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"Laughter is the Remedy" at Moffitt Cancer Center Comedy Show

WUSF's University Beat report previewing Moffitt Cancer Center's "Laughter is the Remedy" event

Laughter -- it's good for what ails you.

That was the conclusion of a 2010 study by researchers from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology. For seven years, they followed over 53,000 Norwegians, and found those with a sense of humor tended to be healthier and more likely to reach the age of 70.

And of the more than 2,000 study participants with cancer, those with a sense of humor were 70 percent more likely to survive than those more humor-challenged.

One quick note -- the study didn't gauge people's sense of humor with things like whoopee cushions and squirting flowers (unfortunately). Instead, subjects were asked three questions from a test designed to measure only friendly humor, not mean-spirited or insulting jokes. 

These findings are of no surprise to Dr. B. Lee Green of the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center.

“If you have a positive attitude, if you are laughing, if you are happy, it will have an impact, a positive impact on your outcomes, not only for cancer, but in other health conditions as well,” said Green, the Vice President of Moffitt Diversity and a Senior Member of the Center's Health Outcomes and Behavior Program.

The power of a good guffaw will be put into practice at an upcoming Moffitt event called Laughter is the Remedy. On the evening of Friday, July 12, a pair of comedians, including headliner Thomas Brown, will take the stage in Moffitt’s Stabile Research Building on USF’s Tampa campus for a free show for adults 21 and over.

“Comedy’s one of those things that make you forget about everything that’s going on in your life. That’s the purpose of comedy," said Brown, a Tampa native who’s performed on Carnival Cruise Ships for 20 years.

"If you’re having a hard time paying your bills, if you have an illness, our job is to make you forget about it and laugh for an hour and forget that you even have that going on in your life, so to me it wasn’t a surprise at all, I thought ‘what a great idea,’ I think it will work well together.”

As the mission for Moffitt is the cure and prevention of cancer, Dr. Green adds that there’ll be some information mixed in at the event as well.

“Oftentimes we forget about the prevention piece, so we’ll have a team of folks who will be at the event who will also be sending out a message about the importance of prevention, cause that’s the best way to deal with cancer,” Green said.

But for Brown, making people laugh is the most important thing.

“I think laughter is one of those things that, which I call ‘our common bond,’" he said. "It’s one thing that we all share, it transcends religion, race, everybody, you can’t think of one person that don’t like to laugh, so anyone that wants to come out and have a great time, come on out and we want to have a good time with you."

Moffitt Cancer Center

Comedian Tony Esposito will also perform. Opening the show will be a special “Are You Smarter than a Cancer Researcher?” game show. After the comedy, a Caribbean band will perform live music.

As of now, all 300 seats for the free event have been reserved, but you can get on a waiting list by emailing Moffitt Diversity at

Copyright 2013 WUSF Public Media - WUSF 89.7

Mark Schreiner has been the producer and reporter for "University Beat" on WUSF 89.7 FM since 2001 and on WUSF TV from 2007-2017.