Not amused

Humour is a funny thing in every sense of the word.

DD and I love watching live comedy together and have seem heaps of shows together over the years, as well as spending many a happy evening trawling YouTube and cable TV for mutual laughs.

But there are some things that don’t tickle our respective funny bones.

For example, DD went to see The Umbilical Brothers last night, blessedly without me. I saw them once and didn’t even crack a smile.

I’m not into their visual, mime-live style of humour and nothing could drag me back to see them live again. But he loves them.

When I first met DD he also tried to convince me that a series called The Mighty Boosh was hilarious.

So. Not. Hilarious.

Well, at least not to me.

According to Stamford University researchers Jennifer Aaker and Naomi Bagdonas, who wrote a book called Humour, Seriously, humour is an unappreciated, underused superpower.

“When we laugh with someone – whether through a screen or 2m apart – we get this cocktail of hormones that strengthens our emotional bonds in a way that wouldn’t otherwise be possible. Studies show it makes us more resilient, creative and resourceful,” Bagdonas told The Guardian last year

Their survey of 1.4 million people in 166 countries found that rates of laughter plunge at the age of 23 – just as we “grow up”. Other research backs this up. It has been found that a four-year-old laughs 300 times a day; a 40-year-old 300 times every 10 weeks. Aaker and Bagdonas say this is due to a number of factors. There’s the belief that adulthood and the work place is “serious business”. There’s the fear of a joke failing – and also, as we become adults, the “born with it” myth that you’re either funny or you’re not.

Aaker and Bagdonas examine the anatomy of humour to reveal what makes something funny. Truth is comedy’s beating heart, so Aaker and Bagdonas suggest “finding the funny” by “mining your life”. Notice the absurdities of our world. What would an alien find illogical?

I’m always pleased when one of my blog posts makes someone laugh, although it’s been a bit hard to find amusing material while spending most of my life in front of a computer at home over the last two years due to COVID.

Pre-COVID, one of DD’s friends suggested doing a stand-up comedy course together. I can’t imagine anything more terrifying than standing in front of a room full of people and trying to make them laugh.

Although I do like cracking people up.

My hairdresser had a bad back a few months ago and was very, very grumpy when I saw him. He said he wasn’t up for conversation, which was such a struggle for me because the chitter chat generally bursts out in a raging torrent. I managed to stay quiet for a while then couldn’t help myself and started telling him funny stories about my life until I broke down his defences and he almost cried in a combination of pain and giggles.

I felt guilty and pleased in equal measure.

Laughter really is the best medicine.

Song of the day: Monty Python “Always look on the bright side of life”

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