Monday, February 6, 2017


Big, big, happy, laughing news: the AMAZING Robert Rivest is going to be our keynote speaker/presenter/laugher at the 2017 Laugh-Fest! Robert, as you probably already know, is an internationally admired performer and teacher. In addition to being a renowned comic mime artist, he is also an accomplished health, literacy and stress relief educator, a gifted mindfulness teacher, a certified laughter yoga master trainer and an engaging public speaker. Since 1990 Robert Rivest has given over 7,000 presentations in Europe, Asia, Africa and across the U.S. His mission is to use mindfulness, laughter and the performing arts to bring health and happiness to individuals and organizations around the world.

At the Laugh-Fest he will be performing a mime and giving a workshop called "Mindfulness, Expression and Laughter Yoga". You won't want to miss Robert's inspiration.

Not only that, he will be teaching a certified Laughter Yoga Leader class May 4-5 (the days leading up to the launch of the Laugh-Fest on the evening of the 5th). So that means you can come and train with Robert then proceed to laugh all weekend. What an immersion experience! Consider taking his class as a refresher if you are already a Laughter Yoga Leader. His style and giftedness as a teacher can help take your laughter practice to a whole new level! Visit Robert's website to register.

Robert Rivest with some of his happy students in Japan

To help you get to know Robert and his unique style, I suggest you laugh with him this week. He's made videos to laugh you through seven days, one for each day of the week. Check them out right here. Try it and you'll be hooked! 

Breathe & Laugh with Robert Rivest and friends 7 days a week!

Friday, January 27, 2017


Has it really been TEN YEARS? Well, yes it has! That's because Lynda Tourloukis started the "Laugh-Fest in the Midwest" a decade ago. Then, without realizing it I picked up the tradition by starting the "Laugh-Fest of the Midwest" right when Lynda stopped organizing it. When the two of us joined forces we realized that between the two of us (and a plethora of other amazing laughers) we had successfully put together nine years of laughter conferences here in America's heartland! Isn't that incredible? So this year, 2017, is the "Year of the Laugh"! We are celebrating a full ten years and we couldn't be more thrilled! YAY!

This blow-out Laugh-Fest will be held in Ferryville, Wisconsin from May 5-7, 2017. It will be an exciting weekend of laughter, fun, inspiration, creativity, dancing, singing and various merriment—all in a gorgeous, natural setting. Whether you are new to laughter yoga, a seasoned professional or just someone interested in joy and wellness, there's something for you at the Laugh-Fest.

Click here to visit the newly updated Laugh-Fest page with all the details and registration information. We need you there! And pitch us a presentation idea if you'd like.

Laugh-Fest is just a few months away. I can't wait to see you and delight in a weekend of pure bliss. See you there!

Monday, May 9, 2016


OH WOW! The Laugh-Fest of the Midwest is almost here! You can almost hear the laughter ringing already. The great news is that we have the largest group registered for the fest we've ever had. And the even better news is that there is still a bit of space left for you and your friends. YAY!

The'll be a costume party and talent show this year!

I get it, you're busy. Who has time to register months in advance? So for those of you who haven't yet, pop right over to the Laugh-Fest page and register now. It is not too late! If money's tight, consider the Saturday only option or the discount housing. Those are both found on the mail-in form right here. If you'd rather use Paypal for those options, email me at so I can invoice you.

Experience the elation of laughter!

Why come to the Laugh-Fest of the Midwest? Because it is a laughter vacation. It will enable you to spend quality time with other people serious about happiness and you'll get loads of laughter, inspiration, delicious food and time in nature. It's a joy-lift waiting for you. What could be better? Listen to my podcast interview that has more about the Laugh-Fest here.

I also want to thank the presenters who have put in such effort to create amazing experiences and who are making the trip to Ferryville to share their wisdom with us. We are so grateful for their generosity of spirit. You'll want to be at the Laugh-Fest just to hang out with these laughter giants. Read about them all here.

Feel the bond of laughter connect hearts and minds

And let you forget, there are two pre-conference workshops you can take to expand your learning and delight. Learn about Celia's Laughter and the Voice workshop here and Lynda's Genius Play workshop here. These experiences are incredibly unique so take advantage of this opportunity if you can.

Ray Wojciechowski will be at the Laugh-Fest making his wildly popular balloon creations!
This year's festival theme is YES! so please say YES and be with us for a weekend you won't soon forget. TEEEEEHEE!

Saturday, May 7, 2016


The Laugh-Fest is almost here! I can feel the giggles ascending already. You're excited to be, aren't you? Oh, and guess what? You can still register here right now! 

You know it begins this Friday, May 13th, but what you might not know is that there is going to be an incredible pre-event workshop all day at the camp in Ferryville. It is called the Genius Play Experience and it is being led by none other than Lynda Tourloukis.

"What is Genius Play?" You ask. Genius Play is another new innovation by the amazing Lynda Tourloukis. She's always on the cutting edge and here's your opportunity to learn from her.

Genius Play is an intriguing and inspiring experience where we can discover fun facets and learn more capabilities than we thought. This is an exploration that is light-hearted and playfully activates your ability to yield the potential of what is possible.

Discover what abilities you are not using and refine a few that you are. This is FUN. There is LAUGHTER. And there is OMG!!!

Hurry and register today. More information and registration is available at: 

You can say YES! To Genius Play and to the Laugh-Fest of the Midwest. 

And remember this is not the only workshop going on this Friday! There is also Celia Faran's Laughter and the Voice workshop, which is sure to be a fascinating experience. Learn more here. 

Wednesday, May 4, 2016


I'm excited to announce an awesome Podcast all about laughter as a lifestyle. It is an interview I gave for the Joy Factor Podcast with Julie Hanson, Licensed Clinical Marriage and Family Therapist. This free resource helps people to boost their joy with various wellness practices.

Julie Hanson explains the mission of The Joy Factor in this way:

My mission is to help you remember your birthright. You deserve joy in your life and in your relationships. Let’s help you claim that shall we?

In addition to being an LCMFT (Licensed Clinical Marriage and Family Therapist), and LPC (Licensed Professional Counselor) I am a formally trained life coach and registered yoga teacher. I integrate the best of eastern and western schools of thought to help clients lead happier, more authentic lives. I am adept at the art of selecting an approach that fits the person or couple and strongly believe my clients have the inner resources to create the lives and relationships they want. My role is to act as a guide and strategist by offering direction, modeling new skills and sometimes simply holding the flashlight as the answers are discovered. My therapy clients include individuals, couples and families. I have taught hundreds of engaged couples how to prepare for marriage using an approach grounded in research, creativity and humor. I also regularly teach parenting and conflict management classes, relaxation groups, as well as a psychology of yoga and self-compassion workshops.

This interview is so much fun and I explain more about what will be happening at the upcoming Laugh-Fest of the Midwest. So please give it a listen here and share it with your friends! Thank you.

Thursday, April 28, 2016


The Laugh-Fest is almost upon us (May 13-15) and the excitement keeps building! (register here) We have an impossibly wonderful group of presenters this year who will be bringing our YES! theme to life. I've been highlighting many of them here at the blog. Today, I would like to introduce you to the incredible Judith Hitt.

Judith Hitt has a background in Nursing, Music and the healing arts. In 1995, she hosted Patch Adams to come to Vermont to give a presentation on the role of humor in  health and healing. From that time on, she was hooked and is a firm believer in bringing humor and joy into our lives, on all levels. Judith is also an ordained Buddhist Lama and Director of Saraswati Bhawan, a Buddhist organization in Lansing, Iowa. She teaches workshops and retreats on meditation, yoga and healing worldwide, and is on the faculty of the International Harp Therapy Program. She will lead a "Yes Breath" meditation on Friday night. Here's my interview with her.

LAURA: Judith, we are enthusiastic about the fact that you’ll be joining us for the Laugh-Fest. You are the first ordained Buddhist Lama to teach at this event and we think this will officially make you a Laughing Lama! Tee hee! So how did you decide to get involved this year?

JUDITH: I love the idea of being a Laughing Lama! When you invited me to participate and lead a meditation for the LaughFest, I just felt it was a great opportunity to connect with others who wish to bring joy into the world and in other people's lives. And—it is in my own backyard! How could I refuse?

LAURA: You and your husband lead retreats at the Saraswati Bhawan, a Buddhist organization and retreat center in the hills above the Mississippi River in Lansing, Iowa. Through this work, what have you learned about the importance of retreats?

JUDITH: In our tradition, retreats are an essential part of our practice and training. There are many kinds of practices and many levels of training. In a nutshell, retreat gives us a chance to look deeply at the inner workings of our minds—which includes our thoughts and emotions, and the repetitive habit patterns that keep us bound to this cyclic existence. In retreat, we are better able to connect with our true nature, which often becomes obscured in the stress and busyness of our daily lives. By learning how to tame the 'monkey mind,' as we like to call it, and untangle the deeply ingrained habit patterns of our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors; we become freed from our repetitive negative habits, and are better able to respond to life in a way that is beneficial to ourselves and others. Rather than just 'reacting' out of unconscious habit patterns, we can respond with wisdom.

LAURA: Indeed, learning healthier thought patterns is a goal of this laughing retreat. I understand that you have designed a creative “YES-BREATH” meditation for us to play with following the gigantic Laughter Yoga session we’ll enjoy on Friday night. What can we expect from this experience?

JUDITH: It will be a wonderful opportunity to integrate and settle all the beautiful laughter energy from the day. Breath is  life—we say 'yes' to life every time we inhale. We will breathe in the connections, love and joy that we experienced during the day, and bring it deep into our inner being, holding it like a treasure. We will use movement and sound with our breath to settle the energy into our inner being as a way to conclude our day and prepare for rest.

LAURA: It sounds truly magnificent. What fun it will be to share this experience with one another. As you know, the theme of the Laugh-Fest this year is “YES!” It is about affirming life, living joyfully and saying yes to all the things that bring us into that space of abundance. In your own life journey, how has saying yes been important to you? What insights would you like to share?

JUDITH: 'Yes' means to have confidence. It is the ultimate antidote to fear. It is our fears and hesitations that hold us back from experiencing our lives to the fullest and from living our true potential. By saying 'yes' to life, to what comes our way, we more readily enter the present moment—free from past conditioning and fear of the future unknowns. By saying 'yes' in any given moment, we enter the flow of the divine, the universe, as it unfolds before us. We become fearless, joyful, and open to new possibilities.

LAURA: YES! And now Judith, can you tell us what your hopes for the Laugh-Fest are?

JUDITH: To have fun and to connect with others in a meaningful way!

LAURA: Me too! I know we will do so. HA HA HA!

Judith Hitt (front row left) at the Lansing Laughter Club

Please join the Laughing Lama and the rest of the fabulous presenters and laughers at the 4th annual Laugh-Fest  of the Midwest May 13-15, 2016 in Ferryville, Wisconsin. You can register here! Remember that you can do Saturday only or choose to stay in the Frontier Village should you wish to attend at a discount. We are want you there! YAY!

Saturday, April 16, 2016


Exciting news: On the day the Laugh-Fest begins, May 13, you can come early and take a full-day workshop with Celia! She will be offering an interactive experience called Laughter & The Voice.

Your voice is an amazing instrument. It is always with you. Come and uncover your “consistent instrument” through vocal games & discovery. Celia will guide the group through imaginative play  & exercises that will leave you with a new appreciation for this incredible expressive part of you called your voice. Expect to become more present in your body & vocal singing or speech expression whether you want to lead singing circles, audition for American Idol, or simply rock out behind your steering wheel with the windows up. We will play & sing together. You might even have a fantastic time!

Celia has been performing for over 30 years with training in stage speech & vocal singing. She currently tours the nation as a singer/songwriter/comedienne and is also a recording artist with 13 recordings to date. Celia teaches vocal workshops as well as private voice in person or via the internet. She specializes in guiding singers to finding new tones & soundscapes they didn't even know they had.

Increase your fun & learning by adding this workshop to your Laugh-Fest experience! The workshop runs on Friday, May 13, from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. at Sugar Creek Bible Camp in Ferryville, Wisconsin.  If you would like to come early and stay over Thursday night at the camp, you can arrange that with me, Laughing Laura (email:

Fee: $149 — Laugh-Fest attendees can register for just $99!
Contact Celia Farran to register:

Pssst: Check out Celia's interview about the Laugh-Fest here.

Oh, and there is still time to register for the amazing Laugh-Fest of the Midwest! You will want to seize this incredible opportunity to gather with laughers from around the country for a rollicking good time in the hills of Wisconsin this May.