Using comedy
for a serious purpose

Hear from course participants, professional comedians and academics….

Social Course Feedback

“Why did I want to do the Laughing Matters Comedy Workshop? Well, I didn’t really want to do it at all to begin with. I’ve never really thought there was a stand-up comedian inside of me yearning to break free. I had no great desire to command an audience with my witty repartee.

What I did have, however, was a need to stretch myself a little, to expand my comfort zone and improve my self-confidence. These were the things which I thought the Laughing Matters Comedy Workshop could offer me, and it turned out that I got those things and a whole lot more.

When a worker at the drug and alcohol aftercare service I attend suggested to me that the Laughing Matters Comedy Workshop might be something from which I could benefit in regards to building my confidence my first thought was: “Nuh-uh. I ain’t funny. It’s not for me.” Boy, am I glad that I reconsidered.  Turns out, anyone can be funny, and the Laughing Matters Comedy Workshop showed me how.

To anyone considering doing the Laughing Matters Comedy Workshop I would say: “Definitely do it.” To anyone who thinks it’s not something they could ever do I say: “Definitely do it.” I learnt that yes, there was a stand-up comedian inside of me yearning to break free. Be kind to your inner stand-up comedian and give him the chance he needs to burst forth. You’ll be glad you did.”

Addiction recovery service user, Sep 2013

Corporate Course Feedback

“At first it was no laughing matter for me, however as the course progressed without me really noticing, I produced a 3 minute routine and got some laughs.  I feel I achieved something that initially felt impossible for me.  I will never forget the experience and will use the knowledge gained in my presentations in the future. “

Regional Manager,  Vision Express

“If someone had told me I would be able to do a stand-up routine I would never have believed them.  A great development opportunity which put me out of my comfort zone and really helped me develop new skills and confidence in a fun way.  Thank you!”

Corporate Development Manager, University of Nottingham

“Taking part in this pilot taster course for Laughing Matters has been a great experience. I normally have to present on serious topics such as the housing crisis and the bedroom tax, so it has been wonderfully liberating to have an audience when I can talk about something light hearted instead ! (….) I am sure that taking part in Laughing Matters would be a great boost for professionals who aren’t confident public speakers, and I am really pleased to be able to support them.”

Chief Executive, Regional Charity

Academic research

following findings:

“The workshop group appears to be effective in cohering a milieu which has features of a purposive transitional therapeutic community with many of the features of a process of talking therapy.  The atmosphere of the workshops might well be familiar in terms of group therapy and creative mutual recovery where there is combination of personal task focused around an arts project work which moderated by emotional containment and shared relational depth as participants tell their own story and get to know each other.  We might speculate that the workshops act as a container whereby relationships between participants in recovery are explored, developed and sealed as the workshop culminates in final performance evening in which participants face the considerable challenge of performing their routine.  The ‘performance’ aspect of the course might well have a positive impact in terms of confidence building.”

Dr Gary Winship

Associate Professor, School of Education, University of Nottingham,

Senior Fellow, Institute of Mental Health.


“…..participants felt that taking part in the comedy workshops was a positive, enjoyable experience that led to positive outcomes in their lives based on the skills and confidence that they had gained. Whilst participants choose to take part in the workshops for different reasons, participants felt that they had gained from the intervention what they wanted to gain and in this way all participants saw the experience as a positive one that they would recommend to others.”

Alex Barker PhD Student, Faculty of Medicine & Health Sciences


Professional Comedian Quotes

“It can help dismantle the stigmas arising from painful experiences”

“There’s no greater sense of sharing than standing alone on a stage and laughing at life’s trials and tribulations.”

Johnny Vegas  

“When people walk into a comedy store, they leave their problems at the door. Forty minutes of comedy and release is therapeutic”

“Learning humour releases certain chemicals in the brain …it helps to deal with problems – it’s a coping mechanism. Yes you can teach people to do that.”

Michael Winslow (AKA Jones from Police Academy)

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