Ever make a little off-the-cuff joke and have it cause gales of uncontrollable laughter? It’s a little awkward, because the you have to immediately shift gears from a semi-amusing conversation to waiting for the person to collect himself and stop repeating the last thing you said. You often end up standing around like a yahoo trying to ‘get’ your own joke. (“Was it really that funny? Am I too stupid to ‘get’ myself?”)
This happened to me about a month ago: A friend and I were talking about the British monarchy, specifically Prince Charles and Camilla. The conversation (as per her usual style) was centered around making dumb jokes centering around why Charles would stay with the horse-faced woman. I, with characteristic tastefulness, said “If Charles ever rode Camilla, she’d be the only horse who has to tack into the wind.”
She lost it. A good five minutes were consumed by her trying to find it again. All I could do was make conversational noises until she was back up to speed.
Has this ever happened to you?
I’ve been the uncontrollable giggler. A group of friends and I went to see Love’s Labour’s Lost a few months ago, and as we were discussing it afterward, this happened:
MALE FRIEND: And Don Armado was fantastic! I was especially impressed with his physicality—
FEMALE FRIEND: Ooo-ooh.
I left the room, collected myself, came back, took one look at Male Friend and started laughing hysterically again. It was just the perfect combination of killer timing and unashamed cheapness.
Yes, this feeling does get uncomfortable. We’ve exchanged a short laugh to acknowledge the joke, fine, move on. If the person laughs longer and I know them well enough, I’d probably tease them about the giggly mood they seem to be in.
I did that on the phone with a client WHILE BEING MONITORED by the company president.
I didn’t find out for about a week and died a little bit inside when I had to listen to myself.
I was at work around Thanksgiving, and somebody needed a catchy phrase to advertise our giving away of a turkey for a prize. I said ‘How about give somebody the bird’ or something similar. I was waiting for everybody to turn around and start taking a piece out of me, or at the least give me a look or scorn, or at the extreme very least, ignore me. I most definitely thought I would be at the end of the line of people saying it. No way. EVERY one of them laughed richly at the joke that had been in the public domain at least since the mid seventies. ‘Hoo-ha greatshakes.’ ‘Give them the bird. That’s pretty funny.’ ‘Good one, greatshakes!’ I was a regular Seinfeld. I wouldn’t be surprised if they are still laughing at it.
I’m afraid to tell them my ‘Why did the chicken cross the road’ joke. They may just take me and force the crown of King of Comedy onto my head, of which I am not worthy. At least I didn’t think I was.
I’m usually the manic laugher. I have an odd sense of humor, and sometime something will just tickle me and I’ll crack up. And then hours later I’ll remember and start laughing for no apparent reason.