|Around the world, people are coming together on different evenings to clap for our wonderful carers. In London, it’s at 8 o’clock every Thursday night. In New York, it’s every evening at 7 pm. The world has woken up to how valuable our health care workers are and I sincerely hope that, going forward, our governments will give them the financial support, status and respect they so richly deserve.
However, there are a forgotten few who also spread healing and happiness across our challenging landscape. These people are the dedicated, generous and frankly saintly satirists and humourists. They selflessly share their memes, gags and videos to try to engender change in the state of our collective psyche.
I feel fortunate to have an extraordinarily eclectic range of friends (in low places) who distribute their – sometimes annoying and occasionally inspiring – humour. Early on in this crisis, I realised that I had a calling. So, I became an unofficial Covid curator of comedy. For the past few weeks, I’ve been sharing ‘appropriate’ gags to people across the various tribes of my acquaintance.
Everyone needs the power of humour to help them through this difficult time. Humour heals. As Charlie Chaplin once said, “To truly laugh, you must be able to take your pain and play with it.”
Do I occasionally get it wrong and send something slightly too near the knuckle to a group of nice earnest people? Oh, yes. But that is the purpose of comedy – to push the boundaries. I consider it my civic duty to push through possible pique and pass these novelty nuggets on – whether they induce guffaws or groans.
During the lockdown, I am using the little down time I have to write my new book. It’s called Humourology – The Serious Business of Comedy. The book is a practical study of how an injection of humour can positively influence every aspect of business life.
I’ve researched humour, improvisation, handling hecklers and more to figure out why it is that people with ‘good humour’ seem to do so much better in business and in life.
Perhaps we should dedicate just one day where – for 37 seconds – the whole world stands to attention in front of their selected screen and gives these purveyors of puns and captains of quips, the clap that they so richly deserve. And of course, do send me you favourite meme that has positively helped you laugh through lockdown.
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