Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Laughter and Audiences

Comedy is contagious. Or perhaps I should say that laughter is contagious, and that is a good thing. There is a difference between watching a comedy with an audience and hearing other people laugh. That's why even TV shows have laugh tracks. People like to laugh with other people. Sounds of other people laughing can lead us into laughter even if we don't immediately get the joke.

Funny how that works. We don't necessarily feel sad when we are watching a sad play or movie with others. Or our degree of sadness may differ greatly. Comedy and drama tend to affect us differently.

What is it that makes the two experiences different? If you have ever been in a movie theatre when a comedy has got the audience rocking, you notice that you come out with a different experience. Not only are people still smiling and laughing on the way out, but there is an outgoing feeling shared that seems to spread across the audience.

Dramas, on the other hand, if they are sad, can cause a person's energy field to draw in, and be held closer to the person, which is a type of defense mechanism.

Comedy raises positive energy. Dramas can too, but comedies have the power to alter moods quickly. How easy it is to think of what is going on at the office when you are laughing hard? Exactly, comedy can command your immediate attention, and move it totally into the realm of escapism, which of course, is exactly the point of comedy.

As we all know, comedy and satire, dating all the way back to the early play makers, Shakespeare, and the court jesters up through Mark Twain, George Carlin, Chris Rock, Eddie Murphy, Ron White and many others, could very effectively employ comedy to comment on political or social issues and cause us to rethink or reframe our thoughts, and the immediate laughter gives way to lingering joy, mixed with reflection.

Laughter is a powerful tool and a shared energy raising experience. Amazing how it works when you think about it.

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