Jenkins Talks about the Importance of Laughter in ODE Magazine

Olivia DrakeSeptember 3, 20091min

jenkinsmagazineRon Jenkins, professor of theater, was featured in the June 23 issue of ODE Magazine in an article titled “Laughter can set people free.” Jenkins argues that laughter is a survival tactic for people under siege. “For ages, comedy has been used as a liberating tool for people, especially in oppressive regimes, to confront, ridicule and criticize the powerful,” Jenkins says in the article.

Jenkins recalls how he began his study of laughter: “When I was in pre-medical school, I was trying to help a child with autism who never made eye contact and who never spoke, [except to] repeat words spoken to him. My comical, silly, joking gestures broke though a barrier and he started looking in my eyes and initiating words. That’s when I knew I would not learn how to make people laugh in medical school. I decided to become a circus clown.”