Recipient of The Association for Applied and Therapeutic Humor's highest honor: The Doug Fletcher LIfetime Achievement Award Hunter College Hall of Fame honoree President of The Association for Applied and Therapeutic Humor Toastmaster's Communication & Leadership Award recipient Certified Professional Speaker designation from the National Speakers Association.
Booksandauthor.com: Who were your early influences?
Allen: My Mom was my inspiration for my humor. She would say corny things like, "My sister and I were in vaudeville. We were the Pee Sisters… Irene and Ur-ene." She continued throughout her life to find humor in her adverse situations. When, for example, she was moving and broke a lot of dishes when a flimsy card-table collapsed, she said, "Great, now I have less to pack."
Booksandauthor.com: Why do you write ?
Allen: I write to lighten up a heavy world. My first book, The Healing Power of Humor, shows readers how humor can help them cope and rise above any situation. My latest book, You Can't Ruin My Day, shows readers how to take back their power and not let anyone or anything ruin their day…or their life.
Booksandauthor.com: Define Jollytologist®.
Allen:I made that word up. Technically, because I've studied humor and laughter for years, I'm a "Gelotologist" ("gelos" is the Greek
word referring to laughter). But most folks don't know that Greek word so I changed it to "Jolly," thus "Jollytologist"®
Booksandauthor.com: You write that "Gratitude has the power to help us rise above any situation." Is this the key to Happiness? Explain.
Allen:I think gratitude is one of the major keys to happiness because if you can find something to be grateful about, you are focusing on the upside of a negative situation rather on the downside. In addition, I have found that the more I am grateful, the more things
come into my life for which I can be grateful.
Booksandauthor.com: "YOU CAN'T RUIN MY DAY" is nice helping of 52 insights, stories and techniques to obstacles into opportunities. How did this book come about and why 52? Why not 50? or 60?
Allen: I was driving to the gym on a Saturday morning. I turned up my CD player and sang to the music of a favorite Broadway show. That’s when I heard a police siren. I was being pulled over for speeding.
When I got to the gym, I was still upbeat and told my fellow gym mates what just happened. They said, “How can you possibly be so happy when you just got a speeding ticket?
In response, out of my mouth came, “I’m not going to let that policeman or that ticket ruin my day."
That is when I realized how often we let other people or other situations take away our power and let it ruin our day, or even our life. Thus came the idea for the book of how readers can take back their power and be happier no matter what.
52 seemed natural. One idea, or "wake-up call," as I see them, per week. That would give readers time to digest and experiment with each one.
Booksandauthor.com: In "YOU CAN'T RUIN MY DAY" there is a wake up call "Find the good news in the bad news" -- Can you give us a personal experience where you Found some good news in bad news?
Allen: That's a hard one because I usually don't label what happens to me as "good" or "bad." But one of the major examples of that might be when I was kicked out to Yale Drama School. I had wanted to be a scenic designer since I saw my first Broadway show when I was in grade school. Yale had a three-year Master's program. I was let go at the end of the first year. Of course, I was devastated. But I want back New York City, got into the scenic design union and I was designing national television shows while my fellow classmates were still designing school productions.
Sometimes we don't see the good news in the bad news when the bad news happens but often, down the road, we get a different perspective of it.
Booksandauthor.com: Give us some of your favorite quotes that might make someone happier today.
"The most important decision we make is whether we believe we live in a friendly or a hostile universe."
"Do you want to be right or do you want to be happy?"
-The Course in Miracles
"Our attitudes are the crayons that color our world.
Booksandauthor.com: What was the last book you read?
Allen: One book I read from almost everyday is The Law of Divine Compensation by Marianne Williamson. I really
identify with her writing and believe in a lot of what she is saying.
Booksandauthor.com: What's next?
Allen: I think children can be some of our greatest teachers. I'm therefore working on a book about things kids know
and adults need to learn.