Laughing during and at the horrible events of the Covid-19 pandemic is good for us physically and mentally, according to scientists and comedians who talked to RTÉ's Morning Ireland today. 

Laughter is contagious. Everyone knows this.

Maybe writing that it's contagious doesn't seem right during the stressful days of a pandemic but even dry humour is acceptable if it makes people laugh. 

That's according to experts, like Professor Richard Wiseman, who says laughter is good for peoples' health and brings them together socially.

Speaking to Morning Ireland, Mr Wiseman, a Professor of the Public Understanding of Psychology at the University of Hertfordshire in Britain, says we should laugh during this pandemic. Laughter is one of his expert areas. 

"It makes you feel good. It produces endorphins in the body. It puts you in a good mood.

"If you can find the funny in the difficult situation that you're in, then you are better able to cope with it. You are more healthy physically and psychologically as well," said Mr Wiseman.  

The professor added laughter is important during the Covid-19 pandemic. 

"If it is something about coping. If it is about bonding people together. If it is about finding the same thing funny and helping us in these rather particularly difficult times, then absolutely we shouldn't feel guilty about laughing. It is in our DNA. It is a good thing to be doing. It's obviously the quickest way of lifting your mood," added Professor Wiseman. 

Laughing at good and bad present day predicaments is part of comedy. 

"Comedy is as important a public service as the factual programming," comedian and satirist, Oliver Callan, of RTÉ's Callan's Kicks, told Morning Ireland. 

"It is the antidote to the news. It is how we cope. The biggest coping mechanism - and it comes from all the scientists - is laughter," added Mr Callan. 

"The worse things get, the more comedy we need. Comedy never goes into lockdown because it is our way out. It's our escape hatch that we need to grasp in the middle of nightly death tolls, bad news … in every country and every continent," said Callan. 

"It's the time when comedy will flourish. Laughter is the medicine," he added. 

Social media has been flooded with wise cracks about Covid-19. 

One example of that is stand-up comedian and writer Enya Martin's video clip of a character spreading rumours about government reaction to the Covid-19 crisis.

For Enya Martin we must laugh during the coronavirus crisis. However, for her there is 'a red line' that comedians cannot cross if they are writing and performing comedy based on extraordinary events like the ongoing pandemic. 

"You can't be distasteful," said Enya Martin. 

"You just know not to talk about stuff that is going to emotionally impact people. You want to make them laugh.

You don't want them to be sitting back and thinking: She shouldn't have said that, it's out of line," said Ms Martin. 

Comedian and actor Pat Shortt agrees and says laughter is essential during the pandemic. 

"You have to be respectful of people but we need a laugh. It breaks us away from the desperate times that we are in."

"There is comedy in everything. We are dark enough ourselves. If you take the example of a funeral, we tend to look back on people in humourous thoughts and humourous stories," said Mr Shortt. 

"That is how we remember people. I think no matter how dark and awful this is we will always look for the lightheartedness to pull ourselves out of it," said Mr. Shortt. 


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