Benefits of Comedy

Scientists want to be taken seriously. So why would we encourage comedy? Because comedy is a backdoor into understanding.

Comedy Improves Communication

  1. Comedy can make others view you as more confident and competent. A study on the relationship of humor and status found that “when an individual makes a comment that is funny and appropriate, others view him as higher in confidence and competence, which leads to higher ratings of status.”
  2. Comedy can make you come across as a better scientist. Increased humor correlates with your audience perceiving you not only as more likable, but also as of greater expertise.
  3. Comedy makes us happier and brings us closer together. A 2019 study found that humor can decrease negative emotions, increase positive emotions, and enhance the distance from adversity in individual subjects.

Comedy Helps Us Motivate Others

  1. Comedy can make you a better leader. The study found that individuals tend to show deference toward humorous individuals in groups. Those humorous individuals are also more likely to be chosen as leaders.
  2. Comedy can motivate us to greater senses of civic duty and action. One study found that comedy motivated students to feel more hopeful and proactive about climate change, while another found that this positive civic engagement held even if the comedy was simply climate change memes.

Comedy Can Help You Generate more Creative Ideas

  1. Comedy can help people solve problems more effectively.  A University of Maryland Baltimore study found that a positive effect brought about by comedy led to subjects performing better on certain creative tasks. 
  2. Comedy can make one more productive. In a study in which improvisational comedians were pitted against professional product designers, the comedians on average produced 20% more product ideas and 25% more creative product ideas.  Moreover, a subsequent activity put 11 subjects through an improvisational comedy workshop, which increased their average idea output by 37%.
Comedy can improve your creativity and ability to generate ideas.
According to a 2010 study by MIT, an improv comedy workshop helped participants increase their idea output by an average of 37%.

Comedy Can Help Reduce Anxiety

  1. Comedy can help reduce anxiety and blood pressure.  In a study of surgical oncology patients, watching comedy videos reduced the mean preoperative anxiety and blood pressure of patients, in comparison to the control group (43 vs 47).
  2. Comedy can help individuals recover from stressful events. One study showed comedy to lessen the psychological distress that resulted from these stressful events, such as adjustment to the 9/11 terror attacks.
  3. Smiling itself actually reduces stress. A Midwestern University study found that the physical act of smiling is enough to lower blood pressure and stress in subjects. 
  4. Even anticipating laughter can reduce stress.  One study found that individuals, knowing they would soon be watching a humorous video, saw improvement in beta-endorphins (the family of chemicals that alleviates depression) and human growth hormone (HGH; which helps with immunity), which increased by 27 and 87 percent respectively. 

Comedy Can Even Help You Live longer!

  1. Comedy can be a coping mechanism that helps to protect individuals from disease.  In one study, sense of humor was positively correlated with survival from cardiovascular diseases and infections.
  2. Laughter can actually promote natural killer cell activity, according to one study.
  3. A study of Norwegian adults taking place over seven years found that those with a good sense of humor were 27% less likely to die before the age of 65, regardless of gender and other health factors.
Science study shows comedy can increase your chances of surviving into retirement age, regardless of other health factors.
Comedy can increase life spans. In one 7-year study of mortality, sense of humor increased a subject's probability of survival into retirement, independently of subjective health.