Editor's Note: Power of Laughter

Power of Laughter

One of the extremely talented comedians I worked with on that show had a theory: He believed everything was funny. Everything. The inevitable comeback to this was "Well, what about the Holocaust?" His reply: "Hilarious."

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Everything can be funny. It is only a matter of timing and presentation. But this creates a problem; if everything is funny, then nothing is funny. Everything is dependent on contrast. So be careful of what you laugh at.

Comedy and tragedy have always been intertwined. One man's comedy is another man's tragedy. From an evolutionary standpoint, their purpose is quite clear and important. Through them we learn what NOT to do. We laugh because it did not happen to us, or someone we care about. A laugh is like a sigh of relief. We laugh so we would remember to avoid that particular kind of tragedy. Comedy is often a cautionary tale.

Kurt Vonnegut's sister Alice died of cancer two days after her husband died in a train wreck. The family tried to keep the information from her for her last days, but another patient gave her a newspaper, from which she read it. "Slapstick" is what she said about her life.

It's Springtime for Hitler!

Remember: "Everything is funny. To whom, now that's the question" (I forgot the quote, but this the general jist of it).

I remember a quote from this German philosopher who once said:

"Humor is a ridiculous poem to the death of a feeling."

So we learn from this: humor helps dealing with feelings - especially bad ones. It is a way of viewing things that puts them into perspective. Constructing lightness where there was none before. Nothing more, nothing less. Humor is the ultimate pain killer. Wonder what this tells us about comedians.

George Carlin also said that 'Everything is funny, everything'. As he states in his show after duscussing how raping 84 year old grannies can be deemed funny,

"its about the Context in which the matter is delivered"


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