2002-05-09 / Arts & Entertainment

C’est La Vie

By Don Flood

By Don Flood

© 2002 King Features Synd., Inc.

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It's Good for You

A recent news article promoted the health benefits of laughing, even if you have to force yourself.

So when you read this column — LAUGH! It’s good for you!


See? I feel better already!

But I have concerns. According to the study, kids laugh or smile 400 times a day, as opposed to adults who only laugh or smile 15 times a day.

I think I speak for all adults when I say, What’s so funny?

Assuming kids sleep nine hours a day — a crazy notion, I know — you’re talking about kids yucking it up nearly 27 times a hour.

Not only is life not fair, it’s not that funny either.

Ask any of my former teachers.

Any time some kids started laughing — I never indulged in this sort of nonsense — the teacher would be sure to say in the Most Superior Voice Imaginable:

"Oh, I see that Tommy and Bobby have found something amusing. Perhaps you’d like to share it with the class."

(Study question: Where do teachers get this line, "Irritating Your Students 101"?)

Tommy and Bobby — and yes, these are their real names — did NOT want to share it with the class, since their brand of humor made run-of-mill bathroom jokes seem like

"Masterpiece Theatre."

Back then, kids thought they would literally explode if they told these aw-ful jokes to the teacher. Nowadays, of course, they’re just part of the morning announcements.

But what about adults who need laughs?

Here is a verbatim transcript of what this dangerous article actually recommended to people:

"FORCE YOURSELF TO LAUGH: Look into the mirror and vow to make the person looking back at you laugh."

This is a bad, bad idea.

First, you’re not that funny. Second, you’re facing a pretty tough crowd.

You’ve heard your own jokes, and you still don’t tell them right!

And what will your wife think if she sees you standing there talking to the mirror, "Have you heard the one about the traveling salesman?"


(But hopefully, you won’t be trying the old Henny Youngman line: "Take my wife. Please!")

Here are some tips:

TICKLING YOURSELF: I heartily recommend this strategy for those of you who are certified morons. Others may find it more problematic.

Tickling yourself is hard, since it lacks the element of surprise. Doing it in front of the mirror just makes it that much more difficult. (Believe me, I’ve tried.)

HECKLERS: All comedians face hecklers and hostile crowds.

Don’t think you’ll be spared just because in this case you also happen to be the audience.

So if your best joke is met with a cold silence, be ready with a snappy follow-up: "Hey, what is this, an audience or a jury?"

It might not get a laugh, but it’ll show yourself you’re not going to be pushed around either.

If, however, you’ve given yourself your best material and you’re still stinking up the joint, do what they do on TV — get a laugh track.

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