The Benefits of Laughter

Could laughter defeat ISIS? If you were on an operating table, in need of a triple-bypass, might you call in a clown? While a P.O.W., undergoing torture, would all your suffering disappear when someone recited a decent knock, knock joke?

A logical person would consider all of the above absurd. Comedy is no panacea. And yet numerous cultures have found an integral place for farce and buffoonery. Chinese Emperors had Court Jesters, Native American tribes had Tricksters, and in Europe, during...

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