1. Evidence that Laughter’s Healing Powers are Vastly Overrated
I could give you a million examples of how laughter is not better than, say, chemotherapy (Gilda Radner). But that’s too disheartening, even for me. Instead, let’s look at some other things laughter doesn’t do much for:
- Depression. Laughter is supposed to elevate your mood when you’re down. However, this disease in itself pretty much renders even the funniest jokes ineffective. Take this knock-knock joke:
Funny Person: Knock knock.
Depressed Person: Go away.
Funny Person: Seriously, c’mon. Knock knock.
Depressed Person: Life is pointless, and we’re all going to die someday.
Funny Person: You’re right. I think I’ll go hide under the covers now.
Score: Depression 1, Laughter 0.
- Stress. This website lists a whole bunch of things that you can do to start laughing and alleviate stress, like go to a funny movie or a comedy club, host a game night with your friends, or read a funny book. I’m stressed because I have no time to do the things I want to, like read. This stress solution is inherently flawed.
- Heart Disease. Another health bonus of laughter is that it improves the function of blood vessels and helps protect your heart. This is a total lie, which I think is clearly proven in this next section . . .
2. Laughter Has Dangerous Side Effects
According to this article in the New York Times, laughing has some pretty serious side effects that don’t even flash up as a warning when you’re watching a particularly witty rerun of Roseanne. These side effects include:
- Heart failure (you know, when your heart stops pumping blood)
- Boerhaave syndrome (spontaneous rupturing of the esophagus)
- Cardiac arrhythmia (which can result in heart attack or stroke)
- Pilgaard-Dahl syndrome (laughing so hard your lung collapses)
- Syncope (passing out, like onto a train track or into a pool of water/broken glass)
- Giggle incontinence
3. Case Study: The Poisoning of Wallace Shawn
If you have not seen The Princess Bride, please stop reading this blog post immediately and do so. It’s okay. I’ll wait.
Wow, it took you some time to get back here. Watched it twice, did you? I know. It’s the best movie ever. Except for that one scene. You know, the one that completely disproves the “laughter is the best medicine” theory.
In the Battle of Wits, Vizzini (Wallace Shawn) and the Man in Black (Cary Elwes) drink from glasses of wine, one of which (if the Man in Black hadn’t cheated) contains deadly iocaine powder. This is the result:
I think this sums up my point perfectly. Laughter’s fine and all, but when it comes down to it, you’re better off trusting western medicine and not drinking poison.
Disclaimer: None of the above, of course, applies to this blog, which has been known to boost immunity, add joy and zest to life, and induce labor.