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14.07.2011 General News

Come To Laugh; MTN, Charterhouse Toast To Good Laugh

By Kow Ahenakwa - Daily Graphic
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It sounded a crazy idea the first time I tried it some four years ago at the Night of 1004 Laughs at the National Theatre and I think it worked.

It worked because it enabled me to take a different look at what is perhaps the most inexpensive therapy to good health - laughter.

The idea was simple. While the audience were making up for all the laughs they must have missed over the first half of the year, I sat watching them.

Yes, just watching other people laugh, I have observed since, has its own kicks. If you are a good observer, you may identify four main types of laughers.

First, there are those, often the rather stoic CEOs of top-notch companies who appear to have been coaxed or blackmailed, or both, by the missus into stepping out once in a long while to come along to the theatre to, as they are likely to describe it, “watch other people make a fool of themselves”.

It is not unusual for such big men, even when they have reluctantly agreed to come, to make up their minds that they are attending the show just to please the missus and not really to have fun.

Having so steeled themselves therefore, they sit with grim faces initially but as the minutes go by and the stand-up comedians get going, you see them trying to stifle a guffaw.

Big mistake. Big mistake because they end up giving themselves away. Because of the pent-up nature of their laughter, when it comes, it comes in a big way like a burst water pipe. Pom! It spurts.

They try fruitlessly to keep it down. First they go hm, hm, ha, haa, and before long, hee, hee, hee! The hitherto stoic CEO is letting himself go.

If you happen to be seated next to him, his shaking shoulders may be so powerful, that you feel the “tremor” in your own seat. That is Type One laughter.

The second type that I observe, I call the Streamer. He or she is the one who enjoys the laughs so copiously that he often ends up with tears streaming down his face.

The pity about the Streamer is that he enjoys his first laughs so much that he misses most of the subsequent jokes. His maxim seems to be: “let me masticate this one completely before I take in another”.

The Type Three laughter is to be avoided if one can help it because the laugher is potentially violent. Let’s call him the Slapper.

When laughter ceases him, he uses the palm to slap whoever is next to him. Mind your shoulder if you’re standing by him or your lap, if you’re seated. Perhaps the best laughers are the final type - the easy-goers who just open up, tilt their heads backward and just laugh out loud. They usually end each episode with “agyei!” or “ O my God!” or such signature.

They seem to be in the majority and twice every year, they turn up to make a date with the Night of 1000 plus Laughs. Last Saturday, it was a full house affair at the Dome of the Conference Centre in Accra.

As reported by citifmonline, the auditorium was filled to capacity with an expectant audience who had come there with a common goal - to ‘laugh out loud’. Most of the patrons at this years’ Nite of 1012 Laughs, had their expectations met with rib cracking jokes from some of Nigeria’s finest stand- up comedians comprising Emeka Smith, Elenu, Bash, Owen Gee and Gordons.

Ghana’s only “Swag-on Papa” Funny Face who was the co-MC for the night was at his best once again, bursting onto the stage with a new song he had recorded with hit maker Castro.

The night could not have been complete without a stint of good music to complement the jokes. Tunes from sensational Efya seemed to have come at the right time to relax the audience who had been laughing non-stop from the beginning of the programme.

Her hit song Little Things got quite a number of patrons singing along right from the beginning to the end of the song. Efya later joined Ghana’s fastest rapper Sarkodie to perform I’m in Love , an outstanding collaboration which many music lovers have tipped to win an award at the next Ghana Music Awards.

Highlifer Ben Brako also spiced up the musical bit of the show with some of his great songs including Baya. Columnist Francis Doku also commends Night of Laughs highly.

He writes: Charterhouse has managed to create an event for laughter and they have managed in the process to make many people who love to laugh to look forward to it whenever it is announced to show. In everyday life, many people say things like “When I laugh,

I feel good”. But, is that all there is to laughter?

Does it only make people feel better, or does laugher do much more? Can it really heal? How good is laughter? Laughter can provide exercise benefits. According to a WebMD video, 'laughing heartily 100 times a day gives the same cardio results as working out for 20 minutes.'

According to School of Medicine studies available on the internet, laughter improves the immune system. Findings also say that 'Natural killer cells (the cells that attack virus and tumor cells) increase in number and activity.' Laughter can increase blood flow, according to a University of Maryland School of Medicine study. 'The results of the brachial artery blood flow measurements, which are precise and objective, appear to make the connection between laughter and cardiovascular health even stronger.' That is just a few short examples of the benefits of laughter.

There are many more examples. So go ahead and laugh! And, have a great day!

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