Monday, October 3, 2011
At a recent event, I had the opportunity to watch the documentary, You Just Have to Laugh. This comedic documentary was appropriately put together by a comedian, David Naster. The impetus behind making the film was apparently a show Naster did in a church in Kansas. Afterward, a man came up and thanked Naster, saying that it had been the first time he had laughed since his son had died.
From there, Naster began exploring the topic of how we use laughter to get through the tough times. In his documentary, he interviews many different people in difficult situations, such as a gentleman with MS, a firefighter who was severely burned, people with tourettes syndrome. One interview was of a psychiatrist with a stutter talking about his experiences working a suicide hotline. Another is of a concentration camp survivor talking about the humor they found in the most horrible tasks. (The documentary points out that we may not find all these experiences funny but if it helps one cope with such a horrible situation, it was funny to them.)
Below is a video clip of Naster talking about his philosophy on laughter and death. Working on a hospice team, this really struck a cord with me.
Naster has also written books on this topic, the most recent Is there Laugh after Death? looks at stories of hospice workers and families of dying patients.
While I don't think Naster's documentary is widely available, it appears to be available at his website.