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I've had many heroes in my life. My father was the first; Deepak Chopra the most recent. There was one hero in between.
His name was Del Close.
Del Close was one of the founders of the Second City Theatre Company in Chicago in 1959. He is the father of modern improvised comedy as we know it, a leader of the American Satire Boom, the inventor of the "Happening", a philosopher, a theorist, a great teacher, and most importantly he was funny--and he knew funny. Bill Murray, John Belushi, Chris Farley, Stephen Colbert, Amy Poehler, myself and many others have all benefited from his teaching and his philosophy that comedy equals truth and truth equals spiritual growth. Plainly put, "ha ha" is related to "ah ha", the sound one makes upon the realization of truth.
They say that the truth may set you free, but I find that the truth can be very painful at first. As Lenny Bruce once said, the equation for comedy is "laughter equals pain plus time." Del would call the plus time "distance"; Deepak would call it "detachment". Both would agree that to be enlightened you must travel lightly.
Laughing feels good. In a fast-paced and entertaining form, "Why is God Laughing?" lays out the spiritual/healthful nature of laughter as well as the mindset of detachment, gratitude, and brave truth-seeking that fosters such laughter and the inner peace that results.
My first hero, my father, used to say, "Nothing's so bad that it can't be laughed at." An intense man, he still found humor in the darkest moments. My father lived through the Depression, the 'Phony War' in 1939, World War II, the Cold War and ultimately his own war with Alzheimer's. But even in his dementia he could find humor in his own condition: so strong and innately human is the need to laugh.
Henri Bergson, in his essay "Laughter",; said that laughter is an autonomic response from deep in the reptilian part of our brain, and that it is triggered by the realization of our own mortality. In these pages Deepak has managed to dramatize this brilliantly in the form of Mickey Fellows, a comedian forced to face his darkest fears. Deepak shows us that there is darkness in the world and that comedy is a candle; he encourages us to meditate on the candle and not the darkness.
Why is God laughing? He gets the joke.
- Mike Myers