Humor is Powerful

by Barry Neal


feature article


          By Barry Neal

If you don’t believe humor sells products, then you might consider that the cast of the television show “Friends” earn 6 million dollars per show!  “Friends” has been a consistent top five show for years and advertisers pay millions of dollars to get their product on the air during their commercial breaks. 

From the beginning of television, comedy shows have been a staple of the network programming, and sponsors have fought over those commercial times to get their product on the air. 

Even in the commercials themselves, humor sells.  Funny characters become part of the American vernacular.  Ranging from the Bud Lite “I love You, Man” guy to the “Dude, you’re getting a Dell” kid to Joe Izusu. 

Advertisers realize that if you make the people smile while introducing characters people like, the consumers will associate the good feelings with your product.

Can laughing and smiling really affect our mood?  Norman Cousins, the author of Anatomy Of An Illness wrote his autobiographical book about how he beat cancer with humor.  He was diagnosed with cancer, and treated himself by watching The Honeymooners and the Marx Brothers movies, and laughed his way to health. 


Laughter sends endorphins to the brain, and has the ability to not only change your mood, but also to improve your state of health.  So the next time you’re feeling down, or have the sniffles, I suggest renting your favorite comedy, and having a hearty laugh.  You are sure to feel better.

Humor is an effective tool to break the ice in awkward situations.  There are even book written about fun games to play at parties to help break the ice.  The point of using humor is to help put everyone at ease.  It’s never easy meeting new people, so if you can make a joke or get a smile, then you are more likely to get the positive response you are seeking.  When situations get tense, it’s natural for people to react with either too much emotion (AKA panic), or to completely shut down and become incapacitated. 

The best managers will try to diffuse tension with humor.  If you don’t take the situation or yourself too seriously, it’s easier to concentrate on the actual task at hand.  Whether it’s sinking a last second free throw, asking a girl out, or trying to give a speech in public, the use of humor will go a long way in making you and the people you are trying to reach feel better about the often awkward situation.

Every successful person has goals in their life they would like to achieve, and it is said that no man is an island.  So, in order to get to these goals, we must interact with people.  You don’t need to be friends with everyone, but you must get along with them to the extent you are not precluded from attaining your goals because you are too difficult to get along with. 

Being able to laugh at yourself is a great quality, because we all do dumb things, and we all have silly quirks.  If you can’t laugh at yourself, then maintaining any long term relationships will be very difficult as nobody wants a pompous, know it all in their lives.  And without any friends or relationships, there is no support system, and even the strongest of people need to have that.  So, laugh at least once a day, smile at a stranger walking down the street, and notice how most will smile back and a connection has just been made.  You do actually catch more bees with honey.  If people like you, then you are much more likely to have them around, whether it’s as a friend or business associate.  Smile, and watch the world smile with you!