Funny and documentary do not go together unless it is Laughology, the superb film by Canadian filmmaker Albert Nerenberg. Nerenberg gigs for every giggle trying to understand why we laugh. This documentary DVD also looks at what laughter is, what it does to us, and so on.
Nerenberg one day noticed he had lost his laugh. Perhaps by learning everything he could about laughter he could figure out where he had left his.
He interviews a neurologist, a former medical doctor turned laugh doctor, a cardiologist, a neuroscientist, and other people serious about laughter. They explain why laughter is good for you. The Norman Cousins story is proof laughter is the best medicine.
The director also looks at laughter in animals. The animal shelter experiment is really fascinating. So is the segment on how the Inuit survived long winters through laughing games. The funniest moment is when we meet Doug Collins, the man with the world's most contagious laughter.
Of course Laughology has its silly moments. The caveman scene is cheesier than a low budget indie horror flick. Others have subtle timing such as when Nerenberg falls off a park bench.
Perhaps the single most important moment is when Nerenberg reveals Fran Drescher s The Nanny paid people to laugh at the show. This was no great surprise to me.
If there is one thing to remember from Laughology is that laughing is good for you so find a serious comedy website, read its reviews, and buy buy buy what it recommends including this documentary DVD. But for that you will have to skip the segment on how humor and laughter do not necessarily connect.
Special features are extended segments.