The gravity of laughter

21 years ago, after the exchange of vows and sundry formalities, my new husband turned to me and said, “Now you’re in trouble.”

1 year and 1 day later, when a friend called out “Lin, don’t hurt yourself!” and I laughingly asked why not, my husband said “Because you’re out of the warranty period.”

Some years before the wedding, when a friend commented that my beloved was looking deeply into my eyes, he remarked “Just making sure somebody’s home.”

9 years after the wedding, pregnant with our first child, morning sickness struck with a startling vengeance. As I staggered out of the bathroom feeling immeasurably shocked, my husband asked “Would you like your toast now, or shall I flush it straight down the loo?”

Some of this may sound, from the outside, like mockery, but from the inside it is clearly profound affection. He makes me laugh on the darkest days, in the worst of times. His humour is my safe and protected route to coping with pain, fear, and suffering.

Last night we celebrated 21 years of married laughter with a trip to the comedy festival. I’ve been trying to rest lately and I’ve spent a lot of that resting time watching The Last Leg on iview, or watching Adam Hills videos on youtube, so we took the chance to see him live.

Comedy is often mean. It raises a laugh by base and unkind means. But Adam Hills has no truck with any of that. Adam mocks death, disability, and politics with fierce and hilarious insight. He bonds with his audience and draws us in to a shared circle of hilarious defiance. He laughs in the face of cancer, grief, and the Herald Sun.

And with every brilliant quip he places compassion and empathy on a breathtaking pedestal, making us think about racism, politics, and snap judgements. Making us care and yearn to be better, sillier people. Making us laugh, and making us happy. I can’t imagine Adam has ever been a mean, aggressive comedian. It’s hard to feel threatened by a man in a dressing gown holding a bright pink bucket. He is one of nature’s sparkly people.

I won’t share any of his jokes, because they are his to bestow, but if you ever get the chance, go see him. He’s a beacon of kindness and laughter in an often sad and demoralising world.

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