Negin Farsad: The Best Medicine

I first met Negin Farsad in the MTV Newsroom thirteen or so years ago. Negin was a writer on a wacky show called “Daily Detox” which, as I recall, was a bizarre daily news recap with a very healthy budget line for puppets and plush mascots.

At the time, Chris and I were a bit stuck with our documentary, “Mister Rogers & Me.” We’d shot most of the key interviews, but hadn’t quite found our way through the story yet.

So when I learned that Negin had recently premiered her first doc, “Nerdcore Rising,” at the SXSW Film Festival, I was Mr. 20 Questions. (Some things haven’t changed.)

And when I learned how thoughtful, smart and — DUH — funny she was, I recruited her into our Annual Holiday Benefit — in which singer/songwriter friends and I recorded and released holiday songs and played a big rock show — all for charity .

Negin has gone on to immeasurable greatness. She’s a regular on NPR’s “Wait, Wait Don’t Tell Me.” She has her own weekly podcast, “Fake The Nation.” She’s given a TED Talk and been a TED Fellow. She wrote a book called, “How To Make White People Laugh.” She wrote, directed and starred in her own rom com released by a real movie studio with real movie stars! And last month, her animated superhero doppelgänger, Meredith The Mind Taker, premiered on Adult Swim’s, Birdgirl.

Mister Rogers that “Our job in life is to help people realize how rare and valuable each one of us really is” — no matter where we’re from, no matter what we look like, and no matter what color glasses we wear.

Laughter is powerful medicine.

The simple act of smiling trades the stress-induced cortisol in our bloodstreams for dopamine, oxytocin and endorphins. It reduces anxiety, and inspires connection, affection, attention and motivation. It wakes us up. And opens us up.

When we’re open and awake, we see — as Fred reminds us, as Negin shows us — that ”As different as we are from one another, as unique as each one of us is, we are much more the same than we are different.”

And maybe that’s part of the care we need to heal the world, one punchline at a time.

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