Laughter is the key to a happy and healthy life. Studies have proven that laughing is like hitting the reset button on your stress levels, sadness, pain, and anxiety. It releases endorphins, boosts oxygenation, reduces tension, fortifies the immune system, and lowers blood pressure. Who knew that getting the giggles could do so much good?
If you live in Denver and have always wanted to be the funny one in the room, head on over to the Community College of Denver for a comedy class. Learn the art of improvisation and stand-up comedy, and even how to make a career out of it. The Denver Center for the Performing Arts also offers improv classes for all ages.
If your counseling sessions could use a little levity, consider Comedy Therapy led by parenting educator Stephanie Jones and Dr. Alison Sheesley. During the small-group meetings, held at Capitol Heights, Jones and Sheesley focus on using the tenets of improv comedy to increase well-being through laughter. “At its core, improv comedy helps you to take risks, make mistakes, and not take yourself so seriously,” says Jones. “We are both goofballs at heart, and we will laugh a lot.”
According to a 2020 study published in the journal Thinking Skills and Creativity, doing just 20 minutes of improv can improve creativity, decrease social anxiety, and increase ability to tolerate uncertainty. That’s because improv is governed by a loose set of rules that help partners work together to perform scenes. Within these principles, we can practice self-love, build confidence, and achieve self-actualization.
If you’d rather be a comedy spectator than a performer, Denver has plenty of options. As the city’s only full-time improv comedy bar and theater, RISE Comedy presents a wide range of funny happenings, from original improv and sketch comedies to musical improv and karaoke sets, all accompanied by a well-stocked bar. For those who prefer to simply enjoy the jokes, check out Comedy Works, one of the country’s top-five comedy clubs (per USA Today), the Denver Comedy Underground, or the Grawlix comedy super-troupe at the Bug Theatre.
It’s true what they say: laughter really is the best medicine, and the city provides ample opportunities to dispense it. So go out, laugh long and laugh hard—and as often as possible. Your mind, body, and social life will thank you.