When I'm in a gloomy mood, I like to binge-watch comedy shows to try to defeat it. It's no magic happy pill. But it helps. It gets me focused on something outside myself that makes me lose my breath from laughter and then find my breath again. It's comedic meditation.
We don't own a television that is new enough to broadcast digital TV, so we just use our old ass TV sets to play video games and watch movies on DVD and VHS. We watch most everything else online for free. No subscriptions to Netflix, nothing. We just pay for our internet service. We're the frugalest pop-culture enthusiasts I know.
There's lots of good stuff online for free. I compiled a list of my five favorite online sites for people who need a little comedic meditation:
Late Night with Jimmy Fallon clips on YouTube. The skits with Fallon and Justin Timberlake will make you cry. First from laughter and then, if you're lucky, sometimes we get to watch their bromance unfold and we will shed tears of joy. The skits with The Roots playing with classroom instruments are little miracles. Jimmy's impersonations of musical guests ranging from Bruce Springsteen to Neil Young to Jim Morrison are flawless. This show is a fine example of sublime comedic meditation.
Key and Peele on Comedy Central. This comedy duo is so funny, I have to stop watching them after five or six videos or else my sides hurt too much. They are painfully funny. They can tackle tough comedy topics such as race relations by virtue of their both being bi-racial. Onstage, during the introduction of their skits, Key and Peele talk openly about how they both have black fathers and white mothers. They get to make fun of both black people and white people because they are making fun of themselves. As a white woman, I don't feel comfortable making fun of black people, but Key and Peele invite me to laugh at their jokes in a way that lessons my discomfort. These badass barrier-breakers show us that all people are freaking hilarious no matter what skin their tone.
The Daily Show with Jon Stewart is my go-to site for comedic stress relief. When I'm too depressed to read the actual news, I turn to this trusted fake news source for my news fix. I'm grateful for what Stewart and his staff do to raise awareness of relevant issues in today's world in a way that gets people's attention. People want to be entertained, even with their news.
The Colbert Report is another fake news source I turn to when I need my spirits lifted. I've never seen an episode I didn't like. In fact, test me. Try to find a clip I don't like. Share it in the comments section below. I dare you.
Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee is its own web series, hosted by Jerry Seinfeld. It's great. It's so basic, and yet so brilliant. Jerry goes and picks up one of his comedian friends in some interesting car and they go drink a cup of coffee and tell each other stories and make each other laugh. It's like getting to hang out with two friends who, although they don't let you get a word in edge wise, you can sit back and sip your coffee in peace. But watch out. It hurts to laugh and blow coffee out your nose. Sip with caution.