We’re all guilty of nervous laughter to some extent or another. There was a really interesting article in the New York Times a couple of years ago about how laughter is often an instinctual survival mechanism. Laughter is used as a social tool that suggests deference and defuses possible conflict. It also demarcates social power structures. Now, I’m not one to argue with deeply buried instinctual survival mechanisms, but I’m kind of one to argue with deeply buried instinctual survival mechanisms. Because I hate that shit.
Let me give you an example. You are walking down the hallway of your office. You bump into some dude for Accounts Receivable. You aren’t great friends, but you’re friendly enough to make office chit-chat. He asks what you’re up to this weekend. You tell him, and then you ask him what he’s up to this weekend.
“Oh, my wife and I are going out to dinner with friends, and then Sunday we’ll probably go grocery shopping. HAHAHAHHAHAHAHHA.”
What is that? What is that man laughing at? These guys all sound like a bunch of lunatics. Like a bunch of Lil’ Wayneses. Oh, it is the worst.
Anyway, this video in which a local news anchorwoman can hardly contain her laughter while describing a grisly murder is basically what all nervous laughter sounds like to me:
When you nervously laugh while describing what your favorite type of burrito is, you might as well be nervously laughing while describing Hostel 2. Although, I showed this video to Lindsay and she said she would have laughed too because of the guy’s mugshot. Perfect. I work with a madwoman. Check please!