I don’t know about you but I can sometimes take myself and life in general far too seriously. I’ll hear the latest gloom and doom story on the news and immediately start to fret about the state of the world. Or I’ll get down about an especially busy week on our schedule or a conflict with one of my children and I’ll blow it up as an imminent disaster. I’m already prone to worrying so it only takes something small to turn things into a crisis in my mind.
They say laughter is the best medicine and I know I always feel better after a good chuckle. I am becoming more mindful of when I start heading down the path of catastrophizing a situation and I gently remind myself to lighten up already. I have found that smiling, acting goofy or enjoying something funny can totally change my mood and my outlook on life. And this works equally well with my children. When they are feeling especially blue- nothing is better than a good joke, a funny movie, an off-color remark from their impish 3-year old brother or a well-timed fart from my husband to remind them that life doesn’t have to be so heavy.
If you and your loved ones would like to try out some laughter therapy, here 10 ways I’ve found to really bust a gut:
1. Modern Family – the one television show that my husband and I always watch together is Modern Family and we laugh out loud during every episode. The writing is brilliant and I guarantee it will crack you up (we also love 30 Rock and The Office if you want to keep the good times rolling).
2. Bossypants by Tina Fey – Tina Fey is one of the smartest female comedians ever and her book Bossypants had me in stitches from beginning to end. It is well-written and hilarious and I even learned a few new words along the way (FUPA!)
3. Kicking & Screaming – Will Ferrell is one of my favourite male actors and this family-friendly movie is a must-see for viewers of all ages. My kids adore it and have probably watched it a few dozen times and they laugh just as hard at each viewing. We also love Will Ferrell in Elf and my husband is a big fan of his website FunnyorDie.com but be advised that most of the content on that site is for adults only (Will is also hilarious in Old School but again this is definitely for an 18 and over crowd)
4. Stand-Up Comedy – whether it’s at a live performance or a pre-recorded show, there are some fantastic comedians out there who will make you laugh hysterically. My personal favourites are Ricky Gervais, Dave Chappelle, Jerry Seinfeld, Russell Peters, Daniel Tosh, Eddie Murphy and Jeff Foxworthy. Many of their stand-up routines are available on Netflix, On Demand or DVD.
5. Funny 820 AM– I spend a fair amount of time in the car travelling back and forth to Toronto for voice work and I stumbled upon a gem of a radio station while I was flipping around the AM dial looking for the news. I am so happy I found Funny 820AM as opposed to the dreary daily news because I am totally addicted to this 24-hour comedy channel. I now spend my time in the car laughing as opposed to obsessing over the latest tragedy or crisis.
6. Diary of A Wimpy Kid (books and movies)- we bought the first Wimpy Kid book for my son a few years ago on our way home from a long road trip and he honestly killed himself laughing the whole way home. Both of my older children devoured every book in the series and the movies are just as entertaining. Even my husband and I found ourselves chuckling away watching the films and the opening scene at the public pool in the latest movie is my all-time favourite! (Captain Underpants and Dumb Bunnies by Dave Pilkey, The Big Nate series by Lincoln Peirce, Mercy Watson books by Katie DiCamillo and Leslie Patricelli books for toddlers are also hilarious choices)
7. Kid Snippets– thank you to my friends Peyton, Parker, Corbin and Scarlett for turning me on to these hilarious vignettes on YouTube that have my whole family cracking up. It’s hard to describe these videos and you have to watch a couple to get the gist of it but basically, the producers recorded conversations between young children and had grown-up actors perform them. My favourites are Cooking Show, Fast Food, Salesman, Basketball Class and Math Class.
8. A Good Joke – my dad is a master joke-teller and he is always the first one at a party to pipe up with a hilarious zinger. He relies on his own personal repertoire that he has honed by retelling his best material over the years but you can find some funny and family-friendly jokes at Funology.com and Enchanted Learning.com. And here’s a goodie to try out on the younger crowd:
Smell Mop who?
(Gotta love potty humour!)
9. The Encyclopedia of Immaturity– friend’s of ours recommended this book a couple of years ago and it has been a source of endless funny activities and suggestions. Thanks to this book – my kids can successfully remove their underwear without taking off their pants! Genius!
10. Regular Show -my kids and my nieces and nephew are obsessed with this show and can often be heard quoting some kooky line of dialogue from one of the characters. Yes this is a cartoon but it’s actually quite funny and well-written and definitely worth a watch. Other favourites include Phineas & Ferb and Adventure Time.
I hope these suggestions will add some lightness and merriment to your life and that you will share the fun with your family and friends. To wrap up – here are a few tweets from funny-man Will Ferrell to leave you laughing: