Chill out and laugh

Jason - Louisa, Kentucky
Entered on April 24, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30
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I believe in laughter. I think that a good laugh can mend any wound, repair even the most strained relationships and otherwise replace bad feelings with good—both physical and psychological. It has been said that laughter is the best medicine, and while that may be true I can say with certainty that laughter is what keeps my life in order. When I have a bad day, I can always take comfort knowing that I have hours, maybe even days worth of stand-up comedy on my computer. If that’s not what I’m looking for I can always turn to Youtube for support. Call it my escape.

People are always looking for an escape. It’s the reason we take vacations, the reason we skip class, the reason we day-dream. Some people can escape by listening to music, playing video-games, fantasy baseball; my escape is comedy. No two comics view the world in the same light, this makes them interesting. There are so many things around us that can be made fun of, some considered “sacred” and not to be made fun of while others are fair game. I don’t believe in censorship or political correctness. I believe that you shouldn’t see yourself with such unconditional positive regard. If you’re not able to laugh at yourself in embarrassing/offensive situations then you shouldn’t be able to laugh at others; something people are never shy to do.

I watch stand-up like most people watch music videos, it’s my passion. I’m addicted to quotes from famous people, mostly comedians and others with a taste for whimsy, anything that makes one think about things in an abnormal way. I don’t know a better way to show what I’m all about than to list a few of my favorites and their accompanying quotes. Steven Wright is one of my favorite comedians of all time, his dead-pan style and extremely thoughtful, witty one-liners and short stories, some being deeply philosophical speak to me. Some of my favorite quotes of his are as follows: “I installed a skylight in my apartment… the people who live above me are furious!”, “I used to work in a fire hydrant factory. You couldn’t park anywhere near the place.” and one of my favorite quotes, “I stayed up all night playing poker with tarot cards. I got a full house, and four people died.”. Steven Wright’s comedic style inspired some of my other favorite comedians, including Mitch Hedberg and Demetri Martin. Not all comedian’s rely on witty, often philosophical one-liners. Some comedians like Jon Stewart make their name through political humor, Self-degradation like Rodney Dangerfield and others through vulgarity (Cough, Bob Saget…)

There are as many genres of stand-up and comedy in general as there are typed of people looking for a good laugh. Stand-up comedy and comedy programs have been around for a long time. The ancient Greeks wrote comedies, as well as Shakespeare. In the early 20th century, Charlie Chaplan invented his own brand of slap-stick comedy. This prompted many other comedians to follow suit. Today you can’t turn on the television without seeing a sitcom—situational comedy). We have everything from fake, comedic news shows, to stand-up, to movies categorized as “dramedy”, these movies are often considered chick-flicks, but nonetheless funny. You can get your comedy through other means as well. There are many comedy clubs around the world for adults to get away and relax. The internet has provided a great means for people to get their comedy out there. Websites like (hosted by Will Ferrell) provide entertainment to those not entertained by normal programming and have a taste for more off the wall humor.

Comedy is a great thing, it allows someone to view the world from another’s perspective. I can’t say how many times I hear a comedian’s opinion and say to myself, “Wow, that’s so true!”. But what is humor—rather, what makes something funny? The American Heritage Dictionary defines humor as: “The quality that makes something laughable or amusing; funniness: could not see the humor of the situation.”

But that doesn’t answer the question, what makes something funny? Everyone has their own taste in comedy, their own opinion. To me humor can come from many things, I laugh easily. Awkward situations make me laugh, as well as many things that I know I shouldn’t laugh at. Some enjoy the the comedy of Jerry Seinfeld over that of Mitch Hedberg, but it doesn’t matter to me as long as you’re having a good time.

Having a good outlook on life is very important to someone’s overall demeanor. Someone that has an overall cheery outlook on life is going to enjoy themselves and their lives much more than someone skulking about all the time. People fail to realize sometimes that the past is unchanging, get used to it. History is there for us to learn from, not to dwell on, and the “gool ole’ days” are simply a figment of our imagination, a wisp of thought long past that can be twisted by our subconscious to be grandiose even when it may have been—and probably was—nothing of the sort. A person can’t worry themselves with the inevitable…it’s inevitable. Some cling to relationships that have gone irrevocably sour, if it’s irrevocable, let it go! Many also worry about death. Death will come in it’s own time—no need to fret about something you can’t change. To everyone. Yes, even you reading this paper are going to die, maybe not for one hundred years. Maybe you will die before reaching the period at the end of this sentence. You’re still here? Good, let’s move on.

Everyone has some funny stories they can tell on themselves, and if you don’t someone close to you does. It’s great to hear stories about things we’ve done and can’t remember, whether we can’t remember because we were too young or too intoxicated. I don’t know how many times I’ve heard my mom tell the story about me getting kicked out of day-care as a young child for peeing off the fort in the play area. My mother, a nurse, not shy about bodily functions quickly asked the baby-sitter “Well, did he pee on anyone?” The answer was no, but the baby-sitter was still appalled. My mother laughed it off and does the same to this day about this and other awkward situations. Having humility (possessing the ability to laugh things off) can be very important to someone’s esteem and sense of self-worth.

You can’t take yourself too seriously. You have to roll with the punches, you have to let things slide by, you have to realize that small, unimportant events that may seem like a big deal at the time aren’t, in fact, a big deal. We all make mistakes, but not everyone has the character and confidence to take responsibility and poke fun at themselves. Just relax, don’t worry about things and don’t be afraid to have a good laugh at yourself, it won’t make you look bad. People will respect your candor.

I hope you can understand that it’s not what happens, but rather, how you deal with it. Think about the last mistake that you made and how you handled it. Did you let it get to you and overreact, or were you able to let is roll off your shoulder and get a good laugh out of it? Humor is the force that drives my days, without it I would go insane, it’s my way of dealing. Everyone has something they use to “deal”. Some may play sudoku or solitaire on the computer, others may buy things they know will have bubble-wrap in them so they can pop all of the bubbles. Some people get relief from buying shoes, or going to the pet store and looking at the animals, others take joy in going to public places and making fun of other people as they pass. No matter how, humor allows you to escape without abusing substances or being done at the expense of others. Mohandas Gandhi said “If I had no sense of humor, I would long ago have committed suicide.” if that’s not a hard-hitting statement about comedy, I don’t know what is.