Cancer and Comedy - The

12/05/2011 00:50

"Of course certain illness is serious! Why else would they consider it 'serious?' That is all the harder reason to utilize every advantage--including laughter." --Ronn Fay Jevne & Alexander Levitan, Virtually no time for Nonsense

In my humor and healing programs, We do an exercise with red clown noses. Everyone within the audience gets a sealed packet with one inside. With their eyes closed, I make them think of some difficulty they may be having and then, still using eyes closed, to begin the packet and hang the clown nose on. Then I ask the crowd to open their eyes and search around the room.

I became a little reluctant to do this activity, however, when I addressed the annual meeting from the National Coalition of Cancer Survivorship. I knew which a number of people in the group had facial cancer. Some had just a partial nose, some none in any way.

I checked with the meeting planner to make certain the clown-nose-process was appropriate. She assured me that even individuals with facial disfigurement would love it. Still, I used to be uncomfortable about doing it. My fears were quickly alleviated, however, in the event the group not only responded with overwhelming laughter but also delighted in sharing stories with me about their prosthetic noses.

One woman joyfully showed me a Polaroid photo drawn in her hotel room minutes before my speech. She explained that she was getting ready to attend my talk and proceeded that will put adhesive glue prosthetic nose. Then she waited because of it to dry. When it came a chance to attach the nose, however, that it was gone. She could not believe that it is.

At that moment somebody knocked on the door. So she asked her friend to support locate it. The nose was finally found and also a picture taken. It showed the nose stuck to her rear-end.

She delighted in telling me the story and in explaining the photo. But she was even more elated while using the her new clown nose. She said, "This is wonderful. From now on, I have a choice of which nose to wear."

"Cancer, schmancer--as long as your healthy."

Jewish saying

Surrounding cancer patients who're facing life-challenging issues with solemnity will not make sense. It neither helps their current condition nor their recovery. What should be used is something that will aid them in giving up on cancer. They need something to take their mind off of their illness instantly. That something would be the other "C" word--comedy.

"Someone asked, 'Did you've got colon cancer?' so i said, 'Well, mine became a little bit different; I had put together cancer of the semi-colon.' --Steve Allen

In the January 1993 edition of McCall's, TV journalist Linda Ellerbee wrote about some of her humorous cancer experiences:

Cancer is serious. But you can find funny things about it too.

That summer I got myself some breast prostheses to implement while swimming. Instead of fastening the crooks to my skin with Velcro as being the directions instructed, I simply inserted the prostheses into my swimwear. When I came out of the lake, one had migrated around to my back! Now, how will you not laugh at this? Either you laugh or else you cry your eyes out. . . .

"As I left the doctor's office the nurse put an envelope around my hand and said, 'This is not a real prosthesis, but slip it into the bra and you'll look a tad bit more balanced.' In the automobile, I opened the envelope, extracted a little wad of cotton, and shouted, 'My God! Completely new bigger dust balls under my bed than this!" --Erma Bombeck

In Anatole Broyard's brilliant book, Ingesting My Illness, he writes eloquently about being told you have prostate cancer. One of the striking points he makes is the fact "Illness is primarily a drama, plus it should be possible to experience it as well as to suffer it. . . Illness just isn't all tragedy. Much from it is funny."

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As there are from the people above that have gone through the cancer experience, high of it is laughable.