What happens when we laugh? Our face and other muscles stretch, our blood pressure goes up in a good way, and we breath faster sending more oxygen throughout our body. William Fry, a pioneer in laughter research, says it took him ten minutes using a rowing machine to increase his heart rate to the same level he achieved in one minute of hearty laughter. It sounds like a good thing to add to an exercise routine without leaving the house.
Modern science states that deep belly laughs keep people healthy. Laughter is a medicine available to everyone–rich or poor, young or old, everyone! It is a universal language. Different things make different people laugh, but to get those emotionally healthy laughs that we cannot stop and that bring tears to our eyes, most people need to see something they think is truly hilarious.
All through history, people have enjoyed the funny antics of clowns. Children and adults alike know many clowns by name. The hobo clown costume was made famous by Emmett Kelly who created Weary Willie, a down and out hobo dressed in tattered clothes. Sunshine Clown, created by Oleg Popov in the Soviet Union, is loved for his positive personality. The clown Ronald McDonald became a mascot for McDonalds hamburgers. You don’t have to go to the circus to enjoy the laughter clowns bring, today they can be found at private parties and hospitals.
In the past, people went to the movie theater to “laugh at” their favorite comedian. The movie houses roared as they watched the ridiculous situations Laurel and Hardy, The Little Rascals, Mickey Rooney, Charlie Chaplin, and Lucille Ball got themselves into and out off! In the 1950s television allowed them to see some of their favorite comedians in the surroundings of their home. There probably isn’t anyone of that generation who hasn’t seen at least one episode of I Love Lucy or The Andy Griffith Show. No matter how many times they watch the reruns of their favorite movies or TV shows, they still get those healthy laughs!
Today comedians who started in standup comedy, have their own television shows. Recent years have also introduced audiences to several animated comedy series. The animated characters are able to get away with things that living, breathing, human characters cannot. Take for example The Flintstones, the first animated series to hold a prime-time slot. It was the longest-running and the most financially successful animated show for three decades. Only animated Fred Flintstone could do things that would get him fired and rehired before the end of the episode and people would laugh at the situation. The Simpsons television cartoon series features a rebellious teenager, Bart Simpson, who gets laughs for his behavior only because he is seen on television as an animated character.
When you need a good laugh, just go to U-tube. It is flooded with videos of babies and toddlers saying and doing silly things and the videos of animal antics will have you laughing uncontrollably. Laughter can be felt around the world! Do you feel it?
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