Red Nose Day: Can Laughter Really Change the World?

Make 'em laugh!

Country star Blake Shelton is embracing his inner clown. Supermodel Heidi Klum is doing it, too. And funnyman Will Ferrell is always ready to make people laugh. Are you? Well, you can get silly with these stars because today is America’s very first Red Nose Day!

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What Is Red Nose Day?

Natalie Morales, Savannah Guthrie, Matt Lauer, Al Roker for Red Nose Day
Natalie Morales, Savannah Guthrie, Matt Lauer, and Al Roker join in the Red Nose Day fun. Gavin Bond/NBC

In case you’ve missed any of the quirky celebrity promos for this initiative (like a “Game of Thrones the Musical” teaser video), let us give you the lowdown. According to its website, Red Nose Day is a “campaign dedicated to raising money for children and young people living in poverty by simply having fun and making people laugh.” Sounds easy enough, right?

Red Nose Day was started by the Brits in 1988 (by the writers and directors of films like and , in fact). Since that time, the UK has raised more than $1.5 million by asking celebrities and regular folks alike to purchase and wear a red clown nose on their face and generate awareness to lift children out of poverty.

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How to Get Involved

Christina Aguilera promotes Red Nose Day
Christina Aguilera promotes Red Nose Day. Trae Patton/NBC

The idea is to use the power of social media to create buzz for the cause. Pose with a red nose and post it to social media with #RedNoseDay or get inspired by these fun fundraising ideas. The day culminates with a three-hour TV special tonight (8-11 p.m. EST) on NBC with musical and comedic performances from stars including , , , and . Even is ready to tickle your funny bone!

Tune in to be entertained and educated on the issues throughout the broadcast. The money raised will be donated among a dozen charities, including the United Way and the Boys & Girls Clubs of America.

We all know laughter is powerful, but can it actually affect change for some of the world’s poorest communities? In the meantime, let’s take a look at what we do know about the funny business that makes people laugh.

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The Health Benefits of Laughter

Two women laughing in pilates class
Liam Norris/Cultura/Getty Images

We’ve all heard the old adage that “laughter is the best medicine,” right? Well, it’s pretty true. Studies show and . And we’re no fitness experts, but we say a good, hearty belly laugh sure beats these . Here’s starting now. Doesn't Red Nose Day seem like the perfect day to start?

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Learn to Tell the Perfect Joke

Microphone
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Maybe you want to be the one to tell the jokes today! Even if you’ve graduated from the school of knock knocks, we’ve got a few extra tips on to make sure your audience is laughing with you, not at you. Soon enough, you’ll be and on your way to — maybe even landing a spot on next year's Red Nose Day special.

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Viral Hits to Make You Laugh

Man and woman laughing at phone
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The easiest way to give someone else a chuckle these days is to turn to the Internet for knee-slapping viral videos and memes. Because where else can you find 20 hilarious perfectly timed action photos? Or 10 ? Or 30 of the greatest fail videos? Or 15 super funny dog memes? You're welcome. Share away!

More: The 20 Most Viral Videos Ever

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Our Favorite Quotes About Laughing

Two girls laughing
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There’s so much more we could say about how important it is to and sometimes even ROFL. But we’ll leave the final words (we mean, the last laugh) to . Here are . Now go put that red nose on and make someone laugh!

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