Fake it until you make it: No laughing matter

HenaginOpinionCobbers, staff and yeoman alike, this article is for everyone. We all have that one habit that makes us want to run through the woods, on fire, into a tree covered in kerosene. You want to know what mine is? The sheer existence of Taylor Swift, but beyond that, it’s fake laughter. I cannot tell you how quickly it brings my brain-doings to a halting stop.

So many things run through my head: “Why do they even bother with laughing?,” “Was the joke not funny enough?,” “Did they not hear the whole thing?” or “Were they momentarily remembering something embarrassing they did 10 years ago, leading to their reluctant laughter?”

Maybe some of those things; maybe all of those things. Instead, I choose to live in my short-tempered world and momentarily hate them.

I think that comedy, jokes, sarcasm, what have you, is an important form of communication. From displaying idiosyncrasies of your personality to making serious subjects easier to deal with humor, is important. This is why I get so annoyed when people fake laugh; we can hear you not enjoying yourself.

The flipside of this is that I get people desire to encourage social interaction, and then they can think that laughing along is the easiest way to play into a friendship. OK. Fine. You want people to like you but that seems stupid. If you don’t actually like the joke, why do you want to get saddled with a numpty for a friend anyway? You don’t have to like everyone, trust me.

My favorite part about fake laughter though is the astonishing fact that humans are actually really good at discerning the difference. We have all been to event where we were a member of the crowd and you could just tell when the audience was less than impressed with certain things, less noise, more on-beat clapping, people are strangely focused on showing appreciation instead of just letting it happen. That’s what fake laughter is.

Now, strangely enough, I am not all people. And most people find fake laughter “polite” or even “complimentary” mainly because people are putting in the effort.

It makes me think of the fact that humor itself is kind of misunderstood, that people are uncomfortable letting others know where their comedic style lies. Like when we have comedians perform, and while we are all adults, and a shocking majority of us watch comedy specials on our own time, we all suddenly have this thought filter over us. We all want to make sure we are laughing when everybody else is, and that we aren’t offending others. Shocker, Concordia, swearing isn’t nearly as offensive as things that other (cough, looking at you Demetri Martin) comedians make jokes about. So let’s stop gasping after it happens.

In the end, I don’t think our own personal styles of humor are things that should be censored by others, and I want everyone to laugh freely, often, but most importantly, genuinely. Please, don’t base a friendship on something as disingenuous as fake laughing, because in the end, you’re really only punishing yourself which I have no sympathy for.

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