After Boston: When Can We Laugh Again?

After Boston: When Can We Laugh Again?

Yesterday a friend who is a standup comedian posted a message on Facebook, asking friends to advise him: should he cancel his Tuesday night show after Monday’s horrific Boston Marathon terror attack? If he didn’t, how should he acknowledge what happened? 

Comedians and commentators across the nation are facing the same dilemma. Last night, Greg Gutfeld of Red Eye devoted the first twenty minutes of his show to the Boston bombings–and handled the challenge with wit and grace. I had the privilege of appearing on the show for the first time, and though all of us were unsure how the conversation would unfold, Greg steered it perfectly.

Greg’s approach was to begin with an opening monologue that discussed the news seriously, but treated the media coverage of the event lightly–specifically, knee-jerk media speculations about the identity of the terrorists. That opened the conversation to humor about other topics, interspersed among the difficult details of Monday’s attacks. 

After the show, everyone felt relieved that it had gone as well as it had. I congratulated Greg–not just for making it through, but for showing people how to wrestle with a painful topic and process it, using humor to make the transition from shock to coping and healing. 

Unfortunately, our generation of Americans has had to develop new resilience in the face of terror. Thanks to Greg, and others, we’re proving up to the task.