Does the rise in a country’s sense of humour indicate serious socio-economic problems? Or is it a measure of people’s endeavour to cope with tough situations and find solutions for them? In one Bollywood movie, whose title escapes me now, one character asks another: “Is everything a joke to you?” The nice retort is: “No, not everything, only those things which matter.” They say comedy is a very serious business. That is true. In an attempt to highlight this serious business, let us try to link comedy with economics, not politics. Egyptians are the masters of jokes of the Arab world. Some of their jokes are truly funny, but painfully so. Al Mutanabbi, who lived more than a millennium ago and is considered the best Arab poet, said: “How many things in Egypt bring laughter, but it is a laughter that borders on weeping.” A horse-driven cart is stopped by a fat lady. The driver, in need of money, feels sorry for the weak horse and cries: “Hurry up and enter the coach before the horse sees you.” The problem of poverty and putting food on the table is very well depicted in this anecdote. A poor father brought a small piece of meat to feed his son. The boy was very pleased and kept nagging his poor father to bring more. They go downtown and the boy sees meat hanging in a butcher’s shop. “Hey, father, the meat season is here.” In Jordan, lately, jokes are abundant and many of them are original and vintage Jordanian. It is not bad to have a sense of humour. Comedy has reinvented itself in Jordan. Ramadan, the holy month of fasting, is expected to start on June 6. We will see many live comedies critical of the government. Stand-up comedy and rapping have picked up momentum. Many Jordanian celebrations see comedians do their thing and they are funny. International comedians come to Jordan and they are well received and watched. Laughing at our ways, problems and idiosyncrasies make them more palatable. Seeing the comic side of things sugarcoats them. Politics and seriousness are often considered complementary in Jordan. Some big government guys consider laughter a cause of diminished prestige. They take themselves too seriously. We need to laugh more, but within the limits, without insulting, making personal attacks or using demeaning language. Even with those constraints there is great room for healthy laughter. Nabil Sawalha, a Jordanian comedian and sharp-tongued commentator, is now in the business of teaching laughter. It shows that it is also a potentially profitable and socially desired business.