In a world of stress and uncertainty, people can disappear into a therapeutic world that raises spirits — a place where there is laughter. Laughter is often called the best medicine, although psychologists are not totally won over by the benefits of humor on health. Many reluctantly concede that it might be the act of laughing that releases endorphins into the brain. However, dissecting why people laugh may be as productive as having to explain the punchline of a hilarious joke to someone who didn’t get it.
There are countless genres and sub-genres of comedy, from the pie-in-the-face type to tragicomedies to standup to…the list is almost limitless. Comedy movies can help someone through a rough patch, as they subconsciously insert themselves into the character’s experiences. They feel empathy and may even find some resolution to their problems. Having issues at the office? Then “The Office” may provide the catharsis needed.
Interestingly, comedians (and clowns!) are considered inherently sad or depressed people who have encountered hardship in life and use comedy as a coping mechanism. Approximately 80-85 percent of comedians came from low socioeconomic homes. Often their family members did not consider comedy a “real job,” and they entered the genre because of the perception that they had nothing to lose. This view is currently changing as the rocky comedy path is morphing into the yellow brick road to success.
Kevin Hart is one such entertainer who has used adverse conditions as fodder for his standup comedy. The first stage he was on, he declares, was the stage of his birth: Philadelphia. Born in 1979, Hart started out in standup comedy, eventually working full-time in comedy clubs. In 2000, after being cast in the Judd Apatow’s “Undeclared,” the world started to take notice of the comedian whose trademarks are his diminutive stature and snappy delivery. Hart has fought his way to superstardom and his appearance in the humorous movie “Jumanji,” which has topped the box office for three weeks to date, both domestically and internationally, can only be described as yet another of many examples of his comedic genius and ability to excel in different areas of life.
Already a favourite guest of talk show hosts, his role in the movie “Jumanji” is earning him significant exposure.
With more side-splitting movies under his belt like “Soul Plane” and “Central Intelligence,” endorsement deals from such behemoths as Nike, successful comedy tours, books like “I Can’t Make This Stuff Up” (an inspirational memoir on his life with the message to believe in oneself), Hart is currently the Midas of comedy. According to Forbes.com, his earnings by the middle of 2017 stood at $32.5 million. And being social media savvy has garnered him over 24 million fans on Facebook. Not to be exceeded by his followers on Instagram, which is over 52 million.
Laughter junkies don’t over-analyze what makes them laugh. Kevin Hart’s sense of humour has helped his family cope with harsh realities in the past. And in classic comedian fashion, hardship has also been the inspiration for many an act.
Being captivated by comedy is a personal decision that allows you to briefly escape from stress and feel happy, whether you are the comedian or the audience.