LIVEINSTYLE.COM presents a handpicked list of luminaries (some of whom have been stand-up comedians too) who believe that laughter is indeed the best medicine…
‘Laughter is an instant vacation,’ said comedian and actor Milton Berle, who was once amongst the most popular men on television in America. Berle was blessed with the insight and he isn’t the only celebrity to agree that one can harness powerful health benefits from humour. Stand-up comedy puts joy centre-stage and encourages happy endorphins. It’s been known to be hazardous to illness, with side effects like laughing, smiling and feeling fantastic! But comedy doesn’t stop at boosting your body and mind — it travels out into the world, curing vanity, fanaticism and all sorts of other foolishness.
From Ellen DeGeneres and Jerry Seinfeld to Aziz Ansari and the unexpected Maya Angelou, take a tip or two from celebrities who truly believe that laughter is the best medicine.
“Laugh. Laugh as much as you can. Laugh until you cry,” says Ellen DeGeneres, who believes that emoting shows that “you are thinking and feeling.” The wildly popular talk show host has also authored a book titled ‘Seriously… I’m Kidding,’ in which she details her warm affection for all things amusing.
“Laughing always feels good. It relaxes you. It puts you in a better mood,” the former stand-up comedian opines, and she would know. Though today she has too many blessings to count, she has endured her fair share of hardships. “Coming out is not a big deal anymore,” Ellen confesses, but back when she openly acknowledged being gay, the reception and its consequences took their toll. “Looking back, I did feel isolated, I did feel rejected, but now I look at it as a movie that I saw that someone went through,” she told ‘People’ magazine some years ago, adding that “joy and love and laughter” saw her through. “I come to work and make people happy and laugh, and it feeds me because my heart breaks for all the sad things in the world. That’s why I became a comedian: because I knew if somebody was sad, I wanted to make them feel better.” Over decades, and with dozens of awards to show for it, Ellen certainly has cured countless maladies with comedy.
‘What soap is to the body, laughter is to the soul,’ goes an old Yiddish proverb and Jerry Seinfeld knows this better than anybody. His eponymous award-winning show continues to bring joy and laughter to the world, even 17 years after the filming of its last season.
“He may never make another era-defining TV show but in the world of comedians he’s still the Gandalf of joke telling,” ‘Rolling Stone’ magazine wrote of Seinfeld in 2013. On a personal level, Jerry believes life is no joke, but incorruptible amusement makes it easier to get by. “A laugh is such a pure thing. There’s no opinion to it,” says the stand-up comedian, adding that meditation and laughter have helped him cope with the ups and downs in his personal and professional life.
He’s an Indian-American from South Carolina who often offers up a bitter pill. If laughter is the best medicine (and we certainly believe that), then Aziz Ansari is a doctor par excellence. Brandishing his witty brand of humour, Aziz is unafraid of taking on fearsome foes in his battle against social injustice and the overall stupidity that occasionally plagues the earth and its denizens.
When Rupert Murdoch took on the world’s Muslim population in a Twitter post about a “growing jihadist cancer,” Aziz shot back with a pointed critique, wrapped within a humorous perspective. Without dwelling on what he said, we’ll say this: when a stand-up comedian begins to influence political discourse, healing through humour will take on a whole new meaning.
She was an author, poet, dancer, actress and singer, but her most important contribution to the world was her wisdom. “If you have only one smile in you, give it to the people you love. Don’t be surly at home, then go out in the street and start grinning ‘Good morning’ at total strangers,” Maya Angelou once said.
A true believer in the curative powers of laugher, the inspirational American author also said she would never “trust anyone” who doesn’t laugh. “If you don’t laugh, you’ll die… Against the cruelties of life, one must laugh,” Angelou opined. When you feel blue, follow Angelou’s advice and laugh out loud. After all, he who laughs, lasts.
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