Laugh Yourself Pretty: Why Humor Is Better Than Makeup

Laughing and making someone laugh are two of the most alluring things you can do.
Publish date:
May 29, 2013
exercise, comedy, Eddie Murphy, Gilda Radner, Rob Delaney

When you think of beauty, you probably think of Larry David. Or is that just me?

Sure, he’s a bald 65-year-old who only ever wears sneakers and gives Oscar a run for his money with the whole grouchiness thing, but there’s no denying that Larry’s probably one of the funniest human beings on the planet. And funny, friends, is beeeeeautiful--on men and women.

When I was six, my friend James and I found and watched his parents’ copy of Eddie Murphy’s Delirious on Betamax. We were both like “holy f*ck!” only we were more like “holy cow, he said f*ck!”

We laughed so hard we both peed our pants and continued watching the whole thing standing so as to not sit on wet bums. Even though we didn’t understand most of it, Eddie entranced us. (Watch the ice cream clip, if you’d like to laugh right now.)

Comedy has a profound affect on people. Which is cool. Laughing is fun times. Laughing makes grown women pee themselves, and peeing oneself is hilarious despite the fact that it’s sort of tragic past the age of five? Six? Am I going to be a mean mother?

When I was a 13, I hated everything about the way I looked. I had frizzy hair, bulgy eyes, a unibrow (without Annie’s style and confidence), and also sprouted a little lady mustache around the same time as my 13-year-old male counterparts.

Before I learned that I could alter my appearance with beauty techniques like drying my hair, tweezing my eyebrows and Jolene-bleaching my body hair, I took solace in funny things.

Around that time, my friends and I started watching videos of classic SNL skits, which we found in the basement of my friend Gab’s house one rainy afternoon. They were full of timeless performances by comedic masters, but the performer we loved the best was Gilda Radner.

Gilda was vivacious, fearless and damn funny, and we’d watch her Judy Miller Show sketch over and over again. They featured Gilda dressed up as Judy, a way-too-energetic child in a Girl Scout uniform performing to her stuffed animals. She’d hurl herself against her bedroom door in a breathless fervor near the end, which was the best. Looking back, I probably liked those skits because I was that annoying kid talking to her stuffed animals alone in her room.

Us kids didn't know that sweet Gilda was suffering from a major eating disorder at the time those shows were taped. All we saw was a hilarious, lovely woman who made us laugh till we cried.

Gilda was gorgeous to us, not because of how she looked, although we thought she was beautiful; but more for the way she made us feel when we saw her. We knew without really knowing that we could combat the terrible bargain of the “awkward teenage years” by making each other laugh. And we did.

Last November, I went to see comedian Rob Delaney perform in Toronto. I knew he was a funny nutball from the Twitter, but I was totally unprepared for how much I would be laughing that night. My face hurt, my lungs were sore, my stomach ached, and I even peed a little in my seat at one point (just a little squirt, nothing tragic; maybe I should do some Kegel exercises?).

My cousin Stephanie and I went for dessert with Rob after the show, and I couldn’t believe how lovely, calm and kind he was. He’s a genuinely nice family man with a funny job. Anyway, I woke up the next morning and my stomach felt like I’d done 875 sit-ups the night before.

That’s because I did. Sorta.

A good laugh gives a workout to your diaphragm, abdominal, respiratory, facial, leg and back muscles. Because our face and body muscles stretch when we laugh (and arm muscles if you’re a knee slapper), our pulse goes up, our breathing gets more intense, and we send more oxygen to our tissues and brain. JUST LIKE WHEN WE WORK OUT FOR REAL!

Laughter also lowers blood pressure, increases vascular blood flow and oxygenation of the blood, reduces stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline, increases the response of tumor- and disease-killing cells like gamma-interferon and T-cells, defends against respiratory infections, increases memory and learning, improves alertness, creativity, and memory, AND reduces chronic physical pain. (I read that here.)

This all means that our bodies and brains get healthier after laughing, and if our bodies and minds feel good, we’ll look more vibrant, too. And looking good is what we care about here on xoVain, right? It’s simple math. Or science. Or whatever.

Laugh often and your chakras will align and the good vibes will radiate through your pores, even if they’re blocked pores, with hairs and pimples poking out of them. Like true-life Photoshop, being a jolly person will minimize all imperfections until you don't notice them, or they don't bother you, at least.

So the beauty advice I have for you today is: laugh! Call your best friend and recall droll days gone by, browse your favorite humor blogs, listen to a comedy album, watch your favorite SNL clips or a funny movie. There’s no better way to get some nice color on your cheeks and a twinkle in your pretty eyes than by giggling until the soda you’re drinking comes out of your nose.

Also, if you go see Rob Delaney perform, I recommend waterproof mascara and maybe a pair of Depends, depending on your bladder.

So, tell me, what makes you laugh until you’re pretty? Who do you find more attractive because of their sense of humor?