It’s hard to ignore politics right now, given the kind of shit politicians are inflicting on us. The only thing that reliably enables me to cope with being at all politically aware, is satire and comedy. The news Quiz on radio 4, The Now Show, anything Mitch Benn sings, the Daily Mashup… It is all so much more bearable when you get to laugh at it regularly.
There’s a power in laughter. To laugh at the vile and disgusting things people in authority do, is to reclaim something. To laugh is to have some freedom still, some fighting spirit. Laughter means you aren’t beaten yet. It is so easy to be beaten down by the woes and wrongs of the world into a state of apathy and despair. Laughter is an antidote to this. It keeps us alive, alert, feeling and it reduces the squashing.
Sometimes it is bloody hard to laugh. Those are also the times when the skills of the comedian, are at their most critical. It’s when we are howling that we most need to be able to follow that with something else. And when there is no way of making a joke out of the latest god-awful policy, it is worth finding something else to laugh at. Giggling is good for the soul. It is a gentle erosion of self-control, a release of tension, a reminder of how and why to love each other.
I have two ports of call now when I need cheering up. I go on youtube and watch Ylvis videos. Their Stonehenge song is an especially good antidote to anything maddening going on in the Pagan community. A little light ridicule of the overblown that resonates in so many ways.
I also indulge in Professor Elemental videos. http://www.youtube.com/user/iammoog is a good place to go. A man with a rare knack for making things funny. Even on really bleak days, he can usually make me laugh, and I treasure that. A friend with a sense of humour is a very good sort of friend to have.
I spent the first thirty odd years of my life believing that I had no capacity for comedy. I became, due to circumstances, a person who did not laugh much. One of the surprises about spending that first week with Tom (more than four years ago now) was just how much we laughed. Around him, I became someone who could joke and play. We play a lot. Giggling has become part of my life, and that’s a big improvement.
I’ve made a conscious effort to try and get more laughs into my work. On the fiction side, it’s becoming easier. I think even when the content is serious, throwing in the odd giggle helps. There’s only so much seriousness a person can take in one go, the relief of laughter makes it possible, oddly, to handle more of the dark stuff.
As I trend towards the end of this post, I’m conscious that it should have a punch line. A lack of forward planning on my part there… which rather goes to demonstrate there’s actually nothing less funny than talking about laughter. Go and giggle at something else. Tomorrow there will be a song, all being well, and you can snicker at it.