No. Medicine is the best medicine. Laughter may have been the best medicine before there was medicine. And laughter was probably still the best medicine before there was real medicine. You know, back when healers were still cooking up potions in cauldrons and concocting powders out of, well, mostly dirt.
But today the old adage is not only hackneyed, it’s also untrue. Laughter is no match for modern medicine. There’s a reason why doctors make the big bucks and comics, with a few notable exceptions, don’t. It’s a question of skilled versus unskilled labor, and the work of a doctor is just about the most skilled form of labor out there.
Doctors, in order to be doctors, go through a rigorous rigmarole. They each must earn a bachelor’s degree (four years), get admitted to a medical school, earn a medical degree (six to eight years), complete a residency (minimum three years) and finally obtain a license to practice medicine. And that’s before they get certified or specialize.
Anyone can tell a joke.
This is not to discredit any of the many medicinal properties of laughter. And there are many. Medical researchers, including doctors, have found that laughter improves immune function, alleviates pain and helps prevent chronic conditions like heart disease and cancer. It even burns calories, and we all know the importance of that.
Despite all this, laughter is still very much unlike medicine. Laughter doesn’t get prescribed like medicine. There’s no insurance and no copay. Laughter doesn’t get administered like medicine, either. Laughter doesn’t come in specific doses. You don’t have to take it with food. It doesn’t taste bad or have any negative side effects. You can’t accidentally overdose. You can get hooked on it, though, but this is actually encouraged. Especially around here at Stand Up NY.
So actually, laughter is better than medicine.