Laughter is good medicine

February 25th, 2009    Author: Marsha Mundy    Filed Under: Opinion

It occurred to me a couple weeks ago that with the economy, the state, the country and the world in their current sad state, we need to do what people have done in the past to deal with depression and despair. We need to laugh more. That can be a challenge today because there is so little to laugh about and so we have to create some good times and merriment.

Think back to the 1930s, the country was reeling from the stock market crash, millions of folks were out of work and rationing was the norm. The nation had never before experienced such gloom and doom and yet, in the midst of the depression, people found a way to laugh. The silly dance crazes of the 1930s were one way people could let loose and forget about their troubles and it was free. Motion pictures were just becoming a form of entertainment and some of the greatest comedians of all time were finding a way to bring belly laughs to the public. Radio was also available in nearly every home and comedy hours were extremely popular.

Silliness could be found around every corner, vaudeville and its slap-stick form of humor was almost a necessity of life.

As I was surfing channels the other night, I realized that some of the funniest stuff on tv was the stuff we laughed at in the 60s and 70s. Some of the best shows ever recorded are proving that their humor is timeless. Real humor crosses generational boundaries, it crosses fashion boundaries, it crosses musical boundaries and it crosses ethnic boundaries.

Reality tv has had its day in the sun, but America needs silliness now more than ever before. We’ve been witness to enough violence, we’ve had a belly-full of operations, we’ve been the target of enough murders and we don’t need to “paws” from our daily grind to watch animal cops rescue sickly dogs and cats.

I, for one, want to see the old family-oriented variety show revived. Give us singing in the rain and dancing in the street, give us satire aimed not at politicians, but at reality shows themselves. We want to be entertained and we need to laugh, give us something to laugh about.

America needs another Bill Cosby, we need another Carol Burnett, give us a funny couple like Sid Caesar and Imogene Cocoa. Teach us some new silly songs like “Mares Eat Oats” and “High Hopes.”

As we eat our microwave dinners in front of the tv, wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could laugh until our milk spewed out of our noses? When we receive the word that our hours have been cut at work, wouldn’t it be great to sing a silly little ditty and laugh in the midst of our pain?

The Bible tells us in Proverbs 17:22, “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.”

It is time for the entertainment industry to quit crushing our spirits and drying up our bones, I say we lobby for entertainment that will cheer our hearts instead.

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