Charlie Chaplain once said, “To truly laugh, you must be able to take your pain and play with it.” I suppose that’s why some of the funniest people out there–Stephen Colbert, Robin Williams, Ben Stiller, Art Buchwald–have journeyed through periods of torment.
There is an unspoken message hidden within a chuckle–even the slightest cackle– that says this: “I promise, you’ll get through this.” Just like the comforting hug of your mom when you were three. In fact, New York City’s Big Apple Circus has used humor to console sick children since 1986, when they started sending teams of clowns into hospital rooms with “rubber chicken soup” and other fun surprises. “Its for the children, yes,” explains Jane Englebardt, deputy director of the circus, in an “American Fitness” article. “But it’s also for the parents who, when they hear their children laugh for the first time in days or weeks, know everything’s going to be O.K.”