Jones & Bartlett Learning Blog

    Laughter in the Time of Coronavirus

    Posted by Brian Luke Seaward on Apr 30, 2020 2:31:30 PM

    Laughter in the Time of Corona

    Humor experts repeatedly suggest to let a smile be your umbrella, but today they might even suggest that a smile be worn as your first of two face masks, to protect again Covid-19. While face masks and ventilators are in short supply, Vitamin H (Humor), as it is known in some circles, is anything but rationed goods. And while it’s true that sadly, many people are dying and even more are sick having contracted the disease, those who wait patiently in their homes with their countless rolls of toilet paper and hand sanitizer under government lock down are trying to make the best of a dire situation, all the while lifting the spirits of others via social media in a similar situation. Thank GOD for them and the comic relief they share.

    This is not the first time a grave global situation tested the strength of humanity’s funny bone. I’ll never forget reading Victor Frankl’s book, Ma’sn Search for Meaning and learning that even under the most horrific circumstances people can find something funny to laugh about. Frankl, who’s book chronicles his three heart wrenching years in the Nazi Concentration camp, Auschwitz, wrote that even under the worst days of oppression people found things to make them smile and laugh. Indeed, humor is a time-testing coping technique for stress, even under the direst of situations. Laughter not only lightens the heart, it raises the vibration of consciousness, and we all need that right now.

    Side view profile portrait middle aged excited happy laughing woman pointing finger at something someone isolated orange background with copy space. Positive human emotion face expression reaction

     Many comedians confide that humor was often the only way to cope with a horrible childhood. Jim Carey, Rodney Dangerfield, Gilda Radner,  Tyler Perry, and many more all share stories of using humor to soften the blow of a tragic childhood. For the average person, it is no different. For these times it is no different. Humor has long been known to help take the edge off a bad day. There is a good reason why it’s called “comic” relief, and not “comic torture.”

    So perhaps it is no surprise when the Corona virus arrived on American shores, and people were ordered to self-isolate under threat of mandatory quarantine, social media began to burst with funny memes and jokes. Several weeks into the lock down, and the vein of humor and mirth is kicking out laughter like a Klondike Gold strike. Sports announcers out of work began to record play-by-play action between dogs. Countless people recorded live Facebook videos of song parodies, from Staying Inside (to the tune of Staying Alive) to Baby, It’s Covid Outside (Baby it’s cold outside).  The quick wit, jokes and parodies of all aspects of Corona-19 created a new category knows as Pandemic humor. Parodies, satires, irony, dark humor, double entendre, all found themselves as fodder in the making of pandemic humor. Perhaps with so much time at home, the creativity muscle and funny bone were getting the only workout. Make it a point to try to find something lighthearted, funny or comical about this crazy situation we are living in… Sometimes you don’t have to look too hard; often it stares us in the face. Try to find one thing humorous each day, and I guarantee you will find many things.

    Videos, jokes, countless memes, photos, parodies flooded social media outpacing political posts 10 to 1. Here are just a few

    Day 1: Man with Corona Virus seeks woman with Lyme disease.

    Day 9 of the quarantine:

    My wife called from the other room and asked if I ever get a stabbing pain in my chest, like someone has a voodoo doll of me and is stabbing it.

    I replied “No.”

    She responded, “How about now?”

    Quarantine: Day 14

    My hubby purchased a world map on Amazon, gave me a dart and said, “Throw this, and wherever it lands, I’m taking you for a holiday there when this pandemic is over.”

    Turns out we’re spending two weeks behind the fridge.


    Senior businessman laughing at office meeting

    Quarantine: Day 20

    “When this virus is over I still want some of you to stay away from me.”

    Quarantine: Day 21:

     Single man with TP seeks single woman with hand sanitizer for good clean fun.

    Meme: photo of Rod Serling, creator of the Twilight Zone

    “Even the Twilight Zone wasn’t this crazy.”

    Meme: Photo of Betty White and Keith Richards:

    “Keith Richards and Betty White escape from Earth to repopulate the species.

    Meme: Photo of Planet Earth

    2020: Written by Stephen King, Directed by Quentin Tarentino

    Meme: Famous American Gothic Painting

    Farming couple inside looking out windows, abandoned pitchfork laying on the front lawn

    Meme: T-shirt image of Sloth in lotus position with the saying: Nama’sta… 6 feet away.

    Meme:  Yoko Ona sings on city streets to ensure NY residents stay inside

    Perhaps the best meme: Michelangelo’s last super Painting with Jesus by himself doing a Zoom conference with the 12 apostles. Jesus says: Judas, Judas, are you there?

    Cartoon: The Grim Reaper is at the front door  and pushes the intercom, saying,

    “It ruins the effect if I say who it is. Can you just come down?”

    Joke: The New Math

    Johnny has 39 rolls of toilet paper. He gives five rolls to his neighbor, and three to his girlfriend. His roommate steals 7 rolls from Starbucks before they closed temporarily, and the cat destroyed 2 (upstairs and downstairs bathrooms). Johnny's other roommate brings 48 rolls of TP into the house after shopping at Costco. On this same day, Johnny's mother brings 4 rolls of TP with a casserole, but Johnny's father snags three rolls while taking out the trash. Question: How long before Johnny and his girlfriend break up? What is the cat's name? How long have Johnny's parents been married? and identify the professions of his roommates. Please show your work.

    We are going to be tested in the days to come, that is for sure. And we have a choice: to see the negative and become a part of it, or to take the high road and laugh when possible. Taking the high road is a bit more challenging, but the views are nothing less than amazing and the destination is worth every step.

    Wishing you smiles and laughter along the way….😁😃😄

    About Brian Luke Seaward

    Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D. is the author of the best-selling books, Stand Like Mountain, Flow Like Water, Stressed is Desserts Spelled Backward, and Managing Stress, Ninth Edition. He is the executive Director of the Paramount Wellness Institute in Boulder, CO and can be reached via his website:

     Brian Luke Seaward


    Topics: Brian Luke Seaward, Coronavirus, COVID-19, Stress management, laughter is the best medicine

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