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Experts Say to this Day That Laughter is the Best Medicine

Comedians take the role of delivering sunshine on rainy day

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Comedy feels so personal. Things that comics say seem personal somehow. They can make you laugh and make you think.
- Funnyman Nick Hoff


The long-held belief that laughter is the best medicine for what ails the human psyche is no laughing matter.

That this viewpoint continues to be touted by those in the medical field as therapeutic lends credence to the early scholastic teachings of Henri de Mondeville, a professor of surgery, who linked humor and healing as far back as the 1300s.

In the article, “Laughter: The Best Medicine,” published in Psychology Today in 2016, sources support its positive effects as a pain reducer, job enhancer, and emotional bridge for people looking to connect with one another. Its transformational qualities are said to be the glue that holds good marriages together.

So, it isn’t surprising, then, that in these turbulent times where the coronavirus pandemic has created an atmosphere of fear and uneasiness among the masses that more people are turning to humor to counter the gloom and doom outlook perpetuated by the virus crisis.

Responding to the outcry for additional laughter, app makers have created numerous links to make humor more accessible to all. Through apps like Joke Book, Imgur, and Voicetooner, users can access funny pictures and videos, create and manipulate their voice in humorous ways, and share corny jokes spanning multiple topics.

Comedians are Flocking to the Internet

Comedians of all genres are taking to the Internet as never before to keep people laughing during a time when live performances are prohibited due to social distancing requirements. Funnyman Nick Hoff has toured with Jeff Foxworthy and Larry the Cable Guy and is a featured guest on The Cable Guy’s weekly radio broadcast on Sirrus radio.

However, it has been nearly 2 months since Hoff’s last live performance in front of a live audience, which he says has made social media the new lifeline of professional comedians during the pandemic.

“It’s really taken over now,” Hoff said of social media humor sites. “Especially now. The apps are a huge part of a comedian’s business now.

“I use apps as a great way to stay in touch. I was doing email lists, but when you come back to town 18 months after a show, some people forget they ever signed up for it. Apps and podcasts keep people entertained when you’re not in town and are a great way to reach the masses.”

Comedy Has Become the Great Escape

Hoff finds it ironic, then, that analysts who once labeled comedy and other forms of entertainment non-essential during crisis times have turned to both for escape and solace during the coronavirus outbreak.

“Comedy feels so personal,” he said. “Things that comics say seem personal somehow. They can make you laugh and make you think.

“People are starved for content right now. It’s kind of the perfect storm for comedians. Can you imagine going through this pandemic thing 20 years ago without the Internet? People would be going crazy inside their houses.”

As a matter of fact, comedy’s ability to detract from life’s lesser moments cannot be overstated, Hoff said.

“Foxworthy says comedy is the release valve so we don’t all boil over,” he said. “It’s a good way to expend some positive energy without thinking about the negative things in life.”

Learning to Deal With ‘Curveballs’

For Tim Kalvelage, a husband and father of four children ages 14 through 24, humor has long been a tool for imparting life lessons in a challenging yet unthreatening manner.

For instance, a computer tech by trade, he sees “throwing curveballs” to his offspring as a healthy means of keeping them thinking on their feet when facing life’s everyday challenges.

“Throwing curveballs gets them to expect the unexpected,” he said. “And when you expect it, you are better prepared for it.”

Humor can Make Life Worth Living

Kalvelage said his ‘dad jokes’ may not always include words but are seldom devoid of meaning. Oftentimes, all it takes is a look or gesture to send the appropriate message in a timely fashion. How such messages are received depends largely on how well they connect with their intended audience, he said.

“You’ve got to know your target,” he said. “Throw them off-kilter a little bit. It gets them out of their guttural mindsets, and catching that ridge lets them pull themselves out and move on.

“Humor helps you to be aware of when things are out of place. It helps you to take a different look at what’s going on than the look you happen to be taking at the time. It gives you a different perception. If it does nothing else, it at least gets you outside that box.”

To Kalvelage, the true worth found in humor lies in its ability to keep life from becoming unbearable. With jokes and laughter, life seems worth living, he said.

“I couldn’t make it through my life without humor,” he said. “It would be extremely boring. Life should never be boring and dull.”

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Experts Say to this Day That Laughter is the Best Medicine

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