If we can’t laugh, what’s the point?

With all other accomplishments aside, Bill Cosby has left two lasting impressions on my life — his contribution to the world of sweater fashion as well as the creation of my favorite quote:

“Through humor, you can soften some of the worst blows that life delivers. And once you find laughter, no matter how painful your situation might be, you can survive it.”

I will give that a big, fat AMEN. Call me crazy, wrong or insensitive, but I am the firmest believer that we need humor to help us cope with all sorts of negative circumstances facing individuals, nations and even the world.

As we all know, and have too often experienced, life is full of drama. Front page news headlines warn us of the slew of problems that the world just can’t seem to figure out. Sometimes we are bombarded with situations we didn’t ask for and certainly don’t want. Other times it’s our day-to-day routines that are interrupted by bouts of awkward encounters, embarrassing moments and an overall lack of gracefulness — or maybe that’s just me.

But if we can’t take a step back and laugh at what a mess life can be, then what’s the point?

When we are faced with the stress of everyday life such as being overwhelmed with work and extracurricular activities, or having issues with friends or family, it can be easy for us to shut down.

And then there are those other daily mishaps like wardrobe malfunctions, saying the wrong thing, clumsiness and potentially being turned into an Internet meme after being caught at our worst at Red Lion. When these mortifying moments happen to us, they can definitely be hard to shake off.

But none of these supposed issues should be taken so seriously because in the grand scheme of life, our problems end up being so short-lived.

Granted, in terms of comedy, timing is everything. There is definitely an appropriate time to laugh. And if it is not yet the appropriate time, give it a few minutes because chances are it will be funny later.

Let’s say someone was to make a joke right after it happened about me hypothetically fainting and plummeting to the ground in the middle of a lecture. I would probably still be red in the face and humiliated. But give me a couple years to realize what a trivial moment it ends up being in my life and I will probably be willing to publicly write about it in a widely distributed student newspaper — hypothetically.

Not only are our personal mishaps worth making light of, but the same can be said of current events. Take the recent news about President Barack Obama and his decision on whether to intervene in Syria. It’s a very widespread topic right now with a lot of serious talk around it.

Of course, leave it to “The Onion” to turn a story like this into an all-out giggle fest with its satirical coverage. Several of its comments make you cringe and laugh at the same time — almost bringing a sense of guilt for finding it humorous. In one article, “The Onion” exaggerates a meeting between President Obama and White House officials: “…when [Secretary of State] John [Kerry] argued that the use of airborne military force must be swift and decisive in order to diminish the likelihood of a subsequent ground invasion, that just made Obama double over and hurl all over the floor.”

Many people consider this kind of humor tasteless. They see people laughing at serious topics and view it as ignorance or immaturity.

But when we show that we have a sense of humor with any given situation, it basically acknowledges the fact that we understand it. If we are able to make jokes about not only ourselves, but national and international events, then it means we have enough knowledge about something to see how it can be poked fun at.

We need to be able to fully comprehend something to understand why jokes and satire are so clever, hence why these Syria articles by “The Onion” are so funny. Clearly, we know that this is a heated situation that could have many implications for the United States, so one can’t help but laugh when picturing President Obama hurling during a serious meeting.

Maybe I am so inspired by this particular Bill Cosby quote because I am trying to compensate for the uncomfortable amount of times I have publicly missed my mouth while eating food or I have mistaken someone waving at me for a high-five. Or maybe it’s the fact that news can often be so negative that people need a way to raise their spirits.

Bottom line, we need to laugh.

Nicki is a junior in Media. She can be reached at [email protected]