The Overlaughers

They say that laughter is the best medicine. But don’t we all know some people that overdose on it? Those people are The Overlaughers. We encounter them in everyday life. You may even be an overlaugher. Typically the overlaughers have no idea they are one. Typically, overlaughers also annoy the hell out of the rest of us. I’m five sentences in and you’re all still thinking, “What the hell is an overlaugher Phil? Get to it already would you!” If this was your thought, you are probably not an overlaugher.

An overlaugher is a person who’s laughter is often disproportionate to the stimulus which provoked it. On the one side of this, it is nice that these people are enjoying life so much that they find even the most modestly amusing things bring them unmitigated joy. The other side of this coin is that the rest of us have to listen to them guffaw loudly during meetings, in casual conversations and during movies or television shows. Don’t get me wrong, I love to laugh and I love hearing others laugh at my jokes, but even if it is my joke, I still get the urge to slap an overlaugher right out of their fit of hysteria if it is unwarranted. There are three types of overlaughers. I’m not sure which is more irritating.

The first type is the Self Overlaugher, or an Overlaugher Type I. For most of this week I was at a conference through my work. Eight hours a day for three straight days I sat in a conference room being lectured at. This first day presenter was a very attractive 28-30 year old woman who had just gotten her PhD the day before yesterday and couldn’t wait to enthusiastically share all the brand spankin’ new information they had taught her in college, but which has no useful application in the real world. In an effort to spice up her presentation she interspersed jokes and amusing personal anecdotes. Early in the day I was very pleased with this approach. Then I noticed she was an Overlaugher Type I. She found herself hysterically funny. So funny in fact that she often began laughing at her jokes before the audience had a chance to. Sometimes the audience chose not to laugh since she had already done it for them. It is fine to tell jokes, in fact I do it all day long. Sometimes it is even Ok to smirk or chuckle a bit when you say something amusing. A Self-Overlaugher laughs loudly and profusely at their own jokes as if someone else had just said something side-splittingly funny.

The second day we had a different presenter who was a bit more low key. Unfortunately for the rest of us an Overlaugher Type II had taken up residence in the front row. As a performer or public speaker it is wonderful to have several Type II Overlaughers in your audience. Type II Overlaughers seem to have an over-reactive funny bone. They find everything hysterically funny and usually have very little self-awareness regarding the volume at which their laughter emanates from their body. The problem for public speakers and audiences alike is when there is just one Type II Overlaugher in the audience. When there is just one Type II Overlaugher in the audience their laughter, which is either too loud, occurs alone, or outlasts the group response, tends to make a joke seems less funny because of their singularly exaggerated response, which usually causes everyone in the room to look at them and think, “What the hell is wrong with him?”

The Type III Overlaugher is known as the Combo type. A Combo Overlaugher laughs loudly and frequently at both their own jokes and everyone elses. The Combo Overlaughers are exhausting to be around and give most of us a headache. These people must collapse exhausted at the end of each day from the sheer energy required to maintain this laughter all day. The Combo Overlaughers strike me as very sad though because you know damn well that no one is that happy 24/7 and if they behave as if they are they’re probably hiding something. Like seeing a clown at a bar drinking and smoking at the end of a long day of making ballon animals I imagine that the Type III Overlaughers go home and drink themselves to sleep every night.

The one place I do love Overlaughers however is in my comments, so please, feel free to embrace your inner Overlaugher. Which type are you?

42 responses to “The Overlaughers

  1. I’m a Type IV, the guy who walks around all day smiling to himself and laughing inside at all the fools who are types I,II,and III.

  2. The overlaughers are usually the ones who write “lol” in the middle of their own posts and comments as well.

  3. Hmmmm….I think I`d be a type IV too with some “lol” thrown in for good measure, heheGreat post!teaxo

  4. I don’t actually think I’m an overlaugher, but if I fall into any catergory it would be the first. Yeah, I’m pretty good at making ymself laugh. Sad, isn’t it?So, was the Overlaugher Type I actually funny to people other than herself? Just curious.

  5. HAHAHAHA!!!Oh Phil…that was HAHAHAHA!! HA!So darn LOL!! ROFL…LMAO!!! Whew…tee hee.

  6. I see humor in everything, but I keep it to myself until people ask me what I’m chuckling about. But it has to be funny.A good example of an overlaugher was the “bad date” in Sleepless in Seattle. She not only overlaughed, she snorted/overlaughed, at nothing.

  7. You continue to amaze me with your blogs..what part of your brain helps you write so well..I’m so should of been a proffesional writer instead of a blogger writer…I enjoy coming here so much because of your writing talent…p.s don’t let any of that go to your head now…two feet on the floor..ok..

  8. Haven’t been here in forever but needed a laugh today and knew where to go to get one!

  9. I guess I’m a type IV, as well. Only, I smile quietly at funny thoughts and images inside my head, and everybody around me probably thinks I’m totaly nuts

  10. Bobciz- Type IV is not a type because you are not OVER laughing. It has to be external laughter. The conversations in your head don’t count.Marybeth- Right you are!Tean & Margaritas- Welcome to The Phil Factor, it’s nice to meet you. Carly- The Overlaugher was fairly amusing, but not as amusing to us as she was to herself.Tai- Were you just overlaughing? Thank you. You’re my new best friend.

  11. Josie- Chuckling to yourself doesn’t make you an overlaugher. Yes, the Sleepless in Seattle bad date is a good example.Fancy Face- Of course I’ll let it go to my head. It was a great compliment and I’m enjoying it immensely. To be honest, I’m trying to get work as a real writer. Can I use you as a reference?Layla- Welcome back! I’ve missed you! I have to re-do my links to get connected to your new blog. I keep losing it.ChooChoo- You have to laugh on the outside to be an overlaugher.

  12. I’ve done all of the above… just depending on how many drinks I’ve had.

  13. I think it depends on the situation for me…somes a typeII other times a type IVthis post made me smile though :o)

  14. rotlfmaopmp

  15. Great Post Phil. Nice. Overlaughers are truly annoying.I don’t know if you captured them, maybe over laughers type X, those that laugh at shit that is NOT funny.Rocket

  16. I don’t think I fit any of those categories….do u think you could come up with a category for the “slow to pick up on the Joke” kind of people. Or the one’s who find something funny which they normally wouldn’t and for some reason they laugh hysterically to the point of well….you know…the bodily funtion thing kinda takes over.Great post. It made me smile.cheers

  17. I knew what you were talking about in the first sentence. Overlaughers creep me out. When It happens in movies I always suspect the people are just stoned.The only weird laugh thing I have is that in every movie I have ever attended there is one scene that is only funny to me. And I let out a big giant guffaw. When we watch movies at home, my husband or daughter will turn to me at my one giant laugh and say, “Yeah that would have been your solo laugh at the movies.”

  18. Eh, guess that’s why I’m one of those “serious type” writers…. I almost never laugh! You know us stuffy prudish types…no sense of humor whatsoever.

  19. Wanderinggirl- I think that applies to all of us and doesn’t qualify you as an overlaugher, just a fun drunk.Michelle- Like I said, there is no type 4. Overlaughing has to occur outside your head, or else you’re no OVER laughing.Quinn- Have you considered Depends?(reference to the pmp in your comment)Rocketstar- You’re right. Your Type X might fit in with the other two types though because their laughter is greatly exaggerrated.

  20. Anon- Interesting. I think the slow to pick up on the joke people might be underlaughers. Geewits- I believe that your occasional movie guffaw qualifies you as an Intermittent Overlaugher. That’s just a subtype of Type II. Usually that tendemcy gets worse as you age. I’m sorry, but there’s no cure.J-Now that’s just sad. I’d rather meet an OOverlaugher than an Underlaugher. If you don’t enjoy humor, what are you doing at my blog?


  22. Hahahahaaha!<>Phil<>, I am so sorry for the inappropriate guffaw above. My name is Belizegial and I am here today because I admit to being an overlaugher. Sometimes, I do a combo of snorting through my nose, letting out a yelp of laughter and/or silently shaking with suppressed laughter mostly at something funny I hear or see.At which point, like Uncle Albert (<>in Mary Poppins<>) I find myself floating up the ceiling from too much merriment and have to spend time reading the saddest news of the day so I can float back down to terra firma :):)

  23. Me, I am an Innerly Amused Type I in which I am secretly amused at just about anything remotely amusing. Sadly, I’ve come to acknowledge that I’m easily entertained. Lowbrow and highbrow comedy, it’s all the same to me.But I’m fairly quiet about it. πŸ™‚

  24. i am most certainly not an overlaugher. Alas, i am the person who expects to meet overlaughers since i think i am so funny, but i never do. Which means some people don’t have a sense of humour do they?

  25. i am not an overlaugher, but i witnessed one on tv.i was scanning through my tivo’d stuff..late night tv talk. marie osmond was on craig furgeson and, boy oh boy, is she an overlaugher type I. i think they do the overlaughing out of a sense of insecurity. trying to put themselves and others at, i’m a dry martini laugher. i laugh on the inside and it takes a lot to make me guffaw. last weekend i was in the unfortunate position of having front row seats at a comedy show being taped for a dvd. it wasn’t a very funny show on the whole – some parts, had me going, but i rate the whole night a 4. i gave a few pitty overlaughters because i know how hard it is to perform to a crowd. i felt a bit cheap and used when they had us fake a standing O at the end.

  26. anytime,philster, anytime..I’ve been going through some of my old stuff from high school that I wrote as soon as I get a five…I’ll write it in my wanna be sitting down when it’s time…trust me…

  27. oh come now darlin, you dont recognize sarcasm? Guess I’ll ahve to work on that ***quiet lil chuckle..settlin back and returning to my writing***

  28. but then again, I Could always just leave your blog instead, eh?

  29. LOL I am the blogger/commenter who writes “LOL” all the time….I guess it just reiterates to the readers that something is meant to be funny?? LOL I dunno…lol See??? lolGreat post though…..

  30. Laughter is healthy. Laughter is good for the soul. I’d rather be an overlaugher than be a sad f**k who can’t see the humour in anything. That said, there is someone I work with who can’t tell his laugh is too loud. But it’s still better than the other person I work with who is constantly bitching. Even if the biching was a whisper, it would still be more annoying. An ex-coworker used to call me giggles. I tend to giggle. Maybe that makes me an overlaugher. I wouldn’t change it. πŸ™‚ROTFL-N

  31. First of all, wow 30 comments!Second, I’m definitely a Type I. the worst is when I know I’m going to say somthing funny but rather than laugh first, then say it — I laugh and say it simultaneously. So that no one has any idea what I’m saying or why I’m laughing.

  32. Thanks for yet another laugh. Despite Marybeths comment (yes I am a profound user of LOL) I am not an overlaugher… I am way too reserved for that. I do however join those of your readers that want to strangle them. My 13 year old is one – let’s just say that the teenaged years are already proving challenging. It doesn’t help that every time he starts the first thing that comes to my mind is “moron”Good luck in your search for a full time writing job – I will be one of your avid readers… unless you end up writing technical stuff and then all bets are off!

  33. This was inspired, Phil. Laugh — I thought I’d die. But, as Steve Allen used to say, “all seriousness aside,” I have been in such situations and I know whereof you write. Good to categorize them, too. Of course, such people could always get work doing laugh-tracks for very unfunny TV sitcoms.Ian

  34. Chelle- Thanks, LOL at your comment!Natalia- I completely agree with you regarding laughter being good for you. Also, despite the tone of my post, I am not a Scrooge and would much rather hear laughter than a complaint any day.McKay- Are you perhaps an underlaugher?Jmai- There’s nothing wrong with being an overlaugher. As our friend Natalia pointed out, a little extra laughter is far better than the alternative. It just shows that you enjoy life.Ian- I absolutely hate a laugh track on an unfunny sitcom. It always sounds out of place and serves to accentuate how bad the jokes are.

  35. Thank you, Phil! I passed this around my entire office! Except, of course, to the girl that this reminded us all of. ; ) A little catty I guess, but man this post hit home!~Fab

  36. I don’t know if I’m an over-laugher, although I do laugh a lot. I am, for certain, an EL or Early Laugher. You know the type, the first one to laugh in a movie theater either because she got the joke quicker or saw the joke coming and still thought it was funny and laughed first. I then laugh silently to myself when I hear everyone else laugh 5 or more seconds after I did.

  37. I love it! I would say the one I love the most is the contagious over-laugher. Then we just can’t help ourselves.

  38. I fall in the category I do daft/embarrassing things and folk take the piss out of me but I just laugh it off. I see the humour in my own self. Am I a whole new undiscovered category?

  39. Lol..hehe..haha…LoveIt!….I do all that… Overlaugher, so be it! ….I worry not and you are correct( whoever said it) It gets worse as you get older because you don’t give a jot or a rats arse….Have a lovely day…Fun post and comments once again….Love it!

  40. What about the laugh trackers? The ones who laugh like they are part of the laugh track on a bad sitcom. The laugh sounds exactly the same each time, almost robotic.

  41. I have a loud laugh. It’s so loud that it makes other people laugh when they hear it, but I don’t think that makes me an over-laugher, though. Just a loud one. πŸ˜‰

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