Jack Canfield Jack Canfield author. speaker. motivator.

Affectionately known as "America's #1 Success Coach," Jack Canfield is the originator of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series and a leading authority in the areas of self-esteem, achievement motivation, and peak performance. [www.jackcanfield.com]

 
Arianna Huffington Arianna Huffington political powerhouse. media mogul. author.

Arianna Huffington is the co-founder and Editor in Chief of the Huffington Post and the author of twelve books. [www.huffingtonpost.com]

 
Seth Godin Seth Godin author. speaker. linchpin.

Seth Godin is a prominent author, blogger and speaker. [www.squidoo.com/linchpin]

 
Krishna Kaur Krishna Kaur yogi. philanthropist. dynamic teacher.

Krishna Kaur is the founder of YOGA for Youth, a program that takes yoga, meditation, and stimulating discussions on the philosophy of yoga to urban youth. [www.yogaforyouth.org]

 
Norman Lear Norman Lear producer. philanthropist. tv legend.

Norman Lear has enjoyed a long career in television and film. He is also a political and social activist and philanthropist. [www.normanlear.com]

 
Leilani Münter Leilani Münter race car driver. activist. carbon free girl.

Leilani Münter is a professional race car driver and an environmental activist who uses her voice in the number one spectator sport in America as a catalyst for change. [www.leilanimunter.com]

 
Kevin Bales Kevin Bales Freedom Fighter. Philanthropist. Game Changer.

By going undercover to meet slaves and slaveholders, Kevin Bales exposed modern slavery's penetration into the global economy. He co-founded Free the Slaves, which has helped to liberate thousands of slaves. [www.freetheslaves.net]

 
Sophie Chiche Sophie Chiche mom. big dreamer. lady in red.

Sophie Chiche, lifebyme.com founder and curator, enjoys asking deep questions and living a life of meaning. Today she's launching Shape House, an urban sweat lodge, a place to melt away fears and fat. [www.shapehousela.com]

 
Mastin Kipp Mastin Kipp Writer. Entrepreneur. Daily Lover.

Entrepreneur and writer Mastin Kipp founded TheDailyLove.com, which merges pop culture with inspiration, and co-founded The Love Yourself Company, an apparel company that has started a global self-esteem movement. [www.TheDailyLove.com]

 
Liz Phair Liz Phair singer. musician. crier.

Liz Phair is an American singer-songwriter and guitarist. [www.lizphair.com]

 
Desmond Tutu Desmond Tutu archbishop. author. peaceful leader.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu is Chairman of The Elders, a group of world leaders who address some of the world's most pressing problems. He works energetically for human-rights and in his ministry. [www.tutu.org]

 
Zainab Salbi Zainab Salbi author. ceo. humanitarian.

Zainab Salbi is the founder and CEO of Women for Women International, a group dedicated to helping women survivors of war rebuild their lives. [www.womenforwomen.org]

 
Sean Stephenson Sean Stephenson speaker. psychotherapist. life embracer.

Despite his physical challenges, Sean Stephenson has taken a stand for a quality of life that has inspired millions of people around the world. He's a professional speaker, psychotherapist, and author. [www.timetostand.com]

 
Kia Miller Kia Miller yogi. meditator. teacher.

Kia Miller teaches Yoga at Yoga Works in Los Angeles, leads teacher trainings, and runs retreats and workshops on meditation, chakras, pranayam, and mantras, and other practices. [www.kiamiller.com]

 
Simon Mainwaring Simon Mainwaring creator. writer. idea geek.

Simon Mainwaring is an ex-Nike/Wieden creative, former Worldwide Creative Director at Motorola/Ogilvy, branding/advertising writer, author/speaker/blogger, Australian, idea geek. [www.simonmainwaring.com]

 
Shannon Bindler Shannon Bindler Strategist. Writer. Life Coach.

Shannon Bindler is a style editor, life coach, and the co-founder of Get Up Girl, an empowerment company that inspires women to shine. [www.getupgirl.com]

 
Mathieu Bitton Mathieu Bitton Designer. Art Director. Passionate Creator.

Grammy-nominated art director/designer/photographer Mathieu Bitton has designed over 450 CDs and movie posters. He's a renowned collector of and authority on black films and their soundtracks. [www.candytangerine.com]

 
Jorge Perez Jorge Perez Agent. Producer. Photography Enthusiast.

Opus Reps founder and agent-producer Jorge Perez travels the world producing photo shoots with great photographers and celebrities. He's also very involved with Meals on Wheels in Los Angeles. www.opusreps.com

 

laughter

Teddy Margas Teddy Margas jokester. humorous healer. quick quipper.

Actor, comic, and writer, Teddy Margas, is co-founder of the Queers of Comedy. He's appeared in StreepTease, Margaret Cho's Blind Dinner Party, and The Women of Woody, An Evening of Iconic Woody Allen Women performed by an All-Male Cast. [www.teddymargas.com]

Laughter is the best medicine. Thousands of studies have been done on the healing benefits of laughter, so I am thrilled to have been blessed with the ability to make people laugh.

As a child, I was the class clown. Being the fat kid, I used laughter to make friends. And it worked. I didn’t think anything of it at the time. I used it to become “popular.” I could get a laugh out of any situation, but it wasn’t until much later that I realized the healing powers laughter held.

My best friend, dying of AIDS and on every type of machine and medicine known to man, would beg me to be in the room with him during his treatments. Why? I made him laugh. And when he laughed he felt no pain. Silly stories, ridiculous faces and witty retorts would make his treatments all the more bearable.

AIDS eventually took his life, and it was through humor, once again, that I was able to help heal the wounds of his loved ones. I realized how meaningful it was to me to make someone laugh. I decided to make comedy my career.

Years later, after performing in every bar or laundromat that would have me, I was invited to perform at the world famous Comedy Store. My debut was to be on September 11, 2001. In light of the attack, comedy was canceled that day. There would be no laughter. Late night talk shows refused to broadcast, and we began to heal. But how could we heal without laughter? We needed laughter to mend.

Eventually, comedy was reinstated across our country, and I was asked back to perform. I was nervous. I didn’t know what to talk about. I didn’t think the country would laugh again. I took a deep breath and began to think about why laughter was important, and why we as a country needed to laugh.

Each performer took to the stage. Each time no one laughed. How could this be? Then it hit me. I needed to address it. I needed to tackle the elephant and find some semblance of humor in it. So that’s what I did, opening with a quip about the recent influx of American flags on cars. And they laughed. Big hearty belly laughs coming out of smiling faces. At that moment I knew, everything is going to be all right.

– Teddy Margas

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