The Best Medicine
Julie Ostrow ’89—no joke about it—
enjoys success as an ambassador
JULIE OS TROW ’89 doesn’t have a favorite joke.
In fact, she has a hard time even remembering
jokes, but she often finds herself on stage,
microphone in hand, making people laugh.
Calling herself a humor, laughter and improv
coach, Ostrow takes her coaching skills on the
road to present workshops to businesses and
other groups that aim to foster positivity and
increase communication. “I believe in living a
life of humor, laughter and improvisation, and
finding humor in everything,” she says.
Ostrow, who has a degree in speech communications, worked in public relations and
marketing for nearly 20 years before taking
the plunge in 2001 to start her own business,
Find the Funny Enterprises. She comes from a
family that loves to laugh and has always
been interested in helping people. She found
out early in her career that she was good at
improv when a colleague prodded her to take
classes at Chicago’s Second City, a famous
Growing up in the Midwest, Ostrow moved
to Chicago after graduation and continues to
live in a Chicago suburb. In addition to her
business, she’s a laugh yoga instructor (“It’s
all about the laughter, no yoga pants required.
Though sometimes when I do a downward dog
that can be funny.”) and performs stand-up a
couple of times a year in the Chicago area.
Besides making other people laugh,
Ostrow has achieved some renown for her
laugh. She’s a member of an organization
for humor and laughter professionals, and
that’s where she heard about the American
Laughter Championship. In 2013, she became
the first American laughing champion—when
her laugh was determined to be the most
contagious among about 20 contestants in
San Diego, Calif.
“I’ve been told it’s infectious,” she says.
“I know that when I start laughing other people
start laughing, and when I start laughing I
continue to laugh because my laugh makes
me laugh.” —Terri Colby