Human weakness - Uncontrollable laughter.

I think this is one of the big mysteries of being human. The fact that given the right circumstances we cannot escape the compulsion to have a fit of laughter.

It’s a compulsion so powerful that it can overpower a national TV broadcaster who’s job is at stake because of it.

If nothing is at stake it ranks amongst probably the top 5 most enjoyable things a human being can experience.

Is there an anthropological or biological explanation for laughter?

This is all prompted by the fact I searched ‘bloopers’ on youtube to get myself through a shift at work. One of the hits which I could play again and again and still get fits of laughter was a blooper from ricky gervais’ show ‘extras’ where the female character developed a kind of ‘tick’ with her lines whereby she ‘learned’ to make the same mistake every time, and eventually started to sound like one of the teachers from peanuts. See the link below (scroll past the bit with robert lindsey. It’s funny but it’s not what got me laughing)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LrXeketWmGA

Ah, the Giggle Loop (youtube, has sound).
Sorry. No real answer, but thought it fit.

Laughter may not be unique to humans. Recent studies have shown that rats, chimps and dogs may also laugh (video of rat laughing from being tickled). Its evolutionary advantage? Well, there’s certainly no disadvantage, and studies have also shown that laughter can be therapeutic. And since humans, at least, love a good laugh we often include “sense of humour” as one of the qualities we look for in a mate, thus ensuring that it is selected for when we breed.