The Laughing Cure (cont.)

The same researchers later found comedy videos worked best when "taken" a half-hour before pain testing and with at least a 45-minute "dosage."

While it will be several years before the UCLA study delivers its first medical punch lines, it has already solved a key riddle: Who will pay to see whether laughter really is, if not the best, at least an effective medicine? After all, drug companies, which spend billions to prove medications work, have little stake in investigating laughter.

Instead, Hilber turned to Comedy Central. The television home of South Park will fund most of the study's initial phases with a $75,000 grant. "If in five years' time this study can determine that comedy is good for you, we really have a marketing opportunity," says network executive Tony Fox. "[Forget] an apple a day. Watch Comedy Central instead!"

David Jacobson is a San Francisco-based writer and satirist. His work has appeared in Health, Men's Health, Salon, Maxim, and Details.

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Last Editorial Review: 1/30/2005 10:55:10 PM