A few years ago, TV Guide conducted a national survey which produced a list of the 50 most popular TV shows of all time. The list was restricted to regularly scheduled series, and therefore does not include sports or movies. Below is a list of the top 10 shows. As you read the list, something should jump out at you – something that says a lot about us.
Here’s the list, along with the network and years the shows ran.
1. Seinfeld (NBC, 1989-1998)
2. I Love Lucy (CBS, 1951-1957)
3. The Honeymooners (CBS, 1955-1956)
4. All in the Family (CBS, 1971-1979)
5. The Sopranos (HBO, 1999-2007)
6. 60 Minutes (CBS, 1968-present)
7. Late Show with David Letterman (CBS, 1993-2015)
8. The Simpsons (Fox, 1989-present)
9. The Andy Griffith Show (1960-1968)
10. Saturday Night Live (NBC, 1975-present)
How many of those shows would you have on your list? More importantly, did you catch anything that really jumps out about these shows?
Seven out of ten are comedies.
Audrey Hepburn, one of Hollywood’s most iconic stars, said, “I love people who make me laugh. I honestly think it’s the thing. Like most people, I like to laugh. It cures a multitude of ills. It’s probably the most important thing in a person.”
The Bible says, “A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones” (Proverbs 17:22). Look around you and you will find a lot of crushed, dried up bones. We are a fallen people who live in a fallen world. And 70 percent of Americans agree we are on the wrong track to do anything about it.
I would argue that laughter is a sign that God is at work, in your life, your church, and especially your marriage. King David wrote, “Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with shouts of joy; then they said among the nations, ‘The Lord has done great things for them'” (Psalm 126:2).
I have been married for a third of a century. Through all the challenges and in the midst of all the blessings, one thing has remained constant. Beth and I laugh – a lot. We laugh at others. We laugh at animals. We laugh at ourselves. We have laughed at many of you! We laugh – a lot. And that’s a good thing.
The same God who inspired John 3:16 inspired the verses about laughter. People are starving for laughter. How else can you explain The Simpsons coming in ahead of Gunsmoke on the list? It’s simple – people want to laugh.
I once knew a man who never laughed or smiled. I asked him if he was happy. He said, “Sure!” I responded, “Then tell your face!”
If you are walking with God, you will be blessed. And if you are blessed, you will be happy. And if you are happy, your face will eventually find out. And then you will smile. And then you’ll laugh. And suddenly – the world will be a better place.