Exploring Humor Group Guide

Volume III, Number IV

Artwork by Amy LIu

Humans laugh, rats laugh — did dionsaurs laugh? In this issue of KidSpirit, writers undertake the zany and often serious task of understanding how we laugh and why.

1. In the Big Question, Naomi Chasek-MacFoy describes the many kinds of laughter that humans use in different circumstances. Brainstorm situations in which you’ve laughed in the last day. What triggered your laughter. How did you feel when laughing? Did you have control over your laughter? Did it feel fake? Were you with other people? Did your laughter change because of your social circumstances?

2. Cartoons and comics have long been a source of humor and laughter. Sam Miller explores this medium in “Comix: A Distorted World.” This form can depict the absurdity of the world, contain a political or satirical message, or even explore philosophical concepts through the imagination. Create your own comic strip or single panel cartoon highlighting something you’ve found strange, funny, or philosophical. Mimic the style of a cartoonist you admire, or come up with your own unique take.

3. In her PerSpectives column, stand-up comedian Vanda Mikoloski, talks about how laughter allowed her to let go of some of the difficult moments of her past. Humor became a powerful tool for psychological health. The old saying goes that “laughter is the best medicine.” Why do you think laughter can be so powerful for healing? What is it about laughing that allows us to let go or feel better? Have you ever experienced a moment of catharsis, or letting go, like the one Vanda describes? Think about how laughing enabled you to move on.