Where Did All The Laughter Go?

I recently began a practice where I watched stand-up comedy every single day. It wasn’t something I really considered important or practical, but it was something I enjoyed. I constantly searched for new standup specials: Louis C.K. Gabriel Iglesias, Kevin Hart, Dave Chappelle, John Pinette, Katt Williams, etc.

I laughed very hard. Every single day I inserted a reason to laugh without even realizing it. As children we laugh about 300 times a day. As an adult, that number is reduced to a meager 7 times.

laughing

How did we go from 300 to 7? Did we cross some bridge of tears and now here we are: Mindless drones that wake up, go to work, participate in office politics, watch Breaking Bad, and then go to sleep and die?

Laughter is really hard as an adult. It must be, right? Going from 300 to 7? There must have been some sort of life-changing traumatic event that occurred between childhood and adulthood.

We need to get back to our childhood roots. We need to laugh more. Here are some the reasons why we don’t laugh and the activities that will help:

A) Play

As children we spend all day playing. We go to school and have about 2 hours of playtime between recesses and lunches. Then after 3PM it was all systems go and my friends and I would play until dark.

All the play was squeezed out of everyday till there wasn’t anymore time. That cycle continued every single day.

Every day, from now on, I will play.

B) We drink alcohol 

Drinking alcohol can be a fun time. I don’t want to be a downer or a hypocrite. I drink alcohol sometimes. It’s a part of being social.

For a short time, it helps loosen inhibitions and there are a variety of reasons (sex) why someone would want to participate. But the truth is that alcohol is a depressant.

When you wake up from a night of drinking, you feel slightly more depressed than your baseline of depression. Then, you go to a shitty job (because work sucks), filled with other depressed medicated people.

Then we feel like we’re in a loop, trapped and struggling to reinvent ourselves. Reduce your drinking to a few times a MONTH (if that) and see how you feel.

C) We are afraid to look stupid 

It’s interesting that children get embarrassed about some things. But as adults we monitor ourselves constantly. The feeling is multiplied ten-fold when we reach adulthood.

You’re judged by your looks, opinions, and what we do moment-by-moment. We wear the right uniform to work. We say the right things. We categorize ourselves in the correct groups, never falling out of the line for fear of scrutiny from our peers.

Kids don’t worry about these things on a daily basis. They jump for joy, dance in public and CRY. As adults, we can’t cry when we don’t get our raise or promotion.

At night, speaking for myself, I ponder what I did wrong, what people thought of me, what I wrote, and what I said. I replay my day, totally squandering the opportunities to have fun and laugh.

“Be who you are and say what you think because those that mind don’t matter and those that matter, don’t mind.” – Dr. Seuss

D) Adults have to clean their washrooms

We have responsibilities and priorities. We have to worry about money and life and sex and taking out the garbage. It isn’t fun not being able to handle our responsibilities, which inevitably happens at least once or twice in life.

You feel like killing yourself and crying and then medicating yourself to feel better, which makes it incredibly hard to laugh.

Although laughter is more of a cure for endless responsibilities.

E) Fresh Prince became Walter White

When I was a kid the best show on TV was watching Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. It was filled with wholesome laughs and pressing family matters demonstrated by Will Smith.

Then TV shows became about “friends” living in lavish apartments with no ‘real’ problems except for who is sleeping with whom.

Now the ‘best’ TV shows are about meth dealers who kill people and medieval beheadings (spoiler alert).

These shows make it hard to insert laughs in your day. There are a lot of funny shows on TV such as: Curb Your Enthusiasm, Family Guy, Arrested Development, Seinfeld, Brooklyn 99, and Simpsons.

Some of those are no longer on air, but you’re already on the Internet (reading this) so start streaming. Start with those and if you want to add to the list in the comments, I’d be eternally grateful.

F) Get some funny people

Spending time with good people is always a surefire way for more laughs. Recently, I’ve been hanging out with my neighbor (I know, I’ve mentioned her a lot, but bare with me).

She’s incredibly funny and easy to talk to. There hasn’t been a moment with her that I haven’t thoroughly enjoyed. She provides some quality side-splitting laughs and one of the few that remains consistent.

Spend some more time with your friends. Set aside some time each day to hang out with someone that makes you laugh.

G) Get some fast laughs 

With YouTube and High Speed Internet, quick laughs are only about 15 seconds away. Here’s what I’ve watched over the past couple days:

Speaking for the current moment in time, I still feel like I am not quite up to 300 laughs a day. I think about too many things a day. Ideas, what I’m going to write next, my goals and aspirations, which leaves very little time for laughter.

I have to learn how to take my 50,000 thoughts a day to 15,000 so I have more time for funny thoughts and laughter. Slowly I will work on it. How many times do you laugh per day? Insert more laughs into your day and grow happier.

Be bold, be free, and love on.