Jokes and having a sense of humor are ways to cope with the hard times life can throw at us, says one Loyola University professor.
Humor serves as a safety valve during tough situations and helps people move beyond things that are out of their control, said Al Gini, a professor of business ethics at the Quinlan School of Business at Loyola University in Chicago.
Gini, who also authored the book, "The Importance of Being Funny: Why We Need More Jokes In Our Lives," said even if someone has a degree in philosophy, they still have to laugh in order to cope with a situation and possibly get a new perspective on the problem they're facing.
"When we look at the headline on the given day, now DACA kids will be deported, possibly a hydrogen bomb going off in Korea, and the growing question across the nation of urban violence and racial violence and the diminishment of the American dream, we're supposed to apply reason, but reason doesn’t always exist in these kinds of equations," Gini said.
"And I think we have to, as Mel Brooks said, we need humor to give us a different edge, to look at it a different way, to step back from it a while, perhaps even a moment of leisure and laughter so that we could return to it in a new way," he continued.
Gini said psychological studies have shown comicalness adds amusement to our lives and helps us de-stress and detox from situations.
"It’s a venting mechanism. It gives us greater oxygen. It therefore lets us think a little better," he said. "I think laughter is a natural part of the human condition."
Gini said humor goes beyond being silly, it can provide a sort of relief.
"I think humor is, in the best sense of a word, a temporary anesthetic, our analgesic that we apply to ourselves," he said. "It isn’t always enough, but sometimes just that pause of laughter gives us a moment to breathe and think about perhaps just another alternative."