Laughing During Covid

Laurel and Hardy – Laughing scene from “Blotto”

It’s been a terrible year to say the least. Having been an actor most of my life I enjoy watching other actors work. I have spent many hours watching films and television shows to buoy my spirits during this “Year of Covid.” It’s been enjoyable and helped to distract me from the pandemic and the moral abyss in our country. However, I especially searched for humorous entertainment. I remember the day I read this article:

“Laughter is good for you,” the 33-year-old comedian and actor (Steve Schaffer) said. “It can prolong your life. It’s true. There was a man, Norman Cousins, who cured himself of a fatal disease watching Marx Brothers movies. He wrote a book about it, so it’s documented. . .. . .“It works,” said Cousins, the former Saturday Review editor who fought bouts of disease with hoots of laughter and wrote about it in “The Anatomy of an Illness as Perceived by the Patient” and “The Healing Heart.”

 – Saving Your Life May Be a Laughing Matter
                        By Larry Doyle – Dec. 20, 1987 – United Press International

It was actually years before when I first heard the story of Norman Cousins and felt it embodied a great truth. It must be true. . .for literally hundreds of famous writers, philosophers, politicians, statesmen, musicians, comedians, actors, poets, cartoonists, and plumbers confirm this. I selected just a few quotes below as examples:

“To truly laugh, you must be able to take your pain and play with it.”
                             – CHARLIE CHAPLIN

“As soap is to the body, so laughter is to the soul.”
                            – JEWISH PROVERB

“Power, money, persuasion, supplication, persecution—these can lift at a colossal humbug—push it a little—weaken it a little, century by century, but only laughter can blow it to rags and atoms at a blast. Against the assault of laughter nothing can stand.”
                              – MARK TWAIN

“If you can laugh in the face of adversity, you’re bullet-proof.”
                             – RICKY GERVAIS

“I have always felt that laughter in the face of reality is probably the finest sound there is and will last until the day when the game is called on account of darkness. In this world, a good time to laugh is any time you can.”
                               – LINDA ELLERBEE

“Laughter connects you with people. It’s almost impossible to maintain any kind of distance or any sense of social hierarchy when you’re just howling with laughter. Laughter is a force for democracy.”
                                – JOHN CLEESE

“Cancer is probably the unfunniest thing in the world, but I’m a comedian, and even cancer couldn’t stop me from seeing the humor in what I went through.”
                                 – GILDA RADNER

Recently I have become involved with a group of actors who have been acting out old radio programs from the golden age of radio: 1930s to the 1950s. They perform at various locations around central New Jersey. My wife was one of the actors and wanted me to consider coming out of retirement to join the group and have some fun with her. We had met when we were actors at the New Jersey Shakespeare Festival.

I joined the group, and helped to run their website. But when the Covid hit us we could not perform LIVE anymore. Previously, the actors would stand at microphones reading from their scripts acting out their parts while the sound effects people would make all the sounds and play music that would make the story come alive.

I suggested that I might adapt an old television pilot that I wrote with Leslie Podkin, my writing partner when we lived in Los Angeles. It was a rather mysterious comedy about all the crazy dreams people have. In the past I had written a play and a movie about dreams as well, so this was familiar territory. The difficulty was converting the script from a visual medium to an audio medium. It took a while, but I finally succeeded.

Because we could not appear live anymore, we had to record my radio play (and some others as well) at a recording studio. I then edited in all the sound effects and music at my home studio. My brother is a composer who created some custom music tracks. I found other royalty-free music tracks to incorporate, as well as the sound effects.   

My goal is to distract you from some of your Covid troubles with laughter! Don’t worry, it’s free. Although, comments and donations are appreciated.

HERE IS THE WEBSITE: http://classicradioroadshow.org

When you go to the website you’ll see a Dreamer poster like the one below.
Turn up your speakers. Simply start the audio player below the poster.
I hope it makes you laugh. 

3 thoughts on “Laughing During Covid

  1. Thank you for the distractions!
    There certainly hasn’t been much to laugh about for months now.
    So glad that you are able to reach into your archives and find material that activates your laughter neurons.
    Unfortunately, when times are unsettled and depressing I tend to gravitate towards times that were even more catastrophic. Just finished a book about The Librarian of Auschwitz, and am watching The Crown, which I highly recommend.

  2. The BEST time to laugh is when you’re going through hell!! “Laughter” is the only medication for whatever ails you!! My own foibles give me some of my greatest laughs and I’m sure I’ll die laughing. Thanks for bringing to attention this powerful healing tool we humans have!

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