Posted in art and healing, creativity and health

Lucille Ball, Desi Arnaz and Babaloo

Welcome to Art and Healing Wednesday!!

One of the great advantages to living in different parts of the country is that you never know what small treasures you’ll come across.  One day at work I heard some people talking about the “I Love Lucy” museum in Jamestown.  Why Jamestown you ask?  Because Jamestown is where Lucille Ball was born and she made reference to it quite frequently on the show.

I took a road trip yesterday to see the museum and although quite small, it’s in a store front off Main Street, it’s packed with memorabilia that will tickle your funny bone.  The best part of this journey is that if you ever watched the television show (and if you never saw it you must be from another planet) it takes you right back to those memories of a simpler time in your life, most likely prior to your diagnosis.

Comedy is an underrated art form.  People believe that comedy, like photography, is something anyone can do and they try, but often fail.  Comedy is not just a joke it’s truly an art form.  It requires wit, understanding of the times we’re in, and most of all a great delivery.  I’m a great story-teller, but not a great joke teller; believe me there’s quite a difference.  We don’t often realize how many writers are on a comedy show.  Ever watch the Emmy Awards?  During the award for writing, the nominees are often teams of up to 10 or 12 people…that’s a lot of exchange in the writing room to make the work funny.

So what does this have to do with art and healing?  Well if we look at comedy as an art form, then we next have to look at the impact comedy and thus laughter have on the body.  Normal Cousins author of “Anatomy of an Illness” describes how he dealt with his excruciating pain issues.  He checked out of the hospital and into a hotel.  Cousins had his wife go rent Marx Brothers movies for him to watch.  He found that 20 minutes of a good belly laugh gave  him 2 hours of pain-free sleep (that’s a great return on your investment).

I know that while in the Lucy-Desi Museum ( I laughed and not just a chuckle, but to the point that tears were rolling down my face.  To see the actual sets, and watch the video clips made me think of the episode in the chocolate factory or stomping the grapes, or Vitameatavegamin.  They even have the set-up and a video camera with the script on a prompter so you can do the commercial and have your friends watch you on the monitor. 

The symbol for theater of the two faces representing comedy and tragedy are together for a reason.  We often can’t have one without the other just as we can’t have darkness without light.  Go rent some of your favorite comedies and sink into your favorite chair and allow the comedy to take you away on an adventure to a place of freedom.  The laughter will be a shock to your body, mind, and spirit if you’ve been too serious for too long (often happens after a diagnosis of a health challenge).  Let the laughter sweep over you and allow the body to utilize the hormones released to promote health and healing.

Do you have a favorite “I Love Lucy” episode?  I’d love to hear what made you laugh the hardest…just leave a comment and let’s celebrate Lucy and Desi!


I've lived my life in service to others. I'm focused on mental health and how it impacts our relationships, culture, and society. Through creative expression and narrative I believe we can impact change.

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