Wednesday, 11 March 2015

The Gift of Laughter by Tim Piotrowski


It seems fitting that I write my observations about humor on the day of Saturday Night Live’s 40th anniversary. I was just a kid when Saturday Night Live was on the air in the mid-to-late 70’s, but I remember watching it with my mom.  Interesting to note, in those days, half the jokes on the show (especially the ones about sex) went over my head.  I remember asking my mom what was so funny when the audience laughed at those jokes.  My favorite part of the show in those days was the segment on the fake news broadcast when Gilda Radner did her Rosanne Rossanna Danna segment.  I remember laughing hard at her segment – she always seemed to go off on a tangent or get something wrong and then she would say, “nevermind” at the end.  I would say, looking back, that Saturday Night Live was one of my most influential television programs that brought me laughter.  I’d also say that because of all of the adult humor, there was a feeling of excitement to me…like I wasn’t supposed to be watching, but I did.  I’d say that Eddie Murphy would end up being my favorite SNL performer.  Today, I don’t watch Saturday Night Live too often. It doesn’t seem as funny to me.  Am I too old?  Despite this, I love what Saturday Night Live represents…sketch comedy on live television.  I think I would be disappointed if it were to go off the air. 
Last month, I watched a few episodes of Key and Peele on Comedy Central and had some of the heartiest laughs I’ve had in a long time.  These were therapeutic laughs, laughs so hard I could barely catch my breath.  These laughs don’t happen often, but when they do it’s just about the best feeling in the world. 
I may have mentioned this in previous entries, but I think television sometimes gets a bad rap as a time-waster.  Perhaps, for some people, it is.  Everything in moderation, right?  But after a difficult, stressful day at work, there’s nothing better than turning out your favorite show and having a few laughs.  As long as we’re not ignoring our responsibilities and our family, I see no harm in having a few laughs for an hour every night. 
I’m a member of a book club among some friends of mine. We got together on Friday and a local restaurant/bar.  Most of our books are more serious and considered, more or less, literature.  Our meeting, in itself, was funny – a good time. I’d recommend that everyone join a book club. It really is fun.  I found it interesting, though, when it came to the point of the evening when we were going to decide on our next book.  My friend said, “Let’s read something funny.” We smiled and said yeah, that would be great.  Then, silence.  None of us could think of a book club book (a work of fiction) that was funny.  I’ve always heard that the hardest thing to write is humor and judging by the quantity of funny works of literature out there, I believe it. 
I’ll be honest, my life has gotten hectic. My new job, as much as I like it, can wear me out. This winter cold and darkness can get me down at times.  I know I’ve always been a “serious” person.  But my involvement with AATH and my Humor Academy group is making a difference.  I am laughing more and laughing harder more often.  Listening to Marlene in our group talk about how humor has helped/saved her is quite inspiring. It motivates me to take my laughter more seriously (pun intended). My life is far from perfect (just like everyone else), but I’m learning that we can control our level of happiness and humor more than we think.  I’m learning that it is our responsibility to create our own happiness, not anything/anyone else.  I’m also learning that, when times are tough and serious things are happening, I don’t need to feel guilty about laughing.  I think there was a time, especially when I was a caregiver for my seriously ill mom…that I sometimes felt guilty about my laughter.  I’m learning, however late in life, that perhaps our laughter is the greatest gift we can give someone.

Tim Piotrowski, marketing and media manager, consultant and blogger is a member of the Association for Applied and Therapeutic Humor and level 1 Humor Academy participant. Read more at

The Humor Academy is a partnership between Educational Explorations, Humor Quest, Portland State University and the Association for Applied and Therapeutic. The Humor Academy offers a 3 year program of study with both Certificate and Graduate Credit options. For more information contact

1 comment:

  1. This is wonderful, Tim! You put my feelings into words beautifully.