Wednesday, February 24

Laugh, I miss laughing

I am part of a group of friends who have a tradition: in January, after the holiday frenzy, we meet in a chalet and we exchange gifts.

Patrick Lagacé
Patrick Lagacé

An exchange of gifts… silly.

The gifts submitted to the exchange – gifts that can be stolen during the exchange – must be as crazy, as unnecessary, as ugly, as ridiculous as possible …

Trinkets, self-help books, old-fashioned clothes: it’s all been there over the years.

Last year, it is an articulated man who wriggles while making the sound of a slaughtered squirrel who was the star of the evening, the object of all envy.

In the delirium of laughter that punctuates this evening, there are slippages. For example, one or two presents ended up in the household. Including a book, maybe even two. Spontaneous fireworks, if you will. But fireworks, all the same, which is a crime against thought, even if it is a book on Celine Dion …

It’s probably the night I laugh the most, in a year.

The tradition was put on ice this year. Which is a shame, because I had bought in July the item that I was sure would win the gift exchange this year. Just thinking about it makes me laugh. I will win the gift exchange in 2022, for sure …

To laugh…

I miss laughing. It feels good to laugh. It’s serious, humor. It relieves the hypothalamus, at the heart of our brain.

Our stress response emanates from the hypothalamus and it is from this small area at the top of the brainstem that laughter also emanates. I quote the Dre Sonia Lupien, the essential human stress specialist: “When we laugh, we produce hormones that stop the stress response. ”

> Attend the digital encounter with the Dre Sonia Lupien, organized by Press

This is one of the side effects of the time: it stresses us without common sense, but the opportunities to laugh, because of the damn virus, have dried up.

Because laughter is eminently social. By limiting social contact, we also limit the opportunities for laughter. The stressor suffocates this de-stressor that is laughter. I’m talking about the random laughter, which arises from our contacts between friends, even between strangers. Laughter is gregarious, social. I laugh, you laugh, we laugh. And I’m badly less with the others, these days, there are few occasions to throw objects in the fire …

Which brings me to Beautiful discomforts, version 2.0, which (re) starts tonight at TVA. I have already said my affection for this series by Martin Matte, on which the comedian pulled the plug four years ago.

And there, in full gray, in full masked gloom, in the heart of our longest winter, The beautiful discomforts come back for version 2.0.

Monday afternoon, I watched the first two episodes, among the three available to journalists …

And I hadn’t laughed like that for a long time.

In the first episode, I laughed to have a stomach ache, to tears in my eyes. It ends in an unstoppable scatological crescendo …

I don’t want to sell punch, that would be cruel.

But know that the band of Martin Matte has lost none of its grace. Grace? Anyone can make fart jokes, sometimes I do and the more the evening progresses, the more my friends find them funny, my fart jokes …

But the talent, the real comedic talent, is to turn scato jokes into moments of grace.

In the second episode, your eyes will be wet, but for something else, because Matte ventures to tickle our scars linked to loss, separations, breakups …

And he manages to make us laugh, even touching these universal scars.

I say no more.

But I will say this: the writing, directing and acting talent of Matte, Aubert, Avard, Cloutier, Le Breton, Robitaille, Perizzolo and company is a true gift from heaven in this winter of 2021, a gift that could not better fall. He is a wonderful de-stressor in these dark days when everyone is on edge, ready to explode, when the most zen among us are an irritant to be arrested for road rage …

We miss our previous lives, we protest against the sacrifices imposed by the virus. We laugh less. I think laughing is a vaccine against gloom.

And on Monday, in front of Matte’s work, I laughed like I hadn’t laughed for a long time. These laughs made me think of those I no longer have, with my friends, because we can’t get together anymore. It did not saddle me so much as it cheered me up: yes, it will come back, we are not that far away, we will still laugh together, we have to hold on. Our feasts will resume, the January gift exchange will return …

Besides, I bought the gift in July for the exchange which did not take place in January 2021. No problem, it will be used for the 2022 exchange and, I’m sure, it will dominate it …

What’s this ?

It’s a pair of sandals.

But sandals … special.

I say no more, I don’t want to burn the punch for my friends.

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