Frisco-based attorney Rocky Dhir sometimes speaks to other lawyers about clean comedy, what lawyers can learn from stand-up and how to get through bombing onstage. This CEO and president of Atlas Legal Research has performed live comedy since 2021. Lifestyle asked Rocky how comedy contributes to people's happiness, health and well-being.
DOES COMEDY IMPROVE LIFE?
"The obvious answer is comedy, when done well, makes us laugh, which releases endorphins, leading to feeling well. The less obvious answer is comedy makes us more empathetic. Comedy helps us see various ways in which others suffer (bad relationships, tough upbringings, financial struggles, mental health challenges) and how, even in adversity, we can see humor, laugh and derive joy.
Perhaps the most surprising aspect of comedy is it makes us smarter. Unless there's a pie making contact with a face, comedy is about finding commonality between seemingly disjointed concepts. Good comedy makes you think and broaden your viewpoints."
BESIDES LOWERING BLOOD PRESSURE AND BURNING CALORIES, ISN'T IT GOOD FOR HEARTS TO LAUGH?
"I'm not a doctor, though I'd love to play one on TV if anyone wants to cast me. I'm therefore not qualified to give medical advice. That’s a good thing because doctors freak out if patients have enlarged hearts, so telling people laughter will give them big hearts might send the wrong message.
However, laughter can, and does, make our hearts fuller. As a lawyer, I must give a disclaimer ('cuz that’s what my kind does): laughter is most effective when we laugh WITH each other, when it comes from a place of love. Laughing AT another is usually counter-productive, unless you're laughing at me while I'm performing.
Comedy and laughter can unite us. Whether laughing about airline travel, doctor visits, marriage or other topics, we typically laugh when we recognize a piece of our own ridiculousness. Humans are ultimately a bunch of adults with the means to cause the mischief we were denied as kids. When we realize that and learn to take ourselves less seriously, it can make not just our hearts, but our entire lives, fuller."
WHY DID YOU GET INTO STAND-UP COMEDY?
"Every Indian mom dreams of her child becoming a doctor. But I lacked brains and discipline, so I ended up going to law school. Ultimately, I always wanted to heal people in some way, and I'm a huge ham onstage (ironically, I'm vegetarian, so I kinda' disapprove of myself). Growing up, I always noticed comedy and laughter had a tendency to disarm people and build bridges. When we laugh at ourselves, we notice we've more in common than we realize.
Across gender, race, ethnicity and all things that can divide us, all of us are trying to make enough living to relax a little and just be ourselves. Stand-up helps us tap into that, and I wanted to learn the art form."
WHY IS WATCHING COMEDIANS 'GOOD MEDICINE'?
"When I'm onstage and the audience is laughing, I notice something magical: all pain disappears. For the 10, 20, 30 or however many minutes I'm performing, those in attendance get to forget their problems and worries. They're engrossed in the narrative and are too busy laughing to be thinking of the world outside. I love that feeling. And I love any comedian who puts their heart and soul into bringing happiness to their audiences.
Comedians are living, breathing pain meds. You cannot overdose on us; you can (and should) mix us with alcohol; and your insurance doesn’t care if you see us because you pay out-of-pocket. It’s perfect."
To book Rocky for a comedy appearance, email firstname.lastname@example.org.