National Comedy Center Delivers Laughs Anywhere
New online platform brings art of comedy to your device
COVID-19 — in terms of the destruction it has wrought on the world's health, families, and economies — is no laughing matter. But look beneath the surface level tragedy and we see a familiar coping mechanism in humor. The ways social distancing and quarantining have changed (or not changed) the fundamentals of human experience — and put the magnifying glass on our quirks and flaws — have proven ample fuel for jokesters and memesters the world over. And it's given us plentiful opportunities to laugh even when it may seem hard to.
For as long as there's been pain and suffering, laughter has been one of the staples of our medicine cabinet. Physiologically, it releases endorphins and dissolves tension throughout the body. Psychologically, it helps us carry on. According to comedian Jeff Foxworthy, "It's the release valve that keeps the boiler from exploding." To Jim Gaffigan, it's a way "to take the power back." And to Patton Oswalt: "It's a beautiful statement about the human species that eventually we'll make a joke about anything. It means we are defying depression and loss and death to live."
The National Comedy Center in Jamestown, N.Y. is hoping to harness the healing properties of laughter for the greater good with the release of its new online platform, National Comedy Center Anywhere. Through the platform, anyone can familiarize themselves with the museum and its mission, as well as preview a selection of video content that they'd come across during a physical visit. With an upgrade, they'll be able to delve deeper into comedy's greatest individual voices and their works, receive exclusive content, give a "comedy hug" to someone in need of a pick-me-up, and score an admission ticket for the museum's post-pandemic reopening.
Says executive director Journey Gunderson: "It's great content. It's a ticket. It's support for a non-profit cultural institution. It's a gift for a friend you'd like to share laughter with right now. It's an injection of what has always been there to heal us in the most trying of times — comedy."
Whether your sense of humor trends black or blue, clean or dirty, everyday or absurd — it's the perfect time to reconnect.
Matt Swanseger can be reached at email@example.com