“Laughter is the best medicine,” they say. Laughter is a natural elevator, lifting us up. Therefore, it allows us to see things differently, to see the absurd in the mundane; it helps us in untold ways. We seek to join in with others laughing, “what’s the joke? what did I miss?” To me, laughter is a phenomenon. It’s this strange thing we do with our friends, classmates or family, sometimes even strangers. Humour works to break the tension, promotes empathy; it pulls down barriers and creates sameness. Humour encourages us to be forgiving and open-minded.
I love laughing. Laughing till it hurts, laughing till I make stupid sounds out of my mouth. I love excellent comedy because it makes me laugh and when I’m laughing, NOTHING ELSE MATTERS!
My dad is hilarious. My dad is a rule-breaker, and he breaks the rules (sometimes, I think) for comic effect. He’s like a big kid, and he’s a great storyteller. When he tells us a story about some guy he knew back in the 70s, he gets really animated, and his face fills with expression. He gets up and uses the space to tell his story. These moments are filled with magic.
As a child, and to this day, my dad can have me in stitches. My dad uses humour to offset his depression. He grew up in post-war Britain, “we didn’t have feelings in the ’50s.” is his bitter summary of that time. My dad had feelings, and that was really hard for him. His early adult life was a run of addictions and bad decisions, and although he found recovery when I was young. He still beats himself up for what he could have done better.
Dad would have us every weekend or so. He was hilarious back then, he broke the rules, and we laughed about it. My reasonably sensible sister would tell him off, “Dad, you can’t park there!” or “dad, you can’t take that.” He would reply nonchalantly “, just did.” and off he went. When he was a child, he lost trust in authority after enduring institutionalized abuse at boarding school. My father would make a point of showing us that a rule or a law is there to be defied. Perhaps, not a great way to influence the young but certainly another way of looking at things.
When my family watched my last show, ‘(Un)expecting.’ This was a nerve-wracking experience; it was a vulnerable piece of work.
In my show, I am constantly plagued by my ego; a vast recorded version of me pops in every so often to say horrible things to me.
My stepdad and mum laughed, and my dad watched without reaction.
After I spoke to my dad; He says, “you didn’t mention me once; you are just talking about your mum.” then he said, “I’m the ego. that’s me.”
“No, dad, that is my ego; that is me speaking to myself.” He can’t hear me; he’s just convinced he’s the one that’s caused the pain and suffering of my ego. Yes, we have a critical family system, the generations above us were never good enough. That message has been communicated down the ranks. The reality was, Sharing my truth through comedy helped me ‘own’ my story. It was nothing to do with him. We then talk about my Dad’s depression and mine; I tell him for the 10 hundredth time he’s a good dad because he was there, he did his best, and that was good enough.
Comedy Therapy helps you find ways to make yourself (or others) smile and laugh more. There is humour to be found in the most difficult of lived experiences. The results of digging deep are magnificent. Whether our stories are the same or not, we all struggle with complicated feelings. We are all human.