Nyuk-Nyuk-Nyuking Your Way Through Life

Fifteen of your facial muscles are contracting and your zygomatic muscle is stimulated. Meanwhile, your respiratory system is upset by the epiglottis closing up part of your larynx, so that you can’t take in air properly making you gasp. Your tear ducts are activated. Your mouth is opening and closing as you struggle for oxygen intake. Your face becomes moist and reddish purple. You make odd noises.

No, you’re not having a stroke, just enjoying a good belly laugh.

Daughter tells me the other night, apropos to nothing at all, that all her best friends are the ones who can make her laugh the hardest and that if she ever finds a guy who can make her laugh harder than I can make her laugh, she’ll marry him. (I was under the impression that he’d have to look like Johnny Depp as well, but perhaps that’s meant to go without saying).

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And when Daughter says laugh, she’s talking about the full out can’t-catch-your-breath, stomach-clenching, tears-rolling, urethra-loosening laugh. (We have some good times at the Casa del XUP, I’ll tell you what.)

How can you not love people who can make you pee your pants with a few spontaneous words of nonsense? I’ve had a few friends like this in my lifetime. My brother used to always be able to make me laugh myself silly. Unfortunately, his quick wit was also the flipside of his quick temper which eventually took over most of his personality and made him a little insane and unpleasant to be around.

In high school there was Tom, who was smart and hilarious but very scruffy. I always thought, “if only he’d tidy himself up a little…”

I ran into him a few years after high school and he’d tidied himself up very nicely indeed. We’re Facebook pals now and he’s still funny.

At university there was a guy named Kel who I always thought was funny enough to make a good living at it. He looked funny; he had oodles of material; he could ad lib like nobody’s business; he had excellent timing and delivery; and could even do his own rim shots when the situation warranted it. I wonder whatever happened to Kel?

After university, the local art gallery hired me and a young woman named Jena to run their summer kids’ program. The very first thing Jena ever said to me was so shocking and so funny, I knew we were going to have a great summer.

 We did.

I do believe Jena and I lost about 20 pounds each that summer in bodily fluids alone just from laughing. It’s a wonder we didn’t get fired.

By the time summer was over, we’d both found jobs in Toronto and got an apartment together in the big city. We had a few good years until the inevitable happened (as it always seems to). Jena met a man and disappeared off the face of the earth – my earth anyway. Ho hum.

Some of Jena’s quips still spring to mind every now and then and make me smile.

Like my daughter, most of the people in my life have a wicked sense of humour. They may not have me rolling on the floor all the time like these four people did, but we certainly have our moments.

For some other really good gut-clamping laughs, I’m embarrassed to confess that The Three Stooges never fail. I also laughed myself sick at Ishtar. (Only one other person I’ve ever known thought that movie was hilarious.)  But I love everything about Elaine May, who wrote and directed Ishtar.

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Other things/people I find really, really, really funny are: Steve Martin, Gilbert Gottfried (is he still around?), Monty Python, the original Bewitched TV show (don’t ask me why), Seinfeld (the guy and the show), Chris Elliott, Irwin Barker, Jeremy Hotz and some novelists. There’s nothing crazier than me laughing my ass off while trying to read a book.

And, of course, there are a few bloggers that will make me LOL and ROLF.

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Here are some incredibly fascinating, yet surprisingly unfunny facts about laughter:

  • ­The physiological study of laughter is called gelotology.
  •  Anthropoligists say laughter can only really occur when people are comfortable with one another, when they feel open and free. And the more laughter there is, the more bonding occurs within the group.
  •  Research has shown that the original purpose of laughter is/was to make and strengthen human connections.
  •  Laughter reduces levels of stress hormones that suppress the immune system and lowers blood pressure.
  •  When we’re laughing we increase the amount/level of natural killer cells that destroy tumors and viruses and produce disease-destroying antibodies.
  •  Laughing 100 times is equal to 10 minutes on the rowing machine or 15 minutes on an exercise bike. (Where “ha-ha” equals laughing twice).
  •  Laughter also gives your diaphragm, abdominal, respiratory, facial, leg and back muscles a workout – which is why you sometimes feel “weak with laughter” – you’ve been working out!
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24 responses to “Nyuk-Nyuk-Nyuking Your Way Through Life

  1. I’m all about the pratfall. Anytime, anywhere, any kind and I will roar with laughter. On the home t.v. is best because I can rewind and watch again and laugh again. That fall in Miss Congeniality when she’s walking out looking all sexy? Funny every damn time!

  2. Mr. Jazz’s job is to make me laugh at least once a day. Over the past 20 years he has succeeded remarkably well.

  3. i love to laugh, and sadly, i think a lot of people are too reserved or self-conscious to really let it out. the friends we hang out with the most are the ones who make us laugh, and have no problem laughing at ourselves (one of our dearest friends’ is the only one i know who could have us rolling around laughing after recounting a seizure he had).
    now you have me looking forward the weekend!

  4. You just made me think of one of my best friends in high school. She was hilarious and suprisngly after having 4 kids she still makes me laugh like no one can with her sarcastic wit.
    Ic ompletely agree with you about the Three Stooges. They are still on my fav. list.

  5. Geewits – I reckon you’re not called geeWITS for nothing.

    Charlene – The pratfall is apparently one of the oldest, most basic and most universal forms of humour. I don’t think it’s that so much that makes The Stooges funny to me, it’s that they perform simple tasks in some really absurd and complicated ways – and then there are the hoity-toity ladies and gentlemen who always end up covered in paint or mud or rice pudding or something. Ha ha ha

    Jazz – That man really ought to be cloned. You could make a fortune.

    Meanie – You mean you weren’t looking forward to the weekend before this? Gadzooks. It’s ALL I look forward to. Monday through Friday. It’s sad really.

    Bandobras – Ya think? Interesting. Is it like a gynecologist not wanting to look at any hoo-haws on their time off? They go home in the evening and refuse to watch sit-coms and leave the room when someone relays an amusing anecdote?

    GND – It’s nice that you’re still in touch with your hilarious high school friend and that the humour has aged well along with her. Nyuk, nyuk, nyuk.

    Ellie – There’s no one you can laugh with better than your family. Just like there’s no one you can fight with better. They know all your buttons for good or ill. I miss my funny brother.

  6. I love that you have that type of relationship with Daughter. That’s very special. I hope she finds the type of man she wants and obviously deserves. The lucky guy will probably get along quite well with Mother-in-Law (Endora?) too.

    Not to be morbid, but being laid off this week, I have also been separated from the group of people I worked with on weekends. We called ourselves The Weekend Dream Team. When we were assembled as a group two years ago, we all bought into the idea that if we had to work weekends, we were going to have fun doing it, and we did. I think all the laughter also contributed the the high quality of work we produced (TV newscasts, for anyone who doesn’t already know), despite the very serious nature of the material we were dealing with.

    It got really raunchy, and as The Guy In Charge, I sometimes had to reel ’em back in. I’m going to miss that bunch of people more than anything.

    Laughter does keep you young. I believe it also keeps you from wrinkling and developing turkey neck, because it keeps those muscles, etc. well toned.

  7. My oldest son can make me laugh like that. My husband surprises me sometimes with something he says and has me laughing until I cry. I have a grandson who will someday be a standup comedian-I’m sure of it.
    PS: Forgot to say great post!

  8. no shock but Raspy makes me laugh until i almost pee often.

    i am the person that makes many laugh.

    i have many friends who do it for me back.

    and a good show is the big bang theory on Monday nights. that one always makes me LOL. even when its one i have already seen

  9. The funniest looking person I know writes code for and sells ERP software for a living. Anyone who can get enthusiatic about is is about as far from funny as it is possible to get….

  10. whenever I read your blog, I think, “did XUP write this for ME?” (being the self-centered baffoon I am)

    laughter. it’s what I need now. I’ve had a crazy week and some laughs might be just what the doctor ordered.

    my wife and I make each other laugh, and my kids are always cracking me up. I too am blessed with some very funny people in my life.

    NPR ran a story about Laughter Therapy. I heard it while I was driving. I tried making myself laugh. And deep belly laughs. It was so stupid that it caused me to really laugh. And as silly as I felt, it worked. Even the forced kind. Apparently your brain can’t tell the difference between real laugh and fake/forced laughing (duchenne vs. nonduchenne)
    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5165226

    on an end note:
    the stooges? don’t call me sexist but aren’t they usually a guy thing. I am impressed. What about the movie Dumb and Dumber?

  11. Bob – The lucky fellow had better get along with me!! And it really sucks that your great work group had to get broken up. It’s often evenharder to lose the people who’ve become such a big part of your life than to lose your livelihood. I hope your next bunch of workmates are just as terrific.

    Linda – Lucky you to have so many people to crack you up. You must be very healthy and happy.

    Helen – And now? Is he still around? Still funny? Still able to guffaw his way out of trouble? Or did he go the way of my brother?

    Jobthingy – I’ve just caught a few episodes of Big Bang. I find it pretty funny, too. That tall skinny guy is hilarious.

    Meself – Thank you for sharing. So, you do laugh at this guy just because of the way he looks or is he actually funny, too?

    Reeky – I just feel sad when I have to force myself to laugh. I don’t know why. And ya, I’ve heard that the Stooges are considered a guy thing. I’ve never seen Dumb and Dumber. I don’t find a lot of those types of movies too funny. Getting hit in the groin just isn’t as hilarious the 10 thousandth time, but maybe I should watch it some time if you think it’s Stooge-like?

  12. Forget going to the gym – I’d rather laugh more for the workout. Or maybe they should put some comedy shows on the tv monitors instead of CBCNewsworld, for a double double effect.

  13. As I was leaving, my now ex-boss said to me, I loved that you made me laugh so much. There is no better compliment…

  14. Violetsky – CBC Newsworld? While you’re working out? Ugghhh. Your workout would be so much more fun with some Marx Brothers on the TV.

    Dave – Isn’t he a riot? I don’t think there’s ever been anyone like Chris Elliott. I haven’t seen much of him lately, though I know he does some script writing. Cabin Boy and Casablanca, eh? Ah yes, two classics.

    Nat – Aw…did you cry all over again? You are pretty damn funny.

  15. Pearl – In my life they seem to be disappearers unfortunately.

    Helen – Lucky him. There aren’t a lot of jobs where you can go places because you have a great personality.

    Noha – It usually seems to be a sibling, doesn’t it. I guess they know you better than anyone. Plus you have so much shared history to draw from.