Sunday, June 14, 2009

Ten Laugh Stops Online

Speakers and entertainers are told to leave ‘em laughing. Same goes for writers and people in general. I’m all of those, so I’m taking heed. And when I’m done with this article, I want you to be “he-he-heed” along with me!

This week, Hot Flashbacks, Cool Insights blog leaves one phase of its history for another, moving from an emphasis on baby boomers and onto spirited living and the subtle signals we get right before our eyes about how to make our lives work. In this evolving door, I’m not sure whether I’m coming or going, but I could use some laughs at this crossroads. I figured you could, too.

Since research is one of my passions, I thought I’d put together a Top 10 List of fun places to stop when you need an insanity break, a feel-good respite, or a belly laugh. Bookmark these sites and send me your laugh track!

. Swami Beyondananda - Steve Bhaerman has been making me laugh as the Swami for two decades. He’s outrageous as ever. Take a flying carpet ride with the guy whose comedy has been called “irreverently uplifting” and has been described both as “comedy disguised as wisdom” and “wisdom disguised as comedy.”

Jeff Dunham – He walks the fine line between the sweet guy next door and his politically incorrect alter ego, voiced through his puppets. Jeff’s friends in his suitcase give voice to what we’re really thinking in our heads half the time but would never say out loud. He has single-handedly resurrected ventriloquism and brought it to new heights as a comedic art. Time magazine calls him the #1 most popular stand-up comedian in the US. If you haven’t met his “dummies” Peanut, Walter, Achmed the Dead Terrorist, Bubba, or Jose Jalapeno (on a Steek), you are in for some bust-a-gut moments as you watch video clips on his site or some even more outlandish ones on You Tube.

Stephen Colbert – Is it just me, or is this guy his own straight man? Sample tweet from his Twitter feed: “New haircut makes me a more aerodynamic typist. Now up to 10 wpm!” Follow him on Twitter or watch some of his videos.

How Laughter Works – One of my absolute favorite sites ever, this amazing article on How Stuff Works covers what laughter is, why we laugh, laughter on the brain, what’s funny, laughter and health, and much more. You’ll learn that the physiological study of laughter has its own name – gelotology. (Is that because when we laugh hard, our bellies wiggle like gelatin/Jello?) This could be the most fun biology class you’ve ever taken.

Jib Jab - What’s not to love about a site where you can plaster your face on animated characters and watch yourself boogie and cavort like you were a kid again? Jib Jab’s political videos are beyond a hoot.

TVLand’s Classic Shows – I started with “I Love Lucy,” then noticed the whole treasure trove in the navigation bar, many with full episodes available online. Bob Newhart, Bill Cosby, The Jeffersons, the Munsters. Pop some popcorn and don’t get too much grease on the keyboard!

A Prairie Home Companion with Garrison Keillor – I think he’s one of the funniest men on earth. In addition to public radio, you can hear MP3 clips of the shows and enjoy a virtual trip to Lake Woebegone “where all the women are strong, all the men are good-looking, and all the children are above average.” If you ever can catch one of his broadcasts dedicated to jokes, don’t miss it.

Laugh In – Yep, I’m a nostalgia nut! I thought this was just about the silliest, goofiest show ever, and here are some clips to prove it.

Blazing Saddles – I’m not sure there has ever been a funnier movie written, except for—possibly—Young Frankenstein. (Do I love Mel Brooks?) I think I’m still crying from laughing 30 years later! Blazing Saddles was so outrageous in its day, and it still is, debuting in the movies things we’ve never heard before on a soundtrack. Here are some clips to take you back …

Saturday Night Live – From the early days of Bass-o-Matic and other outlandish commercial parodies to Tina Fey’s more recent portrayal of Sarah Palin, this show has something for everyone. I still rent DVDs of the early years and the original cast.

Enjoy these laugh stops. Please comment and share some of your own!


Photo credit: THE JOY OF LAUGHTER © Studio


PopArtDiva said...

Oh, I love Jeff Dunham - he (and his "friends") are HILARIOUS!

And Blazing Saddles is still one of my all time favorites - I adore Mel Brooks. You know, just the title of his movie "Robin Hood, Men in Tights" always cracks me up...."we're men, we're men in tights..." hehehe

Thanks for stopping by my musical memories post, Heart and Soul - A musical family thread for over 40 years. Glad it tickled your fancy as well as the keyboards!

Eileen Williams said...

Leave 'em laughing--what a great list of entertainers who do just that! Several are new to me and I can't wait to check them out but you have a number of my old favorites. Yes, nostalgia and laughter do go together and nothing beats the oldies for putting a smile on my face!

Joyce Mason said...

PopArt, Mel is truly demented in a good way, LOL! ("It's good to be King!") Laughter will get us through anything.

Eileen, even though there are plenty of great comedians now, I have to say, the early days of TV and films had true genius. Often it was a result of the collaboration of many crazies. As a writer, I admire those comedic think tanks so much! Got a glimpse of that in the modern era in the short-lived TV show "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip." The synergy of many people working together to put together a laughter-filled hour was a sight to behold behind the scenes. I am even more in awe of those early pioneers in comedy after seeing what hard work those few moments of laughter sometimes takes to create.