Laughter may be the best medicine – but if you’re laughing without good reason, chances are you’re the one who needs medicine.
I love a good belly laugh and the way laughter is a universal language enjoyed by people of all races, cultures and walks of life.
Even tiny babies who can’t speak or understand words giggle in such an adorable way you can’t help but delightedly chuckle along with them.
Laughter is evidence of happiness and can lift the greyest mood, dispelling dark moods even if just temporarily.
I honestly believe there’s something truly powerful in a dose of genuine laughter – and it’s also contagious.
Many a time, I’ve doubled over with mirth at a friend’s infectious laugh which is actually funnier than their initial joke.
A sense of humour is priceless and the ability to make others laugh with joy can make a man handsome and a woman beautiful.
Sometimes laughter strikes at the most inopportune moments and occasionally you get an uncontrollable urge to giggle in serious situations.
There are also times when you laugh so much, you can’t stop and your stomach hurts.
I can still remember facing the wrath of a teacher at school when a friend and I got the giggles when the class was being told off for something and try as we might, we just couldn’t hold it in and were helplessly spluttering however much she glared at us.
With so many claims laughter is good for your health and can help you live longer, I was convinced I was burning off buckets of calories every time I howled with glee. Someone even told me a good laugh burned off more calories than going for a run.
Then one day I read the real facts and realised it wasn’t true. Apparently, you only burn off an extra 10 to 40 calories for every 10 to 15 minutes of laughter.
So you’d have to laugh solidly for around three hours to burn off a packet of crisps. I tell you, this nugget of information was almost enough to make me cry.
There’s one thing that really isn’t funny though, people who think they’re funny when they’re absolutely not.
You know the sort. Someone, somewhere – probably their mum – once told them they were amusing, so they grow up thinking they’re a cross between Peter Kay and Tommy Cooper.
As a result, these fantasists view every poor soul they encounter as ideal people to try out their “material” on.
While everyone enjoys listening to a well crafted joke or anecdote, there’s nothing worse than having to listen to long-winded stories that are completely unfunny or limp jokes that fail to raise even a titter.
The dilemma is do you be cruel to be kind and tell them you don’t find them funny – or politely laugh anyway?
I once knew someone who was a nice bloke apart from the delusion that he was hilarious. But no one ever dared crush him by telling him he wasn’t the comedy genius he mistakenly thought he was. It would have been like kicking a puppy.
However, if it’s your boss who’s the wannabe comedian, get practising your fake laugh now.
It’s always a sign that your story isn’t as funny to other people as it is to you when you have to end it by trailing off: “Well, I guess you had to be there.”
One survey discovered 75 per cent of people think they are funny. That’s one in three people.
I’m not sure what percentage of people actually ARE funny, but that sounds wildly off. There simply isn’t enough room in the world for so many funny folk. Unless they thought it meant: “funny peculiar” rather than “funny amusing.”
The worst culprits in my eyes are those who heckle proper comedians – in the most annoying and humourless way. If I pay to see a comedian, I want to hear their jokes, not some drunken idiot’s.
The best comedians handle hecklers admirably.
Some of the best lines include: “Well, it’s a night out for him ... and a night off for his family,” “Sorry, I can’t understand what you’re saying – I’m wearing a moron filter,” “You have a lot of funny lines. Too bad they’re all over your face” and my personal favourite: “Now we know why some animals eat their own children.”
You’ve got to laugh.