Tell us about the last time you had a real, deep, crying-from-laughing belly laugh.
The best thing about a belly laugh is that it’s true. It’s not a ‘oh, that’s a clever play on words, I see what you did there’ kind of titter. It’s not an appreciation for something funny either. Its a full blown, got you by the goolies expression of genuine humour when something has tickled your funny bone. It’s uncontained, raw and real.
I am a nice person and I want the best for everyone, however it is true to say that I revel in the misfortune of others. Obviously not if its serious, but small calamaties tickle me more than jokes, and hurl me into a frenzied state of uncontrollable laughter.
One day at work I was on hold to my local radio station (not relating to work, I was waiting in a queue for a song request) when my colleague was sitting on the spare chair at the spare desk in my office. He had answered the phone to someone who wasn’t listening to him when he was speaking. I could tell he was getting annoyed; he started to swing back on the chair more vigorously as he raised his voice, and then it happened. He fell off the chair sideways and his head *kind of* landed in the bin. There wasn’t much room for all of this to happen, so he ended up a bit squashed on the floor.
I’m laughing at my desk thinking about it! When it happened I burst out laughing, and every time I relayed the story to people I had the same reaction as when I witnessed it!
I believe this type of humour is Schadenfreuden, which is defined as taking pleasure in the misfortune of others. Some slapstick comedy relies on this type of humour, including Laurel & Hardy and The Three Stoogies. I don’t find it particularly funny in film, definitely not as good as the real thing.
My gut reaction to such instances is to see if the recipient is ok first, before billowing a belly laugh. Maybe I want to laugh straight away, but my manners and care for others demands that I check to see if everything is ok before allowing myself to bask in the humour. And maybe that’s why it produces a belly laugh; because it has been semi contained!
I also laugh at myself in such situations too. I once said to my friend, ‘If you can’t laugh at yourself, who can you laugh at?’ Her reply was, ‘You’. I get into my fair share of mishaps, more regularly than you might think!