Hence loathéd Melancholy... Haste thee nymph, and bring with thee Jest and youthful Jollity, Quips and Cranks, and wanton Wiles... Sport that wrinkled Care derides, And Laughter, holding both his sides.
THREE centuries ago, John Milton thus invoked the laughing good times in L'Allegro. Today, in much the same spirit, albeit in less majestic words, we hear the familiar "Thank God it's Friday." Regardless of the words or the era that spoke them, people have always needed laughter. Distinguishing man from all the other animals, the belly laugh is innately human.
In his introduction to Loren Eiseley's The Star Thrower, W. H. Auden puts laughter—the spirit of carnival—into perspective. According to Auden, successful lives must pay respect to three worlds: Work, Worship, and Carnival. Most important, the three must balance. Without Worship and Work, Laughter turns ugly and humor grubby and pornographic, the ultimate downfall of many comics. Without Laughter