Humour and Grief -Comedy and Tragedy

Humour and Grief -Comedy and Tragedy

Don’t be shy. You can check out my Laugh Long and Prosper podcast on Spotify or Soundcloud.

‘Laugh Long and Prosper’ is shelf help with a smile, stressbusters with a smirk, and information with a wink wink. You get the point.

In this particular blog, I wanted to write the constantly reoccurring connection between humour and grief -comedy and tragedy.

Author Steven King once stated that humour and fear are closely related in our brain.

For example, tens of thousands of years ago, the cavemen and the cave women would freak out when they heard a scary noise outside the cave. But then when a little animal jumped by, everybody laughed out of relief. Even since the beginning of time, laughter has been one of the ways that our brain tries to cope or make sense of something that scares or confuses us.

When it comes to making sense of the unknown, Monty Python’s Eric Idle has a similar theory. He says, “Life doesn’t make any sense, and we all pretend it does. Comedy’s job is to point out that it doesn’t make sense, and that it doesn’t make much difference anyway.”

I am chatting about humour, tragedy and grief today because I want to explain why I’ve been missing from social media for close to four months. I have still been doing my live presentations of Relieving Work-Related Stress with Humour because I am lucky enough to have good people around me who keep me working. However, I’ve let my blogs, podcasts and social media slide for the most part.

Last May, my dad suddenly passed away.

It was a shock to everyone who knew him. He was indeed eighty-six years old but he was still active. The week before, I golfed with him. The night before, we had dinner at my sister’s place.

I miss him every day. My dad and I were good friends.
In terms of parents, my two sisters and I won the lottery. We hit the jackpot when it came to scoring an amazing mother and father. They were our parents but they were also our friends.

My mom passed away three years ago after a long battle with osteoarthritis. She was in a lot of pain, especially during the last year. She spent the last six months of her life in the hospital with a good part of that in palliative care. My sisters, my dad, Flo (her superhero caregiver) and myself took turns visiting her. Every day she had someone by her side.

Did you know that dogs are allowed to visit palliative care?

When I visited my mom, I always took my dog, Barnie. At first, I didn’t know this was an option. A good friend of mine who is a doctor told me to look into it. All I needed to do was present the paperwork showing that Barnie had all of his shots. Also, if you bring a dog to palliative care, it should always be on a leash and obviously, have a calm, quiet disposition. There is A LOT of sitting around. So, if your dog is this type of a dog, I would highly recommend it. It’s a welcome relief to many other patients, visitors, staff, etc.

Barnie did what dogs do best – he was just present. He’s not particularly smart, he doesn’t do tricks, he doesn’t have a degree, but he just loves people. If they want to give him a pat or a scratch, even better.

During those six months, we sat by my mom’s side for many hours.

My dad was there every day. He insisted on taking the evening shift.

It was a lot of stress on all of us but especially for my dad. So much so that he suffered a minor heart attack during that time. In fact, he ended up down the hospital hallway from my mother for a couple of weeks. They ‘celebrated’ their last anniversary together – in the hospital.

So yes, there has been a lot of stuff going on over the last few years.

Everybody has their own challenge in life to deal with but as my comedic friend, Larry Horowitz, says;

Everyone has their private hell but I wouldn’t trade mine for anyone else’s.”

As comedians, we tend to be fun and funny on the outside, especially when things go dark. We use humour as a coping mechanism.

As author Erma Bombeck once said, There a thin line that separates laughter and pain. Comedy and tragedy. Humour and hurt. That is definitely true. I will tell you comedians are the first people to make a joke when things go off the tracks.”

Two Canadian comedians died recently of cancer – Tim Steeves and Alan Park. I worked with both of them over the years. Great guys. They didn’t deserve to die with so much more love and laughter left to give. At their memorials, many comedians spoke. What would normally be a sad event quickly turned into a roomful of laughter. It was almost a roast. It was all meant out of love but again, that’s how comedians cope. When everyone else is crying, we find the joke. Life is too sad and almost senseless without humour. Your friends are dead from cancer. Two months ago, they were helping you write a punchline. RIP Alan and Tim.

In honouring the humour of my friends and family who have passed, I promise to keep laughing and keep moving forward, especially during times of fear and/or sadness. Not only for myself but also for those around me. I promise to bring the ‘haha back to my podcasts, blogs, vlogs, presentations, etc. as I try to use this gift to stay on course.

If you would like to catch up on any of my other Laugh Long and Prosper episodes, voted one of the best podcasts of 2021 in Canada by CTV, check me out.

Judy Croon  On Spotify, Soundcloud ,Amazon, FM PLAYER

Until next time folks, Laugh Long and Prosper!

Judy-Croon-laugh-long-pro$per-sig-logo

stand-up-in-10-steps-by-judy-croon-canadas-keynote-humorist

This blog and podcast is sponsored by: by TROOL Social Media. TROOL Social knows that to be visible online you have to be fully committed and congruent in who you are and what you do. You must adopt the right mindset. Steer your ship to the SS Optimization & TROOL Social to get you sailing ‘on course’! Check ’em out!

TROOL Social Media your digital integration specialists on the online seas
Guest comedian| writer |Hirut Comedy Club founder Carolyn Bennett

Guest comedian| writer |Hirut Comedy Club founder Carolyn Bennett

Don’t be shy. You can check out my Laugh Long and Prosper podcast on Spotify or Soundcloud.

It was voted one of the top podcasts of 2021 by CTV. You can listen to this episode on the podcast too!

‘Laugh Long And Prosper ‘with Comedian and Writer Carolyn Bennett by Judy Croon

 

Today’s guest is Carolyn Bennett.

Carolyn Bennett is a writer and comedian. Selected TV credits include This Hour Has 22 Minutes, CBC COMICS, and The NHL Awards. Produced CBC radio plays include Mixed Media, and Pure Convenience. Produced stage plays include Cancel Culture, Runtkiller, Canis Familiaris, and Double Down Helix. She won the 2013 TIFF Studio Screenwriting Intensive Jury Prize, and was a member of the 2017 Thousand Islands Playwrights’ Unit where her play The Monarchists received a public workshop.

 

Bennett’s 2019 debut novel, Please Stand By, was published by Vancouver’s Now or Never. She is currently working on a collection of short stories, and was mentored by writer K.D. Miller. Her story Be My Zero-Sum was recently published in the Quarantine Review, and another story, Moral Support Desk, is upcoming in Canadian Notes and Queries. She freelances for the Toronto Star, Canadian Immigrant, among others.

 

She had a brief stint as a government writer and speechwriter, for which she will receive a small pension, which she finds amazing.

To find out about Hirut comedy nights, go to http://www.Hirut.ca

 

To reach Carolyn, you can go to http://www.CarolynBennettWriterComic.Com

To find out about Carolyn’s play ‘Cancel Culture’ go to http://www.AlumnaeTheatre.com

To find out about her memoirs writing course, go to http://www.BacklaneStudios.ca

To find out about her book, ‘Please Stand By’ go to https://www.amazon.ca/Please-Stand-Carolyn-Bennett/dp/1988098858

Until next time folks, laugh long and prosper!

Judy-Croon-laugh-long-pro$per-sig-logo

stand-up-in-10-steps-by-judy-croon-canadas-keynote-humorist

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Incredible Benefits of Laughter Yoga

The Incredible Benefits of Laughter Yoga

In 1998, Dr. Madan Kataria, a medical doctor from Mumbai, was studying the health benefits of laughter.

He decided to do some tests with his patients.

First, he asked them to stand in a circle and tell jokes or funny stories for ten minutes once a day.

Everyone was laughing and having a good time.

Unfortunately, after two weeks, material ran dry and jokes started turning dark and offensive.

The patients complained and wanted to quit.

Dr. Kataria begged them to stay while he worked on a solution.

Then, Dr. Kataria asked the patients to fake their laughter for one minute. He wanted them to laugh loudly at nothing.  Initially, the patients thought it was awkward but then the laughter caught on and very quickly, it became contagious. The patients laughed uncontrollably for ten minutes. Snorts, guffaws and yes, even the occasional fart led to more uproarious laughter.

Dr. Kataria discovered that whether his patients genuinely laughed at something or pretended to laugh at something, their bodies and brains reacted in the same positive way.

Perhaps, more importantly, Dr. Kataria discovered the medical benefits of sustained laughter. Sustained is the key word. It’s hard to laugh continuously for ten minutes (unless, of course, you’re watching one of my comedy specials). However, we can fake our laughter for longer periods of time.

By encouraging participants to prolong their fake laughter to improve their well-being, Dr. Kataria quickly became known as the Guru of Giggling. He named the program of study

‘Laughter Yoga’.

Since his first laughter yoga class, Dr. Kataria has trained many other laughter yoga coaches.

Now there are over 10,000 laughter yoga clubs in various countries including:  America, Europe, Australia, the Middle East, China and Africa.

Dr. Kataria has also worked with the Indian Army.  There are YouTube videos that show these military men who are initially laughing because they have to and then because they want to.

Danny Singh, an English teacher in the UK, uses laughter yoga with his students to help them open up the creative side of their right brain.  I also use laughter yoga to warm up my stand-up comedy students.

Laughter yoga is being sought out by businesses, schools and hospitals around the world as participants learn the physical and psychological rewards of a good guffaw

HOW TO DO LAUGHTER YOGA

Obviously, I don’t have to convince you of the medical benefits of laughter. Perhaps you want to sign up for a laughter yoga class in your city? If you do, here are a few exercises that you might expect to see:

A Greeting Laugh

Participants laugh while shaking hands.

A Shy Laugh

Participants greet each other while hiding their faces behind their hands and laughing.

A Cellphone Laugh

Participants laugh uncontrollably while having an imaginary conversation on their phones.

A Gibberish Laugh

Participants make up a language and laugh as they are pretending to share jokes.

The No Money Laugh

Participants pull out their empty pockets and laugh at the fact that they have little or no money.

Whether it’s a shy laugh, a gibberish Laugh or a no money laugh, Dr. Kataria has certainly contributed a lot of laughs and benefits to our well-being.

What started as an experiment with a few patients has blossomed into an exercise that is now practiced by thousands globally every day. In 1998, Dr. Kataria created World Laughter Day,which is celebrated around the world on the first Sunday of every May.

Dr. Kataria says, “In laughter yoga, we don’t laugh because we are happy, we are happy because we laugh.”  He adds, “I have not seen anybody dying of laughter, but I know millions who are dying because they are not laughing.”

If there was ever a time that the world needed more laughter, it’s certainly now.

Thank-you, Dr. Kataria.

judy-sig-laugh-long-prosper

Laugh Long and Prosper, Folks.

Until next time, I’m Judy Croon.

 

Losing a Pet During Covid

Losing a Pet During Covid

I recently interviewed my dear friend and mindfulness coach, Cara Coulson, from Pearl Mindfulness, on my podcast Laugh Long and Prosper. Cara works out of the GTA. She teaches at Durham College and works with a group called Psychology for Growth.

This means that most of Cara’s services are covered under insurance plans, which is a big help for a lot of folks.

Cara is a regular on my podcast and she has recently been helping a lot of people get through Covid with her advice, knowledge and humour. Recently, however, Cara lost two of her beloved pets. I know there are a lot of folks like myself who have been leaning extra hard on their ‘furry people” to help them get through the pandemic.  I know that a lot of pet lovers can relate to losing a beloved pet. Here is part of our ‘Pawdcast’

Judy: Hi Cara, welcome to Laugh Long & Prosper. Today is Monday which means it’s time for Just Another Mindful Monday.  Over the past months, we have been talking about using mindfulness as a Covid coping mechanism. By the way, I read a fantastic article in the Globe and Mail awhile back that called 2020 the ‘Year of The Dog’ because so many people got dogs and other pets during Covid. The article noted that pets really help to alleviate a lot of the day-to-day stress brought on by the pandemic.

Something happened to you recently. I wanted to talk to you about it at the time, but I knew that you needed time to grieve. If you can, please tell folks what happened to the furry people in your family.

Cara: Well, our almost 14-year-old dog, Flynn, passed recently. We woke up one morning and we went for a little walk. He stumbled a bit. He was almost blind at that point. As the day went on, he was just wasn’t himself – he was crying a little more. I had planned with the vet beforehand. She had actually told me that Flynn might have a month or eight weeks – she wasn’t sure but we were approaching end of life.  I was just grateful to experience every day with him that I could.

As the day went on, by about noon, I contacted the vet’s office. We knew it was his last day. Before we took him to the vet, my oldest daughter and I gave him lots of hugs and told him that we loved him. We took lots of pictures with him.

That dog truly carried me through the absolute most challenging parts of my life. He carried me through a divorce. He carried me through my kids going to two different homes. He carried me through all my needs and neediness. He walked many miles with me. There is one path in particular that I call The Trail of Tears because, at that point and time, emotionally, it had to come out of me and he was there.

But really, truly it was my time to be there for him. I had prepared for months. Then exactly one week later, one of our cats, Rusty (my daughter’s therapy pet) started to act really weird. We thought he might be grieving the loss of Flynn because he and Flynn were really good pals. For example, when there was a thunderstorm, Rusty would get right next to Flynn and he would snuggle right onto his back. Rusty was a big orange cat big and he would do this big, big purr. If he had a voice, it would be like Morgan Freeman. (laugh)

Judy: (laugh) What kind of voice would Flynn have?

Cara: Flynn was Irish.

Judy: So, would it be like Liam Neeson?

Cara: Well, he was also anxious so probably more like Tom Cruise in Far and Away.

A fighter but a real butter ball inside.

Morgan Freeman was always with Flynn. I posted some pictures on Facebook. In the end, both cats (Rusty and Hank) would get into Flynn’s bed with him by the fireplace.

Those three were the best crew.

So, it really came as a surprise one week after Flynn passed, when I had to take Rusty to emergency. Within two hours, the vet discovered that he had an orange- sized tumour in his chest. Sadly, we had to let him go as well.  There was no choice.

Within a week exactly we lost two of the fur fellows.

Initially, I kind of built up this huge resiliency to move forward- to kind of truck along and ‘Winston Churchill’ it.Keep calm and carry on.

I had close friends who said, “Cara you are handling this really well”.

I surprised myself.

I prepared myself for Flynn. Rusty was a bit of a shock. I thought I was okay.

However, a month later, a series of events brought up a trigger for all of the pain.

Prior to that moment, I had put everything into a box. Besides, I work with mindfulness every day!

Over time, it kind of accumulated.

I wasn’t expecting it and then one evening, I just had to let it out.

Tears for Fears have this great song called Shout, about primal scream therapy. I mean, for me, it wasn’t screaming- it was just crying. It had to happen. From a mindful perspective, I had to just let it be instead of judging it. I had to let it come out. That really kind of got me over the hump.

Mindfully speaking, we learn more and then we grow.

I went onto a healthier part of the grieving process.

Funny, at the time, I didn’t even think I was grieving.

I’m wondering if there are a lot of people out there who are also losing their pets, family members and feeling very isolated and alone right now with Covid-19?

Funerals are very odd.

Even when you have to take your pet for that ‘end of life’ final moment, you are wearing a mask and you’re only allowed to have a couple of people there.  You can’t have the same kind of grief process that many of us would utilize with our friends and family. There are no hugs or touching.

For some people, it’s even harder. On top of Covid, behind closed doors, they could be dealing with abuse or the loss of a parent or being sick and not being able to see anyone.

These are very strange times indeed.

I’ve noticed many people getting jealous or angry that somebody got a vaccine or a ‘better’ vaccine. Who would have ever thought we would have the words AstraZeneca or Moderna in our vocabulary?

Now here we are and we are living it.

Some people are cycling through being angry at the government. Other people are cycling through being angry at their place in life.  They’re saying things like, “How come that community got their shot and my community didn’t?”

It really has been an experience.  Of course, you try to bring that mindfulness piece in to just allow the moment and practice self-compassion. From a mindful perspective, we are just all struggling. These ARE hard times.

Our life after Covid-19… is it ever really truly going to be the same? There’s that loss of innocence, a loss of goodness.  We have to allow ourselves to let it happen and just BE with it. We have to learn how to be compassionate with ourselves and with others.

Yes, Hank is still with us.  He is the final rider of the fur posse.

Judy: Are you going to get another rider for Hank?

Cara: Yes, we’ve considered it. He did go through his own kind of kitty grief but over the last couple of days, he has come back to his Hank the Hellion self (laugh).

We had considered getting a friend for Hank and then got hit with “it will never be the same as it was”.  I think many of us are going through that thought as well with Covid. Our life is never going to be truly the same.

I can’t recreate the posse but can Hank have a new friend?

Would it be a different thing? Sure.

Would he be like that old dog in The Incredible Journey? Hank would be like the wise old golden retriever. (laugh)

Judy: I cannot watch animal shows and movies. They are too sad!

Cara: Have you ever seen Phar Lap?

Judy: No, I hear it’s horrific. It’s an ugly cry.

Cara (laughs) Another ugly cry movie if we are looking to relieve some tears during Covid is called Hachi: A Dog’s Tale.

Judy: Forget it. I read the premise and I was crying. Worse – it’s a true story! I need a drink.

Cara: The dog keeps waiting…

Judy: I KNOW. Stop talking about it. I can’t handle it.

I can’t watch anything with animals. I was watching Goliath with Billy Bob Thorton.

It’s a totally violent series, but my only thought throughout it was, “Please don’t let anything happen to that little stray dog!”

Thankfully, it didn’t. Body count was like 8000 bad guys but the stray dog lived.

Cara: Have you watched shows recently and noticed that sometimes the best actor IS the dog?

Judy: I’ll let you in on a little secret. This is how I get through watching animals in TV shows and film. I always think of the animal handler sitting two feet away from the camera.

Whenever the animal looks sad or happy, there is an animal handler giving them a command and a treat afterwards. That’s how I think I cope. Meanwhile, I’m in therapy for six months.

Cara, on a serious note, I want to thank you for sharing your wonderful story and inspiring words about pets, love, courage, mindfulness and getting through Covid.

Cara: Thank- you Judy. I just want to say one last thing. There is nothing better than the unconditional love of a fur friend. Do it. Go out there. Rescue, volunteer, join an organization.  See what you can do. These pets aren’t expecting anything from you but they will bring you happiness- especially during this time of hardship and beyond. They will get you outside and will get you caring for something other than yourself!

Judy: You are absolutely right! On a lighter note, before I let you go, what kind of voice does Hank have?

Cara: That’s easy. Clint Eastwood.

Judy: (laughs) Nice! Thank- you, Cara Coulson. You just ‘made my day’.

To our listeners, thank you so much for joining us.

Don’t be shy. You can check out my Laugh Long and Prosper podcast on Spotify or Soundcloud.

Laugh Long and Prosper is shelf help with a smile, stressbusters with a smirk, and information with a wink wink. You get the point. On Mondays, I host the podcast Just Another Mindful Monday. The full podcast interview with Cara Coulson aired Monday May 10th, 2021 and is available online here.

If you would like to reach Cara Coulson, here is her contact info.

Email: PearlMindfulness@gmail.com

Website Pearl Mindfulness

 

Until next time folks,

Judy-Croon-laugh-long-pro$per-sig-logo

stand-up-in-10-steps-by-judy-croon-canadas-keynote-humorist

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Laughter and Leadership

Laughter and Leadership

What Does Laughter Have to Do with Great Leadership?

From Lincoln to Gandhi, Einstein to Nancy Pelosi, and Winston Churchill to Barack Obama, great leaders share a trait that is often overlooked – a sense of humour. 

I recently interviewed Dr. Teruni Lamberg  on my podcast Laugh Long and Prosper. Dr. Lamberg is an associate professor of mathematics education at the University of Nevada.  She holds a doctorate in mathematics education from Arizona State University and a Post Doctorate from Vanderbilt University. 

Dr. Lamberg has been a college professor for over 17 years. 

Dr. Lamberg discovered that humour separates superior leaders from lackluster and/or boring ones! A funny bone! A haha when things are not so funny.  A prolific author and speaker, and a leading learning expert, Dr. Teruni Lamberg extensively researched this topic for her seminars and book Leaders Who Lead Successfully. She shares her innovating ideas on leading, motivating, and aligning project teams.  

Dr. Lamberg and I talked about humour and leadership.  Here are some excerpts from that interview:

Judy: Time and time again, humour has been an overlooked common denominator when looking at great leaders throughout history.  Thank you for coming on the show.

Dr. Lamberg:  I’m glad to be here. It’s nice to know that you are a humourist as well. 

Judy: I knew the power of humour a long time ago. I see it in individuals, comedy clubs and workplaces, but I was really intrigued by your research that confirmed how necessary humour is when it comes to leadership. Some of the examples that you gave were incredible. Can you share them with our listeners?

Dr. Lamberg:  It actually happened accidently. I was working on a state wide project with teachers. One day it dawned on me as we were laughing together and bantering back and forth. I remember turning to my colleague and saying, “We know that we are productive when we laugh and when there is playful banter. How do we quantify this?”

I think one of the things with humour is that it puts people at ease. But it has to be natural.

I’ve been to places where people try to be funny but they’re not. When humour comes naturally, it gets people to interact. For example, including humour in a PowerPoint when starting the day.  My colleagues played a joke on me. Apparently, I can’t park. I thought I was good at driving (laugh).  But they ended up doing a documentary about my parking. Everybody was laughing. With that, we were then able to get into more complex things. Subtly, we were able to join together. When you create humour, you are also creating relationships and a level of comfort. You can’t laugh if you’re not comfortable. 

What I found in my leadership research is that an innovative leader – a leader who motivates people – knows how to make people feel comfortable. They know how to create an environment where people feel welcomed to sit at the table and discuss their ideas. 

Judy: When you are dealing with really complex issues, you need people to sit back, relax and take a deep breath. Laughter has that effect. 

Dr. Lamberg: Yes, I actually interviewed a lot of famous researchers. How do ordinary people do extraordinary things in their work with their teams? Their teams actually changed things nationally and internationally in terms of research. One researcher from UCLA mentioned that they would have a retreat with all the graduating students and faculty members and they would cook together. As they cooked together, they were laughing and joking. As this was taking place, they were also brainstorming because they were relaxed. They were creating innovative connections. I was wondering how to generate innovative ideas and how do you do that in teams?

Judy: Indeed. Not only is laughter bonding but it’s contagious and it helps us cut through so many social barriers when we laugh with someone. 

Dr. Lamberg: Yes, if you walk into a room and nobody is laughing and it looks really tense, chances are you’re going to have a harder time getting things done. Of course, there are times when you have to focus. 

Humour is generated when there are relationships between people. You’re not going to tease somebody or crack a joke if you don’t feel comfortable with that person. 

Whether you’re running a meeting or putting a team together, you really should think about what it takes to create an environment that makes people feel comfortable. 

I notice, Judy, that you do a lot of work with mindfulness. Like mindfulness, humour helps you catch your breath. Can you tell me a little bit about mindfulness? I think it’s interesting to connect humour with that. 

Judy: Well, what I always say to my audiences is, “When we laugh, we relax. When we relax, we learn.”

I teach stand-up comedy. I notice that a lot of new students panic when they first start the course. Their ‘fight or flight’ response naturally forces their brain to go into ‘survival mode’ or, in other words, their left logical brain. I need them to get to their right-brain, bright, creative side to make connections between various random subjects and then find the funny. So, I found that by doing improv along with mindfulness and meditation exercises, those students were more relaxed afterwards and thus, more open to create. 

Dr. Lamberg, I noticed in your leadership studies that humour came up over and over again. 

It doesn’t surprise me that whether it’s on the stage or in the boardroom, humour is a wonderful leadership tool that quite frankly, I don’t think we use enough.

Dr. Lamberg: You made a really interesting point. In comedy, you try to make connections between different ideas. That’s really what creativity is all about- the ability to see patterns and make connections. Sometimes those connections happen when you are in a state of flow and your brain is relaxed. It allows you to think outside the box. As opposed to when you are trying to force yourself to think. 

Also, when you have a group of people together, not everybody feels the same level of power.  

You’re a professor and someone else thinks, well I have don’t have a PhD so I don’t have something to say. But I think it’s about just getting people comfortable and developing that relationship. I think that humour allows everyone to put themselves on a similar level where they can share their stories. A sense of humour allows us to be more human. 

Judy: It’s funny that you talk about taking away those levels of power. 

On one of my previous podcasts, I was interviewing a Danish friend about a tradition in Denmark called hygge. Part of hygge (which roughly translates to the word ‘cosiness’) is a sense of community. The average Dane belongs to three associations. Those gatherings allow people of various occupations, ages, gender, experience to play a game and/or engage on the same level. People discover what they have in common.  As a result, they get an opportunity to think freely and collaborate. 

Dr. Lamberg: Everybody has something of value to contribute. Everybody in the room has life experiences, work experiences or just different perspectives. They are able to think outside the box because they are not clouded by some particular lens. 

My research showed that the leaders who were really successful talked about being able to take in different voices and opinions. Sometimes, during informal gatherings (like the cooking class or a coffee break), someone might suddenly say, ‘Oh that’s a good idea. I need to go back and write that down’. 

Humour creates relationships and creates the environment to be comfortable. If you’re comfortable, then you are relaxed and you have a greater chance for deeper thinking and making connections between ideas. 

Judy: I was doing a virtual presentation for a group last month and they were giving out leadership awards. The awards weren’t based on seniority or years served but they were strictly based on good ideas. If you brought a good idea to the table (e.g., Frank from IT showed us a neat little trick on our computers to save time) then Frank got an award. 

Good ideas are good ideas no matter who they come from. 

Dr. Lamberg: Humour comes with building a community – an identity for a company. It makes people feel like they are part of the group. Humour is the glue that holds people together. 

Judy: Humour is part of our caveman brain. We want to belong to the clan. Humour is a way of showing our open hand. “Look, I don’t have any weapons. I’m making a joke about myself. I’m showing my vulnerability. I’m not going to hurt you. Let’s work together.” 

I’ve always believed that humour is a sign of leadership. 

When a problem or a crisis arises, everybody else in the group freaks out but it’s the true leader who can find hope, happiness or laughter to get their team through those dark times. They keep moving forward. 

Dr. Lamberg: Think of the flip side to that. At the end of a long hard day, petty things become more important. Humour humanizes the situation.

We need humour, especially now. It brings joy no matter what you’re doing. 

Judy: Dr. Lamberg, before I let you go, what were some of the other qualities of good leadership that you found in your studies?

Dr. Lamberg: Passion, aligning actions with higher purpose (in other words, walking the talk), integrity, and the ability to motivate others or to communicate an idea by painting a picture or using humour. 

I think in order to use humour, you really have to observe what is going on in the room. In fact, the times that I laugh the most are when someone notices the humour in everyday things. I think that is much harder to pull off. 

Judy: I love observational humour. It’s like problem solving. It’s looking at the same situation as everybody else and finding the solution – finding the connection between A and B with a punchline.  Dr. Lamberg, thank you for joining me. It’s been my absolute pleasure.

Dr. Lamberg: Thank you, Judy. 

Judy: If you would like to reach Dr. Lamberg, here is her contact info.

Email: Terunil@unr.edu 

Website: Optimized Learning 

Don’t be shy. You can check out my Laugh Long and Prosper podcast on Spotify or Soundcloud

Laugh Long and Prosper is shelf help with a smile, stressbusters with a smirk, and information with a wink wink. You get the point. On Mondays, I host the podcast Just Another Mindful Monday. The full podcast interview with Dr. Lamberg aired Monday April 5th 2021 and is available here.  

Until next time folks,

Judy-Croon-laugh-long-pro$per-sig

stand-up-in-10-steps-by-judy-croon-canadas-keynote-humorist

Is the world going to end?

Is the world going to end?

I know…not exactly the most hilarious, side-splitting way to open a conversation or a comedy show, for that matter. Ah, remember the good old days when we used to do comedy shows??? 

Relax, Chicken Little.  I bring some good news, even as I write this after a see-saw US election that still hasn’t been completely resolved.  This good news comes in the form of two amazing books that coaxed me out from underneath my comforter and back into the real world. 

Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism and Progress by Canadian psychologist Steven Pinker, and Factfulness: Ten Reasons We’re Wrong About The World – And Why Things Are Better Than You Think by Swedish physician and statistician Hans Rosling. Both books are really uplifting and perfect for the challenging times that we are going through.

Maybe it’s all fake news?

I don’t think so. These books are based upon facts. Remember when we used to care about facts? Also, each book comes with a heavy hitter list of endorsements including two people you might have heard of.

Factfulness 

‘A hopeful book about the potential for human progress when we work off facts rather than our inherent biases.’

~Barack Obama

Enlightenment Now 

‘My new favorite book of all time.’ 

~Bill Gates

I’m no Barack Obama or Bill Gates, but my Goldendoodle Barnie thinks I’m pretty swell. 

I give 10/10 to both books, too!

Okay, great, so Barnie loves you. What are some takeaways from Factfulness?

Facts! Lots of good facts!

-In the past 20 years, extreme poverty has been cut in half.

-60 percent of girls in low-income countries finish public school.

-80 percent of 1 year-olds in the world have been vaccinated against certain types of disease. 

What are some takeaways from Enlightenment Now

Again, lots of solid facts. For example, we are fighting world famine.

In 1973, just forty-seven years ago, one-third of the world was malnourished.

Today, because of advances in science and agriculture, that percentage is down to 13 percent and scientists are working to bring that statistic down even further.

Did you know that just 150 years ago, people starved to death in Sweden because winter was so long? In 1820, 90 percent of the world lived in extreme poverty, but trade encouraged countries to put differences aside. 

Globally, there is more wealth and less inequality.

Globalization and technology are helping more countries get wealthier. 

The wealthier a country is, the more likely it is to spend on social programs.

The wealthier a country is, the more unlikely it is to be influenced by militant groups.

What about climate change?

Both books state that developments in science and technology are pushing us to get our carbon dioxide emissions cut in half by 2050 and eliminated by 2100.  

What about the current political climate – especially, you know where?

Political ‘glitches’ happen every now and then throughout history but hopefully, a growing number of young, educated, more tolerant voters will help make the world a better place in the future. It may not be happening fast enough for most of us who couldn’t peel ourselves away from the TV set on November 3rd, but the demographics are changing. 

What about Covid?

Oh yeah, that. Well, researchers are working around the globe and the clock. 

As a planet, we have faced many challenges in the past, including war, disease, natural disasters, and political upheavals, just to name a few.  But as the facts have shown us over and over again (see my last blog Humankind by Rutger Bregman) the worst actually brings out the best in most humans. It’s better to bet with clan than against it. Sometimes, when things get really, really dark, we laugh with the clan. It helps to stop us from freezing in fear and it keeps us moving forward. We laugh, we learn, we overcome, we do better. 

Until we discover a vaccine for Covid, continue practicing the three W’s:

-Wash your hands 

-Watch your distance 

-Shop at Walmart 

Sorry …

-Wear a mask 

And don’t forget to laugh.John Cleese and Judy Croon I had the pleasure of working with Monty Python’ John Cleese a few years back. The man is brilliant and obviously hysterical. Here’s one of my favorite quotes from him:

Laughter connects you with people. It’s almost impossible to maintain any kind of distance or any sense of social hierarchy when you’re just howling with laughter. Laughter is a force for democracy.’

Until next month,
Judy-Croon-laugh-long-pro$per-sig

Join Laugh Long and Pro$per™

Your monthly dose from Canada's Keynote Humourist 

We respect your privacy. Sharing your email is NOT an option.