There’s nothing that beats a good laugh. Be it a television show you’re watching, ridiculous stuff you do with your friends, or maybe just the ordinary things that go haywire. I live to laugh, but I thrive when I’m able to make other people do so.
So when I recently had the pleasure of seeing Sal, Joe, Murr and Q from the show, Impractical Jokers do their comedy show in Buffalo, I was reminded just how powerful humor is in our lives. I realized that I hadn’t laughed that much and that hard in a while – probably since the last time I saw their show.
The jokers’s pranks are outrageously ordinary – and in an oxymoronic way – work brilliantly. Not to mention their own hysterical personalities that blend to comedic perfection. I could sit and watch reruns of their show, reruns I’ve seen seven times over, without getting bored. So when I saw their comedy show, it was like hitting a comedy jackpot.
That’s when it hit me how important humor is in my life.
I’m not sure I would have survived the death of my best friend if it wasn’t for humor. It sounds weird to put death and humor in the same sentence, but it was the memories of stupid shenanigans that gave me hope in times of despair. It helped the good and fun memories trample the moments of guilt, shock and utter despair.
I learned, and continue to learn through the journey of grief that humor is healing. I pride myself with the belief that a laugh a day keeps the doctor away (okay, I actually just came up with that now – but as I write it, I believe it). When I had to stop and think when the last time I laughed like this was, I realized how absent humor has been in my life lately. For someone who lives to laugh, humor being nonexistent can be deteriorating. Grief can rob you of many things – enjoyment, happiness, laughs – the list goes on and on. When humor is present, I feel myself, and to feel yourself is the best form of health a human can enjoy.
Without getting too deep, the main importance of humor in our lives is enjoyment. If we don’t spend our time laughing, what are we doing? Life is about enjoyment, so why not spend as much time as you can having a good laugh? Humor allows us to escape the negativity of the world for even just a little while. Think of all the incredible laughs you have with your friends. I can almost guarantee those times comprise the best memories.
I appreciate even those small moments where I kick back after a long day of work and catch up with one of my favorite TV shows. Impractical Jokers, How I Met Your Mother, Friends, Cheers, It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia and my latest comedy addiction – The Detour, have all been great ways of reiterating humor in my life.
Through these unscripted and scripted shows, there are stories that are told. Some may shock us with their punchlines, while others show us incredible vulnerability and bravery. Still others show us the power of our own communication and friendships. This brings me to my last point about humor.
It is a relationship-builder. This is where I think the power of humor culminates. It heals us, it allows us to enjoy life, and most significantly it bonds us to others. I’ll never forget how my friendship started with my best friend Matt started. It was over a dumb joke I told at a play practice, to which he laughed uncontrollably. It was humor that opened the door to what would be a hysterical friendship.
Now that I think about it, just about every friendship I have has started because of laughs I’ve shared with the other person. It makes me happy to know that many of our relationships are conceived and grow through humor.
Humor is multi-purposeful. It’s a coping mechanism. It’s a survival guide. It’s a way of life. When my best friend passed away, it was memories of stupid shenanigans that made me laugh, and continues to help me survive the grief. When jobs became toxic it was shared laughs with colleagues and friends that made the days go by, and realize it could be worse.
But humor is much more than getting through the bad, even though that quality is pretty incredible. When humor becomes a lifestyle, you can’t go wrong. Because you don’t just look for laughs to get you through the bad. You look for laughs to enjoy the moment. You look for laughs to create memories. You look for laughs to make the most of what you’ve been given. You look for laughs to build connections.
I never realized the power of humor until I noticed how it interweaves itself through every facet of our lives – the destructive and the creative, the love and the loss, the success and the failures, the frustrations and the enjoyment. It is because of humor that we survive, we enjoy, and we connect. So kick back, and enjoy the time you have with a few good laughs.