The joy of laughter

Last night I sat on my sofa and laughed my ass off. I mean howled so hard that at one point, my dog jumped up and licked my face because he thought I was crying. I could barely catch my breath I was laughing so hard, and it was a stretch to not pee my pants. Sure it was a sit com (Parks and Rec) and it probably wasn’t that funny, but something got into my head and I couldn’t stop myself. I actually replayed pieces several times in order to keep laughing.. at which point the dog tucked his head under his bed and decided to leave me to it. I think he figured I wasn’t going to die and he doesn’t find Ron Swanson as funny as I do.

Here’s the thing. I laugh a lot. I mean I actively seek it out. I have to. I’d lose my mind if I couldn’t find something to laugh at on a daily basis.

My job (which I love), isn’t particularly humorous and working from home means I often go 8-24 hrs without a social conversation. Sure I’m on the phone all day, but ‘how’s it going?’ hardly counts as a conversation when its interrupted by 72 beeps as the other participants join the call. I like my work mates but since I’ve only met a few of them in person, its not like you’re going to spend 20 minutes chatting about the latest episode of The Office or New Girl as you fill your coffee mug.  We’re all too busy for something as frivolous as ‘conversation’. My friend Hope cracks me up – we both have the same dirty sense of humor and sense of the ridiculous – and my sister has never failed to kill me with her reminiscences of our father’s camping skills or my mothers 70’s dress sense. Our phone calls usually end with me grinning like The Joker.

But phone calls are precious time and as we all get older, time is a limited commodity, especially for those with kids and families. So when everyone else is busy, I dive into my expansive collection of comedy podcasts.

If you’ve been trapped under a rock in Utah, podcasts are generally free, weekly (or daily), and there are literally hundreds to chose from. No matter your taste, predilection or mood, there is something available to make you smile. I’ve been listening and downloading for a couple of years and comedy has kept me company through the laying of a patio, painting a house, 6 trips across Montana and 3 years of lawn mowing. During this time I’ve maintained my contact with the mother-ship (and my accent) via BBC Radio 4 Friday Night comedy, regularly reminisce about my college years in Birmingham with Frank Skinner, and join the ranks of Greg Proops fans to worship the Smartest Man in the World every Monday. Jay Mohr is both brilliant and funny, Aisha Tyler swears like a sailor and while Adam Carrolla is lewd, sexist and a misogynistic, he’s hysterical on pretty much every topic. 

Podcasts don’t actually need to be ‘about’ anything, and many of them are just one or two people chatting, which is where the joy comes in. Its not standup jokes… its really just eavesdropping on banter. And maybe you think its sad that I have to eavesdrop on strangers rather than find humor in real life, but to be honest, how many of your friends make you laugh your ass off? And as I get older, I really appreciate laughing more. Because insurance, dog food and bills just aren’t that funny.

I listen to my podcasts as I walk my dog, run around the park or just clear my head. An unfortunate result is that my neighbors think I’m a lunatic and I’ve regularly had people cross the road as I walk along, howling to myself.
And now, as I prepare myself to clean up the poop from my dogs late night diarrhea attack.. well I think I need a laugh. 

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