Just Laugh Already!

You may think “laughter is the best medicine” is just an old saying, but the truth is, it could save your life.


While the phrase may be a bit of an exaggeration, laughter has been proven to be very beneficial for your health and can aid in relieving stress. According to the Mayo Clinic, laughter can relieve stress and soothe tension in the short-term, and in the long-term, can also relieve pain, improve your immune system, increase personal satisfaction, and improve mood. The University of Maryland Medical Center suggests laughter can help to protect you from having a heart attack and there is recent research that even describes laughter as having some of the same benefits as exercise.

Yet despite all of these positives, we really aren’t laughing that much. Psychology Today suggests that the average 40-year-old adult only laughs 4 times a day compared to an average 4-year-old child who laughs 300 times.

According to a 2014 study at Loma Linda University, researchers discovered that if you spend 20 minutes watching something funny, you are going to have better memory recall than if you just sat and did nothing. Watching something that makes you laugh before you take a test can actually help you get a better grade.

Now if you are reading this and thinking, “Well gosh darn, laughing sounds pretty good. I really should laugh more!” Well then, you are in luck, because I have some suggestions.

If you’re in the greater Los Angeles area, I could suggest sending you to NerdMelt for Harmontown, or maybe Groundlings or Upright Citizens Brigade for a gut-busting, fairly reasonably priced evening that will leave you in happy tears, but sometimes all you might need is some time spent with some great funny TV. Why not try out some of the best comedies currently airing? Here are some great suggestions.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine

Carrying on the tradition of comedies with great ensemble casts, Brooklyn Nine-Nine brings together comedy greats led by Lonely Island’s Andy Sandberg. Created by Michael Schur and Daniel J. Goor, it is my favorite traditional comedy program still on TV. Now in it’s third season, it’s certainly worth picking up.

Rick and Morty

You want some high concept sci-fi rigmarole? Look no further than Rick and Morty, Adult Swim’s insane animated space opera from Dan Harmon and Justin Roiland. The most inventive show on television, Harmon and Roiland have concocted a formula where they can simultaneously tell mundane stories of family life and alien exploits, giving brilliant sci-fi nonsense an accessible emotional back bone. Having just closed its second season and already renewed for a third, I can’t recommend it highly enough.

Don’t have cable or just want to binge original stuff on the Internet? Well how about these?

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

Originally created for NBC by Tina Fey and Robert Carlock, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt was bought by Netflix when NBC executives were cleansing their lineup of all their great comedies. With a fantastic ensemble and a sense of perpetual optimism, you won’t find a more uplifting show. Currently, its second season is in production and will release later this year.

Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee

While it recently made headlines for hosting President Obama, Jerry Seinfeld’s short-form comedy interview series has been going on for quite awhile now, hosting many hilarious individuals from across the comedy scene from Ricky Gervais to Mel Brooks. Though it may not be as gut-busting as some of the other options on this list, it is sure to turn you on to many great stand-up comedians that may have been under your radar. To top that all off, it is available in its entirety for free.

Already seen a lot of original content? How about shows that have recently ended and are now on streaming services in their entirety?

Parks and Recreation, The Office, 30 Rock, and Community

Parks and Recreation’s final season just recently arrived on Netflix. In fact, NBC’s entire lineup of recently deceased shows is spectacular. 30 Rock, The Office and my personal favorite show, Community, will all go down in history as must-see TV and will all make you laugh out loud. Parks and Recreation, The Office and 30 Rock can all be found on many streaming services while seasons 1–5 of Community can be found on Hulu Plus with season 6 exclusively on Yahoo.

How I Met Your Mother

A nine-season run is shown through flashbacks of hopeless romantic Ted Mosby and his four friends. With quirky and eccentric humor, it is slowly revealed how he met the mother of his children. The show was created by Carter Bays and Craig Thomas, with a stellar cast including Jason Segel, Neil Patrick Harris, Alyson Hannigan and Cobie Smulders.

Still not laughing? Well how about some classics?

Freaks and Geeks

A collection of comedy legends, when they were just starting out, star together in this high school comedy created by Paul Feig. Though often more melancholy that straight up funny, it is a completely wonderful show that somehow ended after its first season. You can binge that one glorious season on Netflix.

The Kids in the Hall

This sketch comedy show from the 80s and 90s stars five guys being absurd. Even if you’ve never watched the show, you may be familiar with some of its infamous skits including Head Crusher and Daves I Know. Many episodes are now available on NBC’s new streaming program SeeSo, which is also hosting a lot of other great comedy including new shows from Dan Harmon, Amy Poehler and Wyatt Cenac, episodes from British classics like Fawlty Towers, Monty Python’s Flying Circus, The Office (U.K.) and The IT Crowd and episodes from NBC’s more recent staple shows Saturday Night Live, 30 Rock, The Office (U.S.) and Parks and Recreation.

With every stand-up comedian at your fingertips on YouTube, there is no excuse not to find some time just to laugh. Find something that tickles your funny bone whether it be a TV show, podcast or web series and embrace it. Let it soak in and make your mental and physical health that much better.