

Of course, when we were kids we always laughed fully, loudly, deeply and convulsively. One kid would laugh, then the others would join, and just when the laughter was dying down, somebody would hoot, or gasp or snort, and we'd be off again. This type of laughing felt so good, and it was almost impossible to stop laughing. I remember this especially from sleepover parties. We would all be crazy with tired silliness and we could not stop laughing even when the host kid's Mom or Dad spoke very sternly to us: "It is midnight now, and time to be quiet and sleep!" "OK...BAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!"

When adults laugh for silly or immature reasons, or make up silly or immature ways to provoke laughter, I have to love it. This playfulness is something that we should practice whenever we can. So here's a list of a few things you can do to make yourself (or other silly people around you) laugh:
  • Sing "My Favorite Things" from The Sound of Music with a lisp. "Raindropth on rotheth, and whithkerth on kittenth..." Go ahead, I dare you to do this (er thith) with a straight face.
  • Wear your underwear on the outside of your clothing.
  • Find a bunch of things in your house: books, ornaments, coffee cups, whatever, and line them up down your hallway or across your living room. When someone asks you what it is, make up an answer that amazes them and amuses you.
  • Play with silly putty or throw one of those sticky octopus toys at the wall. 
  • Borrow a pair of shoes much too big for you, and wear them out in public. 
  • Ask a small child to tell you a funny story. Warn the child that you are not allowed to laugh. The child will make it his or her mission to MAKE YOU LAUGH.
You get the idea. Just be silly and find out how it feels. The worst thing that might happen is someone will laugh. Maybe you will laugh. Even if you are the only one who thinks you are funny, that's okay! You will have fun. You will be well. If you do it right, your face will ache and your belly will hurt, all in a good way.

question: what makes you laugh?

mompoet - I hope you laugh

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