The Gentle Cemetery

Types of Laughter the tattood arm of Lenny Bruce

Updated: 31st May 2022

There seems to be a distinction in a lot of what I read between different types of "laughter". Neuroscientists like Sophie Scott and Robert Provine seem to be just as interested (if not more) in the social aspects of laughter which they have found aren't always in response to a funny stimulus.

They talk about genuine laughter and performed laughter.

Performed laughter

Performed laughter seems to be what we do to oil the social wheels and signify things to people. This is fine and I think represents how laughter has been repurposed and so whilst it's fascinating from a sociological standpoint it doesn't tell us about what makes something funny.

Genuine laughter

Genuine laughter is a response to something actually funny. The question I'm interested in is: What makes a thing funny? So it really is only "genuine laughter" I'm interested in.

Whenever I talk about laughter I'll tend to use the word "genuine" where possible

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