Laughter. Life’s Best Medicine | #MyFridayStory №286

Frans Nel
3 min readApr 14, 2023
Pranav Jassi | Pexels

Humour gets a bad rap. Walk around with a smile on your face, and everyone thinks you’re up to no good. Wear a frown and everyone thinks you’re being thoughtful and contemplative.

I grew up in a house filled with laughter. My Dad was a mischievous prankster that loved to joke. You could hear my Dad’s distinctive laugh from quite a distance. My Mom’s laugh was a hearty outburst. No wonder all four of us kids ended up with a loud guffaw. I was once ashamed of my laugh, but I got over it and embraced its quirkiness.

It’s been scientifically proven in many studies and research around the world, that laughing is good for you. Search engines like DuckDuckGo, Google, and Chap GPT all light up when you ask the question: Is laughter the best medicine? I find it interesting how more recent articles and opinions include a warning that laughter is not the only medicine.

The benefits of laughter on your mind, body, and soul and how it affects your physical, emotional, and social well-being, are many. Laughter is also a great communicator. It is a language everyone understands anywhere in the world. Laughter is also contagious.

Laughing with other people — friends, family, or a stadium of strangers — helps strengthen relationship bonds.

I started studying after completing my two years of compulsory national service. As students do, a small group of us found our drinking hole. Our choice was The Runway Bar at the Airport Holiday Inn. There I heard comedian Barry Hilton on stage for the first time. I was in stitches of laugher from the time he opened his stand-up act till he left the stage. Back then, Barry’s act was him telling jokes scattered with stories about himself and the funny way he sees life.

His joke telling skills and never-ending repertoire of new, original material, is legendary.

Watching Barry perform in those early years, weekend after weekend, two or three shows a night, I learned some of his jokes off pat. I also had the privilege of seeing him handle a smaller heckling, rowdy pub crowd. I was watching genius unfold in front of my eyes. He tells a story that changed his career some years after The Runway Bar. When he started becoming famous, he shared the stage with Billy Connolly. Billy watched his show from the wings. Afterwards he called Barry over and offered him some advice. Tell less jokes and weave more of a storyline into the show. Barry admits that bit of advice changed the game for his career in stand-up comedy.

In the 1970’s my Parents subscribed to The Readers Digest magazine. I used to love reading them from cover to cover. Every little bit of writing, I consumed. I especially loved the humour sprinkled throughout the magazine. To fill the space at the bottom of the 30 articles that appeared each month, was little jokes and anecdotes sent in by people. Those were the most memorable and the most fun. My Parents encouraged us to read comics and other light-humoured books and annuals. I’d like to think that helped shape a healthy love for humour.

My Son once secretly recorded me laughing and told me he plays it sometimes to brighten his day. What a privilege and an honour to have the ability to do that for someone. Why wouldn’t I share such a gift?

Have an awesome weekend and please be generous! 😄

As always, thanks for reading 🙏

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