Is Competitive Laughter Becoming A New Craze?

LaughologyThe documentary Laughology is helping set off a new fad with the discovery that competitive laughter can be entertaining.

The film makes the case that laughter itself is the primary motivator of laughter, so jokes aren’t necessary for people to have a good time. After a laughing contest in Montreal where the audience was in stitches, a competition made headlines in Tokyo. This Saturday a laughter contest hits America in the form of the California Ultimate Laughing Championship. Linda Massarella reports for the Toronto Sun:

So there was this American state called California with one of the highest unemployment rates on the continent and citizens fretting about losing their homes to foreclosure … when in walks this Canadian guy.

Yes, it’s Toronto documentary filmmaker Albert Nerenberg to the rescue of the depressed and anxious around here [San Luis Obispo, CA] next Saturday when he brings his movie, Laughology, to a film festival just north of L.A.

Before and after the showing of his documentary, Nerenberg will host a laughing contest and a so-called “Laughter Yoga” class.

It’s the first time Laughology, released about a year ago, has been invited to screen in California and Nerenberg said he’ll do his best to lighten the mood.

“I’m not sure I can cheer them up too much, but I can make them laugh,” he said of the screening-and-chuckling events to be showcased at the San Luis Obispo Film Festival March 12.

“It’s clear that with practice, people get better and better at laughing, even if they’re miserable SOBs.”

It was Nerenberg who came up with the idea of hosting a laugh contest to coincide with screenings of his film. The contest is organized as if it’s a wrestling contest such as the Ultimate Fighting Championship, although Nerenberg says he’s a “laugher not a fighter.”

In essence, he who laughs the hardest during the competition wins. Of course, the championship is meant to be ironic because, after all, everyone who laughs wins…

[continues in the Toronto Sun]

Also check out this TV news report on the first laughter championship in Montreal:

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