I am sure most people missed the holiday, but May 6th was World Laughter Day. I was thinking about laughing when I walked along Wildcat Boulevard one morning.

I am sure most people missed the holiday, but May 6th was World Laughter Day. I was thinking about laughing when I walked along Wildcat Boulevard one morning.
The robins were singing loudly that day, more so than normal. Usually a robin makes a squeaking, short sound, but they can sing and they were singing beautifully as I walked by. I didn’t laugh at them, but their singing did make me happy. Isn’t it funny how happy sounds make us happy?
I was thinking about laughter because of an advertisement I had seen on television. The ad was selling videos and was showing clips of the old-time comedians .
Red Skelton had to be one of the best. He could make people laugh with his characters like Clem Kadiddlehopper. Here was a country bumpkin who made us laugh by being so naive.
The clown Freddie the Freeloader made a person laugh immediately. Red Skelton did not use much make up but made such funny faces that he was hilarious.
My favorites though, were Gertrude and Heathcliff, the two seagull characters. When Red Skelton tucked his arms under his arm pits, the viewer knew Gertrude and Heathcliff were on stage.
Jackie Gleason was my father’s favorite comedian. A weekly show called “The Honeymooners” gave Pa a great deal of entertainment. What was so funny was that many of the same lines were used each week and still came out funny. When Jackie Gleason said, “One of these days, right in the kisser” Pa was delighted.
Another Jackie Gleason character, The Poor Soul was a silent character, who was always getting in sad situations. It was sad, in a funny way. Nothing he did turned out right. If a person wasn’t laughing so hard, he would feel sorry for The Poor Soul.
Television had many other early comedians. Carol Burnett could be so funny. I recall how she came to be successful after having her own show as a standup comedian.
Carol Burnett starred in The Carol Burnett Show for many years, and the "Carol Burnett and Friends" show which followed. The last time I saw her on television she was older but still funny.  
Uncle Donald, my dad’s only brother, was funny. He always made me laugh by grabbing my ear and telling me how soft it was. Or he would ask, “Do you think you will be a man before your mother?”
Uncle Donald was also a story teller. For some reason he had a way about him which made what he was telling comical even if it was not so.
Sadly, today’s comedians think they must say bad words or make fun of someone to be funny. Too bad they don’t watch this television ad I saw recently, order a copy, and watch how real funny people make others laugh.
Take a walk, try to laugh a few times every day, use those signal lights, drive the speed limit, and see what you notice while passing along Wildcat Boulevard.
 
 

 

Russell Hively writes a weekly column for the Daily News.