Empowering Media That Matters

TheLaughter Effect

The [Serious] Role of Comedy in Social Change

The Laughter Effect is a series of investigations that spotlights how and why comedy can play a role in social change. Reports and studies from this project offer strategic recommendations about leveraging comedy for social justice – for change-makers, professional storytellers, and researchers.

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Yes And...Laughter Lab

CMSI has teamed with Moore + Associates and Comedy Central to create the first ever Yes And... Laughter Lab (YALL). We believe that cultural and narrative change facilitates political change and that civil society and social justice organizations need to embrace the role of creativity and culture to foster public engagement in challenging social issues. Based on research and creative work in the arena of comedy and social justice, we know that social justice organizations may be hesitant about leveraging comedy for social change -- or working collaboratively between these sectors -- because they have a hard time envisioning how this comes together, how comedy can be an effective cultural tool for enlightenment and engagement around urgent social challenges, and how collaboration might happen. Through the Yes And... Laughter Lab (YALL), we seek to start cross-sector collaborative relationships between the comedy and social justice sectors, on the way to supporting the production and distribution of new comedy work that can reframe the conversations about, and encourage public engagement with, the most pressing issues of today.

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Comedy ThinkTank

Bringing Comedy Strategy into Social Justice Activism

The Comedy ThinkTank jumpstarts the use of comedy and out-of-the-box Cultural thinking to creatively empower social justice organizations through exposure to the raw, unedited brainstorming of brilliant comedic minds.

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How Comedy Works to Change the World

This quick primer breaks it down: Comedy opens doors to complex issues, persuades us emotionally, encourages us to share, and breaks down social barriers.

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Leveraging Comedy for Social Change

Strategic Recommendations

For strategists and social justice professionals, how can comedy be leveraged for social change? The Laughter Effect strategic recommendations primer offers some tips for engagement.

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Comedy as Creative Dissent in Latin America

Lessons from Cross-Sector Collaborations in Brazil, Colombia & Mexico

Around the world, in countries immersed in varying degrees of political unrest, media censorship, and the collective frustration of the people, comedy offers a source of catharsis and form of political engagement with serious issues.

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The Laughter Effect on Medium


Comedy is already hard at work repairing the world. The Laughter Effect on Medium is an editorial series featuring case studies, analysis, and new ways of looking at comedy and social change.

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Center for Media & Social Impact
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