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Why a Healthy Society Needs Comedy




It seems that everywhere I turn, someone is offended. You can’t make this joke and you can’t make that joke because someone might get their feelings hurt.


Humor has always been an essential component of my life. I am not the girl who makes other people laugh, but I have always been surrounded by friends and family who are hilarious. My dad is a master mimicker. My youngest sister is quirky in the best way. My fiance is a mischievous, charming smartass. My high school friends had quick wits and thick skins. My favorite political commentators are dry and sarcastic. To put it plainly, I like to be around people who make me laugh. Laughter breaks the tension of monotonous tasks in day-to-day life. But am I really that different from the next person? Don’t we all like to laugh?


I went to a small, college preparatory, rigorous high school at which I had a very eclectic group of students in my class. Everyone was smart. Everyone was a little weird in a good way. Everyone loved to make fun of each other and do stupid antics throughout the day. Mind you, it was an incredibly successful group of people. Over half the class was on the honor roll, and since graduating many have gone on to pursue careers in medicine, engineering, nutrition, and finance.


And do you want to know one of the reasons why each of my classmates has been successful in his or her own rite? They have done well largely because they were able to laugh at themselves. Having a sense of humor is often coupled with being humble. When you are able to laugh at yourself, you have greater resilience.


Similarly, when I was in AP US History in the eleventh grade, a big part of the course was studying political cartoons. We looked at them from multiple perspectives and we analyzed the different issues and people being critiqued. My biggest takeaway from studying the cartoons was that we must have humor in our society to hold each other accountable.


To answer my earlier question, I would think everyone likes to laugh. However, it seems that much of higher academica and the public sphere have beaten into our brains that rather than laugh, we should immediately be offended and defensive.


Humor is a means of camaraderie and universal betterment. We are able to bond with each other through laughter, and we are able to get a picture of how we can improve individually. If American culture does not restore comedy, I worry where we may be headed.



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