An Irish View of Love and Laughter

Published August 6, 1987. During the past two weeks Susan and I had the opportunity to do a bit of touring in Ireland. While in Dublin, we went to Jury’s Irish Cabaret for dinner and watched Ireland’s international comedian, Hal Roach.

Before he began, the Irish humorist explained that the gift of laughter is shared by all. It is the very core of culture and should be passed on to future generations. People of the world, he claims, have forgotten how to laugh and should realize that humor is part of our heritage. He concluded his introduction by saying that to laugh is to love, to laugh is to understand, and to laugh is to forgive. Laughter can bring a feeling of ease to some people who are not at ease with themselves or others.

Then for more than an hour, Hal Roach told several humorous stories and jokes, most of which were about Irish men and women. Here are a few of the ones he shared.

A wedding was in full swing. Mr. O’Toole was one of the guests and didn’t know too many people attending the reception. He wanted to be polite, so he asked the woman standing beside him, “Are you a friend of the groom?” The woman replied, “I am not . . . I’m the bride’s mother.”

A woman in Donegal went to the cemetery and said to the head grave keeper, “I’d like to see my husband’s grave.”

He said, “What’s his name?”

She answered, “Paddy Murphy.”

He replied, “We’ve got no Paddy Murphy in here. The only Murphy buried here is a Maggie Murphy.

She said, “Oh, that’s him. Everything is in my name.”

As he was nearing death, the wealthy Irishman gave his last request: “Upon my death purchase a nice stone.” His wife complied. After he died she went out and bought herself a 14-karat diamond ring.

The only birth control pill that’s allowed for Catholics in Ireland is one that weighs three tons. The women roll it up against the bedroom door, and the husbands can’t get in.

Flannigan went to his priest for confession. The priest asked, “Do you smoke, drink or run with women?”

Flannigan answered, “No.”

The priest then inquired, “So what is your concern?”

Flannigan answered, “I’m afraid I’ll look stupid 30 years from now dying of nothing!”

As he has done for the past 25 years, Roach concluded with a thought about smiling. It is titled “The Meaning of a Smile.”  It is available in print, and goes as follows:

“It costs nothing, but it creates much.

It enriches happiness in the home, fosters goodwill in a business, and is the countersign of friends.

It is the rest to the weary, daylight to the discouraged, sunshine to the sad, and nature’s best antidote for trouble.

Yet it cannot be begged, bought, borrowed, or stolen, for it is something that is no earthly good to anyone until it is given away.

And if in the course of the day, some of your friends may be too tired to give you a smile, why don’t you give them one of yours?

For nobody needs a smile so much as those who have none to give.”

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