How comedy, laughter and humor can improve your life

Posted on January 16, 2023


By Joshua Glawson.

Laughter has amazing social and health benefits and can help improve memory capacity. The last few years have seen a revival of comedy, with dad jokes, stand-up comedy, skits and workplace humor. Although humor varies from culture to culture, making people laugh has the universal effect of making people happy and brightening their immediate surroundings.

Exporting Raymond is an excellent documentary addressing cultural differences in humor. It deals with the dissemination of sitcom american Everybody Loves Raymond in different cultures while maintaining its comedic appeal for all audiences.

According to the comic writer Scott Dikkersfounding editor of the satirical news site The Onionthere are 11 categories of humor:

  1. Irony: the intended meaning is opposed to the literal meaning
  2. Character: comic character acting on personality traits
  3. Reference: common experiences the audience can relate to
  4. Shock: startling jokes usually involving sex, drugs, crude humor, and swearing
  5. Parody: imitation of a familiar character, trope, or cliché in an unusual way
  6. Hyperbole: exaggeration to the point of absurdity
  7. Wordplay: puns, rhymes, double meanings, etc.
  8. Analogy: comparison of two disparate things
  9. Farfelu: crazy, stupid, absurd
  10. Meta-humor: jokes about jokes or the idea of ​​comedy
  11. Misplaced focus: attention is on the wrong thing

Of course, humor isn’t suitable for all situations or environments, but finding that balance is certainly helpful for social interactions. Humor can lighten mood, improve morale, encourage positivity, boost energy, refresh outlook, build and strengthen interpersonal relationships, and stimulate cognitive thinking. Yet no matter how hard you try, some will continue to take offense at anything and everything, not smiling, not laughing, becoming envious, or causing trouble for those willing to share the humor.

Thorin Klosowski, Editor at New York Times which covers privacy and security for Wirecutter, explains that the best way to deal with a curmudgeon is: first, to find that person’s baseline to determine if it’s a personality trait or a difference of opinion; second, to obtain the opinion of three other people with few contacts in order to know the different points of view of the person in question; third, ask the person directly and respectfully “why” they think so.

Still, don’t worry, because most people will still appreciate a tasteful comedy. A good sense of humor is generally associated with intelligence, a likeable personality, and a work ethic.

Another benefit of humor is that it improves health. Jonathan Novello of Michigan State University explains that laughter is medicine in five ways:

  1. It is a powerful endorphin releaser which creates a feeling of euphoria.
  2. It creates social bonds by contagion, which also releases endorphins.
  3. It has an effect similar to that of antidepressants by releasing serotonin.
  4. It improves everyone’s mental health.
  5. It protects your heart with its natural anti-inflammatory effect which helps the cardiovascular system.

Various independent research shows other health benefits.

A 15-year study of 53,556 women and men in Norway suggests that having a good sense of humor can significantly increase life expectancy, according to Scientific American. It’s as if those “Live, Laugh, Love” signs might have a purpose after all (even if some of us feel like we’re freezing to death every time we see them).

For The Cass-Man Evan Cassidy, stand-up entertainer and improv comedian from Southern California, comedy and laughter play an important role in healing individuals and communities. Evan talks about genuine comedy and not fancy shows and TV specials, being much more straightforward and raw in its delivery while serving as a catalyst for bonding.

In a recent interview, he describes the comedy as follows:

“Live stand-up comedy is a niche show. She often fails to be funny. A guy says that laughter is the best medicine to make you spend $75 on admission and drinks at a comedy club. Comedy is the business of provoking laughter. It’s like a massage of the soul, mind and nerves. I have never laughed so much as when I was sitting in a restaurant with some friends. When you have a good laugh, it’s like winning a showdown with the absurdity and uncertainty of life, the bill I haven’t paid, the interpersonal conflicts and the wars abroad. »

A third benefit of humor is the practical application of memory enhancement through mind games. By memorizing many jokes like stand-up comedians do or for the average person who just wants to know a few funny jokes to share, a person naturally improves their memorization ability. The process is rewarded and reinforced by the laughter and social connection the person creates with the jokes and it helps wire the mind for faster response times. This internal reward system works by releasing dopamine when jokes are told and well received by the audience, which further enhances retention of the joke for later recall. This, in turn, strengthens the muscles needed to build memory.

Imagine reading dad jokes every day and using them when the opportunity arises. Not only will remembering this allow for amplified memorization but will naturally uplift the joker and their surroundings in a multitude of ways. When communicating with people from different cultures, consider learning what makes them smile, what makes them “live, laugh, love,” and what humor to share with each other. Everyone involved will benefit.

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How comedy, laughter and humor can improve your life