I had the most extraordinary gig on Friday night in Primrose Hill in London, wonderful joyous laughter and applause from a clever, fun and warm audience. The evening was well organised and expertly MC'd but the more I muse the more I think there was something else going on too. I think the gathered community needed to laugh together that night, all of us; community, guests, and comedians. At the end of a day of unfolding madness, the humanizing absurdity of laughter was the only possible healing.
Waking up to an entirely different world to the one imagined had been a strange experience. Britain was heading out of the EU, the vote had not gone the way that many had expected. Uncertainty, confusion, and bewilderment abounded ... perhaps even more so in London that as a vibrant multi-cultural internationally connected city had not envisaged that 'out' was in any way a sensical or entertainable notion.
This environment I think gave the comedy an additional sparkle and edge, laughter was not only a great tonic to be collectively enjoyed, it was much needed.
I think I was already in some kind of imaginary GK Chesterton novel on the walk from Camden to Primrose Hill in the strange bustling atmosphere where everything and nothing had changed on Brexit day. The glorious evening of comedy where the laughter had created a refuge of sanity temporarily separate from the unfolding craziness of a self-destructive ill-informed protest vote ... only reinforced this notion.
So this morning over a coffee I decided a re-read of "The Napoleon of Notting Hill" was in order. Sadly neither Primrose Hill or Camden Town featured but I found a quote that emphasized why it is that laughter matters:
"Madmen are always serious; they go mad from lack of humour"
I wonder if a few key leaders should spend a little more time in Comedy clubs, and whether the reinstating of Court Jesters might be the wisest decision made in the next few weeks.
I believe in comedy, not just because it is a joyous art but because it is a serious one and an important one. Laughter is not just a laughing matter, it is a place of deep connection, humanity, vulnerability, and oddly .... sanity.