Laughter Heals is in the process of submitting an application to the IRS to be recognized as a public charity exempt from federal income tax under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. If the IRS approves our exemption application, exempt status will be recognized back to the date of our formation, and any contributions made while the application is pending will be tax-deductible to the donor. However, no assurance of deductibility can be given while our exemption application is pending.
Laughter Heals is the new PG-13 documentary film slated for wide release in 2017. Directed by visionary filmmaker Marc Bennett and produced by Academy Award nominated producer Robert Whitmore, along with award-winning standup comedian Craig Shoemaker, our audience will experience a journey to the Land of “HAAs.” This film is about the healing power of laughter, and how it affects us physically, emotionally and metaphysically. The laughs meet adversity head on.
Ask 100 random people about the now scientifically proven beneficial effect laughter has on pain, the circulatory system, or our mental state, and most likely they will stare at you in disbelief. Pose the same question to someone in the medical profession about how often they incorporate laughter into their practice and the majority will wonder what you’re talking about.
It’s been long said (and proven) that laughter is the best medicine. So why are doctors more apt to prescribe a pill with risky side effects? As long ago as the 14th century, laughter was used to manage pain. Countless studies by scientists and physicians have concluded that laughter oxygenates the blood, relieves stress and releases healing endorphins into our bodies. So how is it that we do not explore its uses further in modern medicine? We strive to find out.
The movie Laughter Heals will take us on a quest through the medical, psychological, scientific, comedic and spiritual communities to answer the question - why isn’t laughter used globally as a healing modality?
Our film sets out to raise awareness of the healing power of laughter for our audience, as well as medical professionals and the wellness industry at large. Seeing is believing as we follow seven patients with various illnesses, who will go through ‘laughter programs,’ while a certified team of doctors monitor and report the results. Not only will our film inspire and educate, but it will also be peppered with countless comedy scenes and funny situations that will make our audience roar with laughter too!
Craig Shoemaker, as a result of his travels, life experiences and over 30 years at the top of the standup comedy world, is the perfect tour guide for Laughter Heals. Craig will bring the viewers on an expedition that explores how laughter transforms our mind, body and spirit. We will share the stories, examine the evidence and uncover the healing powers of the hearty chuckle together. Does laughter really work? Can doctors prescribe it as they would a synthetic drug? Does it really add years to our lives? And can it work for anyone?
Craig will visit and interview top medical and scientific professionals such as Dr. Drew Pinsky, “Patch” Adams M.D., Dr. Lee Berk, Dr. Tracy Gaudet and Dr. Steve Eisenberg, all of whom are using different techniques utilizing the healing potential of laughter. Let’s go on the inside and see how this works! Talk to patients of all kinds and they will tell you it is not necessarily the “knowledge” a doctor or nurse possesses that keeps them trudging through the painful recovery process. What is most important to the patient is the compassionate comfort the caregiver provides. The pursuit of joy and happiness gives all of us a reason to LIVE!
There is a mental and spiritual aspect to humor therapy and we will interview numerous luminaries such as Dr. Joe Dispenza, and Rev. Ian Gregory, who decided to put religion aside and start the Church of Laughter. Interviews with Chicken Soup for the Soul author Mark Victor Hansen and the star of The Secret, Dr. Michael Beckwith, will continue to reinforce those spiritual/metaphysical beliefs
Craig Shoemaker will interact with his celebrity colleagues, friends and some of the all-time greats of comedy. They will address the importance of humor as a path to well being. Ever notice how long many standup comics live? We do! Just being around laughter leads to a longer, happier life. George Burns, Bob Hope, Phyllis Diller and Milton Berle are all comedy legends, who lived into their nineties and beyond. Don Rickles and Bob Newhart are still going strong, and we think we know why!
The film will uncover some previously unknown reasons for shifting losers into winners by interviewing experts in the world of sports psychology. Hall of Fame NBA coach Phil Jackson lets us in on how a lone pre-arranged night in a comedy club launched one of the greatest comeback winning streaks in Lakers history, leading to the NBA crown. And want to know what really reversed the Curse of the Bambino, resulting in the 2004 Red Sox World Series Championship? Red Sox center-fielder Johnny Damon tells the story of the root of the historic comeback, all prompted by the team choosing to have fun as a key to their success.
The core inspiration for the Laughter Heals team is screenwriter Michael Goldberg. Known for writing iconic comedy movies such as Cool Runnings and Little Giants, Goldberg is certainly aware of how important it is to find the funny. In 1999 Goldberg was diagnosed as terminally ill with debilitating brain cancer and was given three months to live. Goldberg, with the help of his friends and family team of caregivers, added a most-important element to his healing regimen - laughter. Today, fifteen years later, Goldberg is very much alive. This film is dedicated to Goldberg. His inspiring story is at the root of this project
The executive Laughter Heals production team is made up of Oscar and EMMY Award winners, as well as authors who have sold more than 500 million books worldwide. The depth and value of their network of contacts puts no limits as to what is possible for this film and its reach. Join us today and help start the laughter movement!