Perhaps amidst all the bad news, the fact that the American middle-class is facing extinction may be the most troubling. I know that I’m supposed to be the Comedy Doctor but there wasn’t a whole lot of funny in 2010. Maybe my mission in 2011 won’t be to be funny or find funny or to make funny. Maybe, in 2011 my job will be to help restore funny-put it back in its proper place of prominence in our lives and in our greater society. In the San Francisco Bay Area, we’ve initiated what we hope will become a national movement. We started in Oakland. Like many other urban destinations, “The Town”, as it is affectionately referred to by its residents, is a city that’s been bogged-down the last few years with more than its share of negativity-much of it stemming from the two usual suspects: the criminals and the police-those sworn “to serve and protect.” Many Bay Area cities including: Oakland, Richmond, San Francisco, even the tiny municipalities of Fairfield and Antioch and others, desperately need some comic relief. That’s why we launched Bay Area S.M.I.L.E. (Spreading More Infectious Laughter Everyday). Next year, we’re marching on to Southern California. After that, the world! Well, let’s not get ahead of ourselves. I tend to get real excited about saving the world. But you do get the point, right? People need a comedy retreat, a laugh break, similar to how they need a sick day at work or better yet, a “floating holiday.” Do they still have those? The Bible says that, “Laughter does the heart good like medicine.” 2010 Bay Area Black Comedy Competition Champion Nate Jackson, also reminds us that scientists have found that laughter releases endorphins in our bodies, chemicals that give us a sense of pleasure and well being. In turn, that positive energy aids the body in the healing process. Speeding up cell regeneration and actually promoting healing throughout the body, mind and spirit. Laughter is indeed the best medicine! So, like any good doctor worth his patient’s trust, I’m going to make a diagnosis and prognosis for what’s ailing us and for what our country needs in 2011, because everybody knows, we’re not feeling our best. The diagnosis: We’re suffering from a condition called P.R.E.S.S. (NOTE: I made this up-Post Regressive Emotional Stress Syndrome). Here are the symptoms: 1.) Sudden, unprovoked outbursts of profanity, e.g. “cursing a Negro out,” etc. 2.) Having fewer than 7 outbursts of laughter each day 3.) A less than stellar love life 4.) Regrets of being stuck in a dead-end job 5.) You just want to slap somebody for no particular reason If you suffer from any three of the above, guess what? You’ve got it!