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Work | Send In The Clowns

by Jacke Tan

I found out about this Laughter Club founded by Dr Madan Kataria in India recently. They even made a film about it. Pretty intriguing really, a bunch of people gathered together to laugh their lungs out in open spaces daily. And on every first Sunday of every month of May they celebrated World Laughter Day (WLD). It all started with Dr Madan, wanting to find out if laughter is indeed the best medicine. Over 5000 Laughter Clubs formed across 40 countries later, we can pretty much conclude that laughter is indeed contagious...

You may be wondering – what's laughter got do with anything? Well, it seems that we're getting so busy with the "real" work, we've forgotten to have fun and laugh. I'm not talking about the crazy parties once in a while, where you get drunk and probably got caught on video, prancing around the studio from table to table (though that’s worth a laugh). We've gotten so busy being bogged down by our daily struggles that we let ourselves die a little inside.

I remember attending a design conference once, there was a presenter who was particularly dull, so, finally, someone from the audience decided to spice up the mood and asked him, "How do you make teriyaki chicken?" instantly lightening the mood and cracked everyone up, I found it hilarious, but the speaker obviously did not share his humour, took it as an insult and stormed off the stage.

Well, I thought, the speaker simply missed a great opportunity to turn his otherwise forgettable presentation around into a memorable one had he simply played along and laugh together with his audience.

Humour Sparks Surprises

Clients and creatives alike, we seem to be sucked into this "real world" syndrome and have forgotten something... that all work and no play makes us a little dull. We start taking ourselves way too seriously, and becoming too afraid to venture out of our comfort zones. Contrary to what I used to believe – that the best artists tend to embrace suffering and pain as their source of inspiration. Not necessarily so, and a good example is Tibor Kalman, an American graphic designer also better known as the ‘bad boy of design’. He never fails to surprise with his tongue-in-cheek humour and crazy big ideas. He’s never afraid to make fun of himself and his clients, and his works always render surprisingly brilliant results.

Creativity Starts with Laughter

The perception of a creative environment is one that people can play and have fun, or is it? You’ll be surprised how little attention is spent on this aspect. To play, have fun and laugh. In fact, it’s being frowned upon as a form of laziness or being utterly disrespectful. Break the convention, stand on your head, laugh out loud and have fun!

It's more than work, we spend the bulk of our lives at work. It shouldn’t have to be a chore or a bore. Try this, start counting the times you've actually laughed in a day? No cheating and I don't mean those fake smiles, or that slight grin, but the type of laughter that makes people turns their heads and look at you disapprovingly. Does it surprise you? I challenge you to collect at least five big laughs a day, sounds easy doesn’t it? But try it, and find out for yourself.

What's the big idea here? Well, send in the clowns!

Jacke Tan, Chief Creative Head


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