It’s a phrase we’ve heard many times before. In our most troubling time laughter gets us through the pain. We’ve experienced the therapeutic tales of post 9/11 shows, or have witnessed personally how comedy can pick up your spirits after a dramatic day. The latter was my experience with the 2016 Moontower Comedy and Oddity Festival.
This year started out with such high hopes, where several creative ventures presented itself and new chapters were starting. That optimism lasted about a month, when in February I sustained two sports injuries. I tore my ACL and broke my ankle, thankfully on the same leg. It has been a long recovery period, in which I’m smack in the middle of, and at times mentally challenging.
This brings me back to my coverage of Moontower. I had originally thought I missed the press deadline because of all of my medical drama, but thankfully I was able to slip in and get credentials. I was beyond excited, for this is one of my favorite festivals in town. I have been covering the comedy festival since its inaugural year, with each year getting better and better.
For the last few years, comedians that I have grown up with have been headliners, allowing me the opportunity to see these geniuses who have literally "seen" me through multiple stages of my life. This year it was Janeane Garofalo and Martin Short. Comedians who remind us of the simpler time in our lives where adult situations were beyond our comprehension. In a social media heavy world, the festival is also a chance for us to see the comedians that we’ve heard through multiple internet platforms.
The realm that these headliners occupy in our world is irrelevant, what matters most is the time they spend with us while they are here. For a few hours each night the audience can forget about their troubles and fall into that dream-like state where the only thing that matters is laughing. There are so many different shows throughout the Moontower weekend, that it is guaranteed you will find just what the doctor ordered.
Comedy as an art form is created out of the need for a release. Life can be shitty, but with the help of friends, even if we don’t know them, a shared experience can make a shattered world seem whole. Laughter, as a verb, is an important part of our society. It’s a thing that we can all connect on, no matter our social or cultural backgrounds. A funny person can transcend political lines and make any situation a topic of hilarity. When your whole world seems to be hitting road blocks at every turn, that aspect is desired.
At this point in my life, where my ground is unstable, a night at a comedy show opens my mind to fantastic scenarios and memories. In the grand scheme of things, moments of weakness and heartache are fleeting. It may sound ridiculous that a comedian you don’t know personally would have that affect on your life, but what they represent is what is important.
It’s a representation of a bigger idea that while life can be severe, it can also be fantastic. Comedy serves that for so many. It’s easy to pigeonhole comic in the “look-at-me” narcissistic syndrome, but they are our angels on Earth. They help us through the trauma in their own unique way and talent.
As for me, my journey through the world of regeneration has a long way until completion, and I needed a weekend of comedy shows. It’s easy to take yourself too seriously when things are troubling, when you have to worry about health and medical bills. That’s not to say that these events make us ignorant of what goes on around us, especially when many stand-up bits are about current events, but it also makes us take a step back from it all.
That’s why comedy festivals are much more than a time to bounce between venues and catch a plethora of people in the allotted times. It becomes about having a release, about those few hours where you forget what’s troubling you in the world and are able to relax and have fun. If you can let your mind wander while you absorb the tales being spun by the talent on stage, by remembering the time you first saw the 3 Amigos salute, or when life was simple, you are obeying the doctor’s orders.
Written by Lisa Mejia
Images by Micael Monroe