Death and Humor on The Doyenne of Death Podcast, Part Three

May 16, 2024 | 0 comments

Death and Humor: Laughing in the Face of Death

In this episode of The Doyenne of Death® Podcast, host Gail Rubin continues her conversation with speaker and author Greg Bennick about the pioneering work of Ernest Becker, author of the Pulitzer Prize winning book, The Denial of Death. In part three of this conversation, Gail and Greg discuss death and humor, helping us to address the double bind of our existence. Listen to Part Three of the conversation here.

They discuss distractions in life that pull our attention away from thoughts of death. They talk about how humor and laughter can help us deal with negative things that happen in our lives. They also discuss an academic paper by Dr. Neil Elgee, titled Laughing at Death. He was a medical doctor fascinated with Ernest Becker’s work. Greg Bennick would meet with him for lunch and discuss Becker’s work. The paper dives into examining jokes, Freud and Woody Allen, Otto Rank, irony, laughter, and finding our way through the tough spots of life.

Download a PDF of Dr. Neil Elgee’s paper here.

Catch Part One of their conversation here. Listen to Part Two here.

Watch on YouTube

Doyenne of Death Podcast with Greg Bennick Part Three

About Greg Bennick

Reclaim the Moment CoverGreg Bennick has been a thought provoker, public presenter, comedic juggler and punk rock vocalist (yes you read that correctly), a TEDx Speaker, a humanitarian and philanthropist, and an influencer devoted to transforming the world by inspiring personal and social change.

He is writing the first ever biography of philosopher, cultural anthropologist, and Pulitzer Prize winner Ernest Becker, who dedicated his life to understanding the complexities of self esteem and how it relates to our psychological well-being. Greg has been studying Becker’s work for twenty-five years and is a recognized expert on his writing. The insights Greg has drawn from Becker’s work offer hope for our increasingly turbulent world.

He is the author of the forthcoming book, Reclaim the Moment: 7 Strategies to Build a Better Now. It provides strategies for juggling a world of distractions to prioritize focus, improve self-esteem, and increase performance. To be released August 2024 by Wiley, it’s available for pre-order NOW: Learn more at

About Gail Rubin

Gail Rubin, Certified Thanatologist and the Doyenne of Death

Gail Rubin, CT, pioneering death educator and podcast host.

Gail Rubin, Certified Thanatologist and The Doyenne of Death, was recognized by the Association for Death Education and Counseling (ADEC) with their prestigious Community Educator Award at the organization’s annual conference in Houston on April 11, 2024. ADEC’s Community Educator Award honors an individual in a non-academic setting with expertise in the field of thanatology, the study of death, dying and bereavement. The award recognizes excellence in developing community focused teaching materials and events that are innovative and cutting edge.

She has created and facilitated numerous community death education events and materials. Learn more about Gail Rubin and her work at and

A Good Goodbye