Great medicine: laughter reaches people in homes through virtual enrichment

A little jesting, some teasing and “how are yous” can go a long way. Throw in humor as the topic of study, connect a dozen ProAct participants with their instructor in a virtual enrichment class and it’s a recipe for a great time.

“Laugh Out Loud” is a new remote offering- created and taught by direct service professional Kathy Tesch in Red Wing. Eagan DSP Mike Hurley teaches a second group. ProAct participants represent multiple locations in weekly sessions.

Wide range of clean comedy

Classmates view and discuss comedic material, all of it clean, ranging from the “Three Stooges” era to Mccaulay Culkin in “Home Alone.” Carol Burnett and Tim Conway are also in the mix.

Tesch opens her meetings for greetings and updates, followed by humorous video clips, questions and analysis of the styles employed.

“You’re trouble, both of you,” jokes one participant. “There you are. You’re a boss Megan,” says another. Laughter follows.

“We can experience it together,” said Tesch. Much like going to an event with a group and laughing, the humor can be contagious. “This is a good, good thing, it takes the mind off of everything else going on in life, with all the negative that’s going on in the world.”

Missing each other, class helps to cope with isolation

Some ProAct participants have been home since March of last year due to coronavirus precautions. The kidding around in the hallways, camaraderie in the skills training area and in-person classes isn’t happening like it did before COVID-19.

Staff miss the fun interaction, as well, Tesch explains. The 13-week curriculum shares comic biographies and information about the eras when they entertained.

Award winning musical comic Victor Borge blends dramatic pauses with different types of singing and at one point wrestles over the piano with another musician. Tesch asks if there are any musicians on the call and mentions Borge’s musical mastery blended with humor.

Varied interests and honest feedback

Tesch asked the group to be honest in their reactions and a few said they liked him.

“Laugh if you like, or if you don’t like it and don’t laugh, that’s good too,” she said. Everyone has different interests, which is fine and adds to the discussion, she explains.

At the end, each person shares something he or she found to be funny. Up the next week was Lucille Ball, and the participants couldn’t wait.