Thursday, September 22, 2022

The Best Medicine

 Like Mary Poppins's Uncle Albert, I love to laugh. 

When I laugh in public, I occasionally embarrass myself. My laugh, I'm afraid, is too noisy and too insistent to be entirely pleasing. In fact, I was once asked not to laugh so much by a fellow patron (at Forbidden Broadway, many decades ago. I did not comply, even though I tried.)

In summer school before Sixth Grade, I took a drama class. I ended up playing the lead in one of the plays we did, called (I think) The Clown Who Forgot How to Laugh. That was the premise, anyway, and during the half-hour or so of the play the clown (me) went through various experiences until he finally remembered how to laugh. I let out with an explosion of guffaws and chuckles and hohohos, falling on the floor (carefully) in ecstatic glee. My laughter earned lots of laughter. And I wonder now if the teacher cast me because she had noticed that I had such a raucous laugh.

There have been at least two times when I laughed so hard and long in the theater that I got afraid that the actors would become alarmed. The first was at The House of Blue Leaves, with Stockard Channing as Bunny; during one of those long crazy speeches about her checkered career, I lost it. And the second time was when Jim Dale was in Me and My Girl: during the second act, he had a scene where he got himself entangled with a bear-skin rug. Hilarity ensued, and I responded vigorously.

I really enjoy laughing, and I enjoy those who can bring the laughter out of me. That's one of the reasons I like Trav S.D. so much. Because when he's performing, he ALWAYS makes me laugh. (George Burns always said that Jack Benny thought everything he said was funny. That's kind of how I feel about Trav.)

I laugh at funny stuff I've seen a zillion times, because it still strikes me just so. And I laugh sometimes if I come up with something that I think is funny; and I don't feel guilty about it because I once saw Neil Simon in an interview where the interviewer asked him if he laughed when he was writing his plays and he said, sure, if I write something funny, I laugh!

It's all good, because laughing makes you feel good. No matter how much we do it, we need to do it more.

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