Pain, Headaches, Laughter, & Last Comic Standing

what makes me laugh
what makes me laugh

Starting Monday night, I got this terrible headache.  Somehow, I pushed through and managed to write a new blog post.  The next day, I pushed through again and made it to a family dinner to send off my cousins who are moving away.  Then yesterday, I had to prepare for an important meeting.  After the meeting ended, I lied in bed for most of the day.  Mind you, this isn’t the worst headache I’ve ever had.  I used to have migraines that could last anywhere between one to seven days.  This is an improvement.  But when most parts of your body (like your hands and feet) hurt 24/7, a headache still sucks.  That’s the nature of chronic illness–every interruption (headache, mosquito bite, altercation with the linen cabinet) magnifies and multiplies your daily problems.  I haven’t had a day without pain since I got Myasthenia Gravis in 2008.  However, I experienced a positive turning point last night when I decided to tune into this season of Last Comic Standing beginning with the premiere episode, which is two hours long.  This is LCS’s ninth season.

Breaking the Rhythm of the Pain

After watching a couple hours of Last Comic Standing (LCS), I was feeling better.  Then, I was able to exercise, eat dinner, and shower.  I woke up today with a headache again.  Part of my headache is caused by this seemingly never-ending period I’ve had for a month; I have polycystic ovarian syndrome.  Lots of fun, people.  But I decided to start today by resuming Last Comic Standing and alternating between watching LCS and things I need to do like lesson plans for my students.  Now, I’m laughing.  Laughter is helping me interrupt the rhythm of the pain and take some control back.  LCS is a show where comedians compete against each other; one of the most famous past season winners is Amy Schumer.  The winner gets $250,000 and an NBC development deal for his/her own show.  The three-judge panel includes: Roseanne Barr, Keenan Ivory Wayans, and new judge Norm McDonald.  Roseanne always cracks me up.  Anthony Jeselnik is the new host; he’s my favorite LCS host thus far.  He’s as funny as he is pretty.  I know a lot of reality-TV shows can have a nasty dog-eat-dog feel about them, but LCS is not like that.  It’s very lighthearted.  There’s a wide variety of styles so you’re bound to find someone who makes you laugh.  Often, I find myself laughing at comedians whose style of comedy I would never have sought out before.  LCS is also great if you’re one those people who does not like cursing or overtly sexual humor.

Relationship Between Laughter and Stress

Like exercise, the physical act of laughter releases endorphins, which are also known as the “feel good hormones,” because they help us fight stress.  Just as I push myself to exercise more when I feel a depressive episode coming on (I have bipolar disorder), I have to push myself to watch something funny when I’m in pain–mental or physical.  And of course, physical pain can catalyze depression.

Your Turn?

What makes you laugh?  Do you have a favorite comedian or sitcom?

Ryan Conner, my favorite LCS contestant of Season 9 (so far):

Visit Last Comic Standing’s website here!

Wednesdays 10/9C on NBC

–Your Stylist, Jessica Gimeno


Hi there! I am a patient advocate, writer, and public speaker most well known for my TEDx Talk, “How to Get Stuff Done When You Are Depressed.” As someone who is juggling 5 illnesses: bipolar 2, myasthenia gravis, endometriosis, psoriasis, and asthma, I’m passionate about helping people who navigate life with both chronic physical & emotional pain. If you’re interested in hiring me to speak at your event, check out the CONTACT tab.

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