Jean-Paul Bell

Humour Dynamics

Described as ‘the face that could launch a thousand laughs’, Jean-Paul Bell brings laughter and entertainment to audiences while delivering powerful and informative presentations. He is a great choice to open a conference or seminar or to take on the risky challenge of after dinner speaker.

One of Australia’s great ‘Humour-manitarians’ Jean-Paul Bell believes that humour helps put life into perspective. It helps us understand the orthodox, tolerate the unpleasant, overcome the unexpected and survive the unbearable.

As one of five children, Jean-Paul moved more than 118 times, confronting change and upheaval on a regular basis. This early life experience caused Jean-Paul to develop resilience and flexibility and to thrive on change and its possibilities. His insight in how the human species adapts to change and flourish is very valuable listening.

In 1996, Jean-Paul created and co-founded the Humour Foundation, which included the Clown Doctor Program. The program benefits patients, family and the entire hospital community, bringing fun and laughter to sick children in hospital, providing diversional therapy and giving the chance for families to reconnect through laughter. In 2010 he wrote Laughter is the Best Medicine, chronicling the experiences of a number of Clown Doctors as they do their rounds in children’s hospitals around Australia.

Jean-Paul has taken his physical comedy to war torn countries like Afghanistan and East Timor, as shown on the ABC documentary Honeymoon in Kabul. He proves that the more stressed or threatened people are the greater the potential for laughter. “Humour can have an effect similar to an ‘out of body experience’, where you look down from the position you are in and embrace the absurd and the ridiculous. Comedy in these situations is more like an extreme sport!,” he has said.

Jean-Paul Bell’s great passions are health and education. As creative director of the Arts Health Institute he has facilitated national programs, education and research to bring the arts into health and aged care environments. The highly successful Play Up program, involving humour therapy for elderly people suffering from the effects of dementia, has been implemented around Australia and incorporates the skills of over 60 performers in 70 Residential Aged Care Facilities. An acclaimed documentary, The Smile Within, highlighted his innovative approach in applied theatre for people in aged care.

Jean-Paul believes the performing arts are a great influence in child development, making them more confident, articulate and creative as they progress on to their working lives. To this end, he has spent decades working in theatre and education, performing for over half a million children, and teaching mime, movement and clowning to both teachers and children.

In 2011 Jean-Paul fulfilled a long-held ambition to lead a group of physical theatre performers in The Roof Of The World Tour, performing and teaching workshops in schools built by Sir Edmund Hillary’s Himalayan Trust. This was the first time Sherpa children had the opportunity to see Western-style clown, mime and acrobatic performances. A documentary of this journey, Stumbling In Hillary’s Footsteps, was shown on the ABC Compass program in June 2013.

One of Australia’s most humorous, compassionate speakers Jean-Paul Bell is in high demand not only in the health care industry but in the general community.

Jean-Paul Bell speaks about:

  • Leading from the heart and not the bottom line – for the health care sector
  • Improving the lives of patients, residents and staff in the day-to-day care of people in institutions
  • The importance of the people and not the environment that makes a good community
  • Promoting his theory of Emotional Share Holding
  • Encouraging staff and management become partners in promoting the values of their workplace environment in order to create a harmonious life style for all
  • The importance of ‘Nurturing the Nurturers’
  • The necessity of change and resilience for the corporate sector

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