I’ve been thinking about something since watching Nanette. Hannah Gadsby makes the point that laughter is not the medicine, that stories are the really important thing, the thing that creates empathy and invites understanding. She’s not wrong. Laughter doesn’t cure society’s ills. It won’t solve any problems or offer solutions. Jokes are simple, and laughter, however cathartic, is not understanding. This is all true.
But this is also true: We NEED to laugh.
Every day is some new and awful story in the news, and every time you think we’ve hit the bottom, we fall through another floor. It feels like the world is on fire, and we can’t get to a window for just a single breath of fresh air. The news is an obstacle course of how bad do you want to feel in any given moment, and checking social media is like watching everyone you know melt down in crisis. It’s important to stay informed and active because if it feels like we’re fighting for our lives, WE ARE. But it’s also important to decompress.
And to do that, we NEED to laugh.
There have been times when it has felt impossible to write a movie review or a jokey Hollywood story because people are suffering and it feels increasingly hopeless and helpless in the world right now, and frivolity can feel like a luxury no one can afford. There have been things I just haven’t been able to write about. My wonderful editor at LaineyGossip, Elaine Lui, asked me about covering the Roseanne reboot before it premiered, and I just…couldn’t do it. I’m living the Trump Divide in my family, it’s been personally traumatic, and I just couldn’t tap that line and expunge my thoughts for consumption. I’m not sure that’s something I can ever really get into, especially since I don’t like to write from anger. You give me moments of your time, and for that, I want to give you something that will make you laugh, or think, maybe both, if I’m on a roll. I don’t want to write things that perpetuate whatever hurt or anger I might be feeling in any given moment. That’s been…increasingly hard of late.
Which is why we NEED to laugh.
I just spent two hours in a dark room, laughing. Did it solve anything? No. Do I feel better? Yes. Do I feel bad for indulging myself when everything fucking sucks? No. We’re not going to make it if we punish ourselves for letting go for a minute and indulging our need to decompress. So keep listening to the stories and building empathy and gaining understanding, but take a moment for yourself, too. Let yourself laugh, every day, even if it’s only for a moment. Laughter isn’t medicine but it is a pressure valve. Sometimes, you just need to release the valve. Sometimes, you just NEED to laugh.
Here’s a Vine compilation of dudes getting hit in the nuts because that shit is always funny: