When I was a kid there was a boy in my class that was a bully. In the school yard he would beat up on the easiest target every chance he got. Until one day the class clown started secretly organizing pranks behind his back. He organized it in a way that the bully never knew who it was – so he couldn’t fight back. One time someone put a layer of glue on his chair, when he got up his pants were stuck to the chair making everyone laugh. But that was just the start. Another time someone tied his shoe laces together or another time someone stole his towel and cloths while he was in the shower leaving him naked asking for help from anyone.
The only thing that trumps fear is laughter.
The jesters of our society – the standup comedians, comedy writers and cartoonist hold a powerful weapon – the ability to push the boundaries. The word Jester at it’s origin means storyteller. And stories change people.
Humour is powerful. In fact its so powerful, activist consultant and writer of Blueprint for revolution Srdja Popovic has helped overthrow many governments through a term he coines laughtivism, a strategic use of humor and mocking by social nonviolent movements in order to undermine the authority of an opponent, build credibility, break fear and apathy and reach target audiences.
Comedy like SNL skits, can easily be dismissed as being silly but throughout history comedy like these cartoons have had one of the most powerful psychological, emotional, and political impact on societies.
Humour doesn’t just make you laugh – it makes you think.
So remind those Jesters you may know to stop playing it safe because if anyone can lead the change, it’s them.
Also published on Medium.