Laughter is a funny thing

Laughter is a funny thing by Bob Karolevitz I read somewhere that a jolly sense of humor can improve one�s health and increase longevity.

Laugher, they say, can add years to you life.

Ha ha, ha ha, ha ha! If they�re right, that should be worth a few more days.

It seems to me that Ponce De Leon shouldn�t have searched for the Fountain of Youth; he should have opted for a few guffaws instead.

Laughter is a funny thing (no double meaning intended). It has been dissected and studied by psychologists and pseudo-scientists for years, and they have yet to come up with a good reason for it � or a definition of comedy that doesn�t sound like something that was concocted at NASA.

The late Art Buchwald said to be a comic writer you had to have an unhappy childhood. Maybe that�s why I�ll never be one.

Shucks, I don�t recall that my life as a youth was miserable. Despite dust storms and grasshoppers, we laughed a lot � but then I didn�t know about unemployment, bad times or what my parents were going through.

It was fun standing in line for free oranges; and there was always something to do for us kids sponsored by the W.P.A. or some other government agency.

Another humorist said that life now is so grim that laughter is the next thing to go. Oh well, we�ve got laugh tracks on television, so I guess we�re okay for now.

But I got sidetracked by that Art Buchwald line. Now I can vent my spleen (whatever that means) on another but related subject.

Humor isn�t what it used to be! Unless it�s bawdy or off-color, it doesn�t get a titter these days. Can you imagine Fred Allen or Ed Wynn using blue material?

It could be that the pendulum is finally swinging the other way, at least I hope so. It would be good to hear a nice clean comedian for a change.

The couch potatoes call it dull stuff. Frankly, I don�t even know what to laugh at anymore, unless it�s the TV commercials.

That�s the bright spot now. It means that all writers don�t have that R-rated, sit-com mentality.

I look forward to the beef ads with their talking iguanas and the little donkey who always wanted to be a Clydesdale.

Don�t get me wrong. I like a shady innuendo now and then, but the stuff I hear nowadays wouldn�t even qualify as good barracks� material.

When a Fibber McGee�s closet or a Jack Benny pause could get laughs, we were on the right track. I even chuckled at Joe Penner�s duck.

�Now you're showing your age,� Phyllis says. �We can�t turn back the calendar that far.�

But I don�t want laughter to go out of style,� I insist. �I just want it to be an honest thing, something you do because you feel like it. Not because everybody else is doing it.�

Yipes, I started out this column by saying that a hearty knee-slapper is good for what ails you. That it also lets you live longer. Then I ended up on a soapbox.

I guess that getting it off my chest can be good medicine, too.

� 2005 Robert F. Karolevitz

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