National Laughing Contest Debuts in US

Contestants try to infect audience with laughter
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 6, 2013 2:38 PM CDT
National Laughing Contest Debuts in US
A women competing in a laughing contest.   (

Like laughing at nothing in particular? Then check out the American Laughing Championship when it debuts tomorrow in San Diego, reports the Huffington Post. The audience will determine which contestant is best at the Alabama knee-slapper, the maniacal laugh, and the diabolical laugh—the latter an attempt to make the audience laugh helplessly along. "A good diabolical laugh requires the laugher to infect himself and start laughing naturally," says Canadian filmmaker Albert Nerenberg, who organized the contest.

Nerenberg has organized other contests in Japan and Canada, and one in California, for his documentary Laughology. He says the idea came to him from watching Ultimate Fighting Championship matches: "Before all these fights, there is a stare-down and, many times, the fighters begin to spontaneously laugh." He knows that many consider his contest a novelty, but he insists the world needs more great laughers. "They tend to be cheerful, upbeat types," he says. "We've never had a clinically depressed person win so far." (More laughter stories.)

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