The Importance of Laughter

Aug 20, 2018

After my recent blog post sharing part of my journey with medication and self help, I am focusing a lot of upcoming posts on positivity! How I keep myself positive, what brings me joy and things that I want to share with all of you.

That leads me into this… laughter.

They say laughter is the best medicine. I am not sure exactly who ‘they’ are, but they are completely right. The importance of laughter is so real and true to me! Laughing boosts my spirits every time.

You know those moments in life that bring tears to your eyes, make your cheeks hurt and give out the sound of a ridiculous laugh you didn’t even know you had in you? Those are the moments I live for!

Something I have always found to bring me so much laughter and joy is comedy. Specifically, a few comedians in particular.  Jim Carrey, Robin Williams and Ellen DeGeneres. Now, I know they all have things that can be considered controversial or that some people won’t agree with. I am not here to defend anyone or anything they have said, done or believe. I am just speaking from my experience watching them as performers.

Let’s start with Jim Carrey.

Ace Ventura was my JAM as a kid. Pet Detective, When Nature Calls, classics. I would scream through our sliding back glass door, watch that rhino scene 100 times and call people a ‘la-who-sa-her’ instead of just a loser. I also ran in ‘slow motion’ so often that it is still a running joke with my sister.. pun intended.

After Ace Ventura, I turned to Dumb and Dumber (which I am sure I can still recite the majority of). Liar Liar, The Mask and The Grinch (still my favorite and appropriate year around). His physical comedy and eccentric characters can’t be matched. He also has given some wonderful, insightful speeches like this famous one. I think he and I would have a lot to talk about if we went to lunch together one day. Just putting it out into the universe.

Next, let’s talk about Ellen. Oh, Ellen. What I love about her is that she can do standup and comedy in a way that is inclusive. She doesn’t have to make fun of anyone, make subtle jokes that are rooted in hate or anything negative at all. Her jokes are inclusive, wholesome and hilarious.

Of course we all know how wonderful she is on her talk show. With the jokes, games, dancing and how much she gives back. But let’s talk about her standup.

She had an hbo special called Here and Now that I watched a lot! I don’t remember when I first saw it but I remember thinking her joke about being in a dressing room was one of the funniest things I’d heard. Well, one of my summer vacations was going to San Diego with my sister.

Not only did we get to see Ellen perform stand up comedy for the first time in 15 years but we also got a picture with here! SEE?!

Ellen has brought so much joy to my life and seeing her perform was a night that boosted my happiest through the roof!

Lastly, the reason I thought of this blog post in the first place, Robin Williams.

I would say that of the three, he was my comedy idol for the longest. As a kid, I was all about Aladdin. No surprise there.

But also Fern Gully, Mrs Doubtfire, Mork & Mindy, Hook, Jumanji, Flubber. There was nothing he did that I didn’t love.

Then I grew up, continued to love these films. And discovered The Birdcage. I thought I had seen everything this comedy genius does.. then as I developed my love for theatre and film and intricate stories, I learned about his serious roles.

Dead Poets Society, Good Will Hunting, Patch Adams (could be comedy or drama, really!). I was completely and utterly in awe of the pure talent of this man.

Not only was he a phenomenal actor and comedian, that can’t be argued. But he was just as charismatic and amazing in interviews, performing stand up and in every clip I ever saw of him. I read every article, watched every movie and remained one of his biggest fans.

When the news of his death came, it hit me hard.

I have never been shaken up by a celebrity death before. Sure, there were ones I was sad about. But when it came down to it, I was sad that the artist I admired was gone. With Robin, it felt like more. It felt like not only was the artist I admired gone, but a friend.

I had spent years and years with him apart of my life in an odd way.

But after the selfishness of that wore off, the reality set in.

He was struggling with something so much more than we all knew. He wasn’t just a loved performer, he was a father. A friend. Someone who couldn’t continue living on this earth anymore and felt there was only one option.

There is a lot about suicide that doesn’t get discussed and I don’t think I am the person to have that conversation. I am just not educated enough about the situation he (or anyone in that or a similar situation) was in.But what I can tell you is that of my experience.

My experience with mental health and self care. But also, my experience with laughter.

I make it a point to laugh every day. And on days that feel dark and scary and like there isn’t anything to laugh at, I turn on some Jim or Ellen or Robin and cycle through until that laugh breaks through. Thankfully for me, it always does.

And if you’re needing a laugh, I’ll try my best. But if you need a friend to learn on, that I can do.

 

selfie with ellen degeneres in san diego

Keep laughing

Riane

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