News from the School of Laughter


John Berger: On Laughter

Laughter is not a reaction but a contribution. What can happen in twenty-four hours may outlast a century. .... Of the seven court jesters whom Velázquez painted close-up portraits of, three were dwarfs, one was boss-eyed, and two were rigged out in absurd costumes. Only one looked relatively normal – Pablo from Valladolid. Their job [...]

January 3rd, 2017|Categories: Blog|Tags: , , , , , , , , |0 Comments

John Berger: The clown knows life is cruel

​The clown knows that life is cruel. The ancient jester's motley coloured costume turned his usually melancholy expression into a joke. The clown is used to loss. Loss is his prologue. The energy of Chaplin's antics is repetitive and incremental. Each time he falls, he gets back on his feet as a new man. A [...]

January 2nd, 2017|Categories: Blog|Tags: , , , , , |0 Comments

Diary of a Funeral Celebrant: Happy New Year!

We all know that the god Janus, associated with doorways and after whom the month January is named, was two-faced, which enabled him to look backwards and forward simultaneously. Few people I have asked about their holidays have wanted to celebrate 2016, but surely we need more than ever to celebrate when life has been [...]

January 1st, 2017|Categories: Blog|Tags: , , , |0 Comments

New Year’s Resolution: Attitude Change and Humour

​In 'The Psychology of Attitudes and Attitude Change' (2015) by Greg Maio and Geoffrey Haddock,  explain how we get to know our specific attitude: Individuals come to "know" their attitudes, emotions, and other internal states partially by inferring them from observations of their own over behavior and/or the circumstances in which this behavior occurs. We [...]

December 31st, 2016|Categories: Blog|Tags: , , , , |0 Comments

German Sense of Humour: What Makes Germans Laugh

The Germans take their sense of humour very seriously. It is not a joking matter. Harsh, astringent and satirical is their style. The cabarets of pre-war Berlin are famous. Their bit was ferocious: the nearest modern equivalent is the British Spitting Image, but this is playful by comparison. Classic German satire put the boot in [...]

December 30th, 2016|Categories: Blog|Tags: , , , , , |0 Comments

Interview with Karen Steel: I laughed so hard I choked on the sweet I was sucking

We caught up with writer, diarist and Funeral Celebrant, Karen Steel. What was the last thing that made you laugh out loud? It’s holiday time, so, as he’s home for the week, G and I are laughing every few minutes: we have special names for each other and silly songs we sing. We laugh about [...]

December 29th, 2016|Categories: Blog|Tags: , , |0 Comments

Carrie Fisher: If my life wasn’t funny it would just be true and that is unacceptable

I have to start by telling you that my entire existence could be summed up in one phrase. And that is: If my life wasn't unny it would just be true, and that is unacceptable. What that really means, other than what it sounds like, is, let's say something happens and from a certain slant [...]

December 28th, 2016|Categories: Blog|Tags: , |0 Comments

Mark Vernon: Menippus of Gadara on the seriousness of laughing

A cheeky smile hangs on the face of Menippus, as painted by the Spanish artist, Velazquez. He looks out at the viewer, half turned away, a sizable chickpea nose separating saucy, knowing eyes that dare you to follow him. He wears the clothes of a commoner, a heavy black cloak that reaches from his shoulders [...]

December 28th, 2016|Categories: Blog|Tags: , , , , , , , , , |0 Comments

Diary of a Funeral Celebrant: A Funny Thing Happened on My Way to the Bathroom

Waking in my usual haze this morning I hit my elbow as I blundered into the bathroom doorway. “It’s a funny thing…”, I thought; the ‘funny bone’ is named after the word ‘humerus’ or ‘umerus’ in Middle English, which means ‘upper arm’ or ‘shoulder’. It has nothing to do with humour at all - which [...]

December 25th, 2016|Categories: Blog|Tags: , , , , , , , , |0 Comments

Sr. Martinette Rivers: Wrapped in Jesus’ Joy this Christmas

Today much of the world is celebrating Christmas once again and I am reminded of what St. Thomas Aquinas said: "No man can live without JOY." The greatest miracle of all times, has taken place in Bethlehem, the birth of Jesus, the JOY of the WORLD. Does the beauty of this event not blow your [...]

December 24th, 2016|Categories: Blog|Tags: , , , , , |0 Comments