The Frontal Cortex

Involuntary Laughter

Why can’t we supress laughter?
I have no idea, but this video is hilarious. It’s also a little cruel. I dare you not to laugh.

Comments

  1. #1 J-Dog
    June 30, 2006

    This is PERFECT! This is EXACTLY what all interviewers (and all sensible people) need to do every time Ann Coltour speaks! If I can quote Johhny Carson, “funny, funny stuff”.

  2. #2 Craig Pennington
    June 30, 2006

    It seemed to me that only the interviewer laughs. What was the subject matter? It must have been serious for the audience to remain unsmiling as the interviewer loses it.

  3. #3 J-Dog
    June 30, 2006

    I do not know what language they were speaking – Russian? -BUT it was still funny. IMO, you can make up your own story about what they were discussing… My thought is “So, Ivan, how do you and Natasha get it on, now that she is confined to a wheel chair? The interviewer may have used a double entendre, and once he realized this, it started him on the slippery slope to his out-of-control laughter.

  4. #4 Jonah
    June 30, 2006

    I assumed he started laughing because the man’s voice was so high and squeaky…

  5. #5 Flaky
    June 30, 2006

    The language is Icelandic. I’ve no idea what they’re saying, but I’m quessing that the interviewer is laughing because the guy has a funny voice.

  6. #6 Jonah
    June 30, 2006

    PS. If anyone speaks Icelandic, I would kill for a translation…

  7. #7 Akufu
    June 30, 2006

    It is not Icelandic, It is (Belgian) Dutch actually.

    The subject of the interview is the woman who had some kind of post-surgery problem. Initially the host asks her how she and her partner reacted to that, and later (after getting his breath back and apologising to the audience) he asks whether they have encountered any problems in their sexual relationship. The poor man with the odd voice is trying to explain that there is more to it than the physical side, there’s also loving words. The man in the back of the audience at the end of the fragment says he has the same problem. It never becomes clear what it is, and I wonder if this is from a satirical show? What they say isn’t at all funny (except for their voices).

  8. #8 Jonah
    June 30, 2006

    Thank you very much for that explanation. I would be terribly disappointed if this clip came from a satire show…

  9. #9 Ivo
    July 1, 2006

    It’s not from a satirical show. The interviewer indeed went into uncontrollable laughter because of the guys voice, although the subject matter was very serious. I seem to recall that the interviewer was fired as a result.

  10. #10 Robert Krulwich
    July 3, 2006

    AS a wipe the tears from my eyes and try to resume breathing–this clip was, indeed, hilarious–I wonder two things: first, why is that guy’s ferocious attempt to suppress his laugh so unbelievably contagious? I remember reading about an outbreak of contagious laughter that engulfed a whole village and rendered everybody (or was it the kids?) helpless. No one could explain why it persisted with such force. So a post like that is, in a mysterious way, almsot dangerous. But my second question is: what’s with the audience? Why did none of them laugh? Why is something that is so laugh inducing to me so un-inducing tothem? Maybe on display here was both a contagious thing and its antidote..There was once a Monty Python sketch about a joke so powerful it would kill anyone who heard it.
    What those Belgians must have swallowed before taking their seats is the perfect shield to a perfect joke.

  11. #11 cm
    July 7, 2006

    I get the sense that the audience is not laughing because the subject matter is serious, perhaps even rather sad (the woman is in a wheelchair), and, unlike the host, they don’t find the fact that this man has a slightly high voice very funny, and do find the hosts uncontrollable laughter, in the face of this unfortunate couple, asinine.

    The reaction of the host may have been caused in part by the social pressure to remain serious due to the content of the discussion, and sometimes that type of “control pressure” can result in a kind of nervous laughter. Still, hosts are paid to have an extra degree of composure and control than average, so if this host was fired that’s for the best.

    But the deep-voiced man at the end was just such strange fortuitous juxtaposition that by that point in his laughing fit who can blame the host for just giving in to full-on laughing?

  12. #12 sitemap
    April 11, 2009

    I get the sense that the audience is not laughing because the subject matter is serious, perhaps even rather sad (the woman is in a wheelchair), and, unlike the host, they don’t find the fact that this man has a slightly high voice very funny, and do find the hosts uncontrollable laughter, in the face of this unfortunate couple, asinine.

    The reaction of the host may have been caused in part by the social pressure to remain serious due to the content of the discussion, and sometimes that type of “control pressure” can result in a kind of nervous laughter. Still, hosts are paid to have an extra degree of composure and control than average, so if this host was fired that’s for the best.

    But the deep-voiced man at the end was just such strange fortuitous juxtaposition that by that point in his laughing fit who can blame the host for just giving in to full-on laughing?

  13. #13 Antalya Gezi Sitesi
    April 12, 2009

    I like your ideas. Thanks for sharing with us ;)

  14. #14 pk
    May 13, 2011

    This is a clip from a satirical show in belgium called “in the gloria”. They’re all actors, and very good ones if I read the posts.

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