‘A trophy with a voice’

Julie Ostrow – Laughter Connector

I am most privileged to be able to call Julie Ostrow a friend but I suspect that just about everyone that has met her will feel the same way. When you meet Julie it’s like meeting someone you already know; her warmth, her smile, her always ready-to-go laugh makes you feel as comfortable, relaxed and as happy as you do with those people closest to you. Yes, she does have a great personality and a lovely nature but the true secret of her success is – laughter.

When we share laughter with someone we share an intimate exchange. Our mirror neurons allow us to reflect the emotion displayed by the other person and laughter sends the emotional message of happiness. So it’s scientifically simple, Julie is someone who makes you feel better and brightens your day and the good news is that anyone of us can be like that too.

USA Laughter Champion

Julie laughs a lot and she’s good at it. So good, that she is has been given the title of USA Laughter Champion.  She won the title at the first ever ‘Laughter Championships’, an event arranged by Laughologist, Albert Nerenberg and held in San Diego. She also won a huge trophy that is inscribed – ‘Best Laugher in America’.

‘Best Laugher in America’

Some people would have put their trophy on display in their home, or modestly put it away somewhere and  just got on with their life, but not Julie. She carries this trophy with her everywhere she goes. It has been a life changing event.  First of all, the sight of diminutive Julie carrying a trophy that appears to be almost half her height is enough to make most people smile, but when they read the inscription, ‘Best Laugher in America’, their usual reaction is to laugh.

This must be the best ‘ice-breaker’ in the world and it certainly trumps the other well-known conversation starters of cute children and friendly dogs. When Julie, the trophy and I, went for a coffee in a well-known coffee shop in Toronto, we ended up talking and laughing with all the staff and the customers. When Julie boards an aircraft with her trophy she finds that the cabin crew, pilots and passengers want to ask her questions about being a professional ‘laugher’ and once she has their attention, she tells them about the wonderful benefits of laughter and why she is passionate about sharing this information with others.

 Ambassador for Laughter

Julie explains ‘This trophy does not have a voice, I am its voice. I am an ambassador for Laughter.’ and indeed she is. She spends time travelling across North America and wherever she goes the sound of laughter is always present. She uses laughter in various ways – she is a stand-up comedian, improvisational actor, motivational speaker and a laughter yoga leader. Her mission is to facilitate laughter in people’s lives and act as the catalyst for rediscovering joy and recapturing creativity and childlike playfulness.

Association for Applied Therapeutic Humor (AATH)

Laughter can be a serious business and this week the Association for Applied Therapeutic Humor (AATH) held their annual conference in Vincennes, Indiana and once again Julie was a guest speaker. The AATH is a non-profit organisation that supports the people who use therapeutic humor as a health and wellness intervention. Their members include psychologists, counsellors, healthcare practitioners, social workers, physicians, hospital clowns and many others. A lot of good work is done through the power of laughter.

A funny old life

Julie’s personal motto is ‘find the funny’. It helps her to find humour in everyday experiences and to laugh in the difficult situations that life throws at us all. Resilience is a strength highly valued in positive psychology and taught in some schools and the US army. Seeing the funny side, (isn’t there always a funny side?)  doesn’t make these situations any better but it does help us to cope.

Laughter is a great stress reliever (the reason why nervous laughter is so common) and it is a reminder that often we take ourselves a bit too seriously. It may feel like the end of the world but (so far!) the world has survived our personal calamities and life goes on. Laughter builds relationships and helps to keep them strong. It may be true that ‘the family that eats together stays together’ but perhaps the family that laugh together wants to stay and be with each other more often, and not just at mealtimes?

The expression ‘laugh and the world laughs with you’ is true, just ask Julie Ostrow !




  1. Ann Mitchell

    I am from Bribie Isand Queensland Australia . I have a Lets Laugh Group of 7years with many more years to come. First congratulations for being presented with a trophy for the Best Laugher and I am impressed that you take your trophy with you and in doing so helps everyone to lighten up. I am going to share your story and it’s amazing how word of mouth travels..
    Let’s Laugh
    Ann Mitchell

    • Thank you, Ann! Keep up the great work with your laughter club! Have a great day!

      Julie Ostrow
      American Laughing Champion
      Humor, Laughter, Improv Coach
      Author of the upcoming book…
      “Let Your Laugh Out…living your life with gusto and enthusiasm!”

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