29 Mar The Quickest Way To Irritate A Stand Up Comedian…fake laughter!
When was the last time that you laughed politely at something or someone? There are many times in life when faking it is expected. Whether you’re laughing at a trick performed by a child or a terrible joke being made by an important business client, you should always try make sure that you aren’t faking laughter in situations when you would be better off being real – such as at a live comedy event.
Research shows that as humans we laugh in one of two ways. The first kind of laughter is instinctively emotional and uncontrollable while the second is self-generated and used in social situations to promote better interactions and to make sure those around us are at ease.
Many people who attend comedy events feel that they need to react in a certain way, especially when the event is being recording and filmed – leading to polite and forced laughter.
David Steinberg is a popular Canadian stand-up comedian and performer. He believes that when it comes to performing live comedy, that “you can’t really get good unless you’re failing in front of a large number of people. That makes stand-up comedy unique: you need a tremendous amount of reserve within you to take the rejection from the audience, and without it, you can’t do anything.”
By forcing laughter you are doing the stand-up comic performing in front of you a great disservice. Great comics with many years of experience are able to use the genuine reaction of the audience as a way of reading the room and adjusting any jokes that aren’t hitting the mark. When we fake laughter it prevents them from doing this and also keeps others from laughing.
You see, genuine laughter is contagious, and when we hear laughter it activates the area in the brain concerned with emotion as well as the part of the brain that controls our facial muscle movements. When we hear genuine laughter these parts of the brain prepare to mimic this, and so we find it easier to laugh in crowds of people laughing with us.
So the next time you attend a live comedy event, leave the canned laughter for the sitcoms. Who knows, you might find you find it funnier this way.