underground laughter
December 20, 2011 2:11 PM   Subscribe

On the subway in Berlin, one woman started chuckling at something on her cellphone and it snowballed. [slyt] posted by nickyskye (55 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
 
Amazing that our brains don't just support laughter, but its propagating in groups. Why? What's benefit of doing this? Maybe just one of many side effects and more pleasant bugs in our minds.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 2:17 PM on December 20, 2011


What's tragic, though, is that this video was found on a phone pulled from twisted, burning, bloody wreckaged.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:18 PM on December 20, 2011 [5 favorites]


Must admit I was a little disappointed the clip didn't end with horrified commuters beginning to bleed from the eyes, unable to stop laughing until, one by one, they slump in their seats. But then, that's how I feel about every video.
posted by RokkitNite at 2:19 PM on December 20, 2011 [9 favorites]


That's exactly how Large Marge died.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 2:20 PM on December 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


I can see this becoming a thing.. laugh mobs?
posted by sarae at 2:20 PM on December 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


More beautiful proof that, after all, we are just animals. Love it.
posted by barrett caulk at 2:20 PM on December 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's not a bug, it's a feature.
posted by BrotherCaine at 2:20 PM on December 20, 2011 [7 favorites]




I used to start giggling in church, because it was inappropriate, which of course made it worse. This has to be similar, maybe Germans feel that laughing in public is terribly inappropriate?
posted by Xoebe at 2:21 PM on December 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


> More beautiful proof that, after all, we are just animals. Love it.

I don't see animals breaking out into laughter on their commuter rails, but ok.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:22 PM on December 20, 2011 [4 favorites]


Must admit I was a little disappointed the clip didn't end with horrified commuters beginning to bleed from the eyes, unable to stop laughing until, one by one, they slump in their seats

Warn the Pfannkuchen makers, Walter is coming.
posted by The Whelk at 2:25 PM on December 20, 2011


Check their burrows . . .
posted by barrett caulk at 2:25 PM on December 20, 2011


Attention seeker
posted by Fat Buddha at 2:27 PM on December 20, 2011


They were probably just drinking the ring...
posted by mannequito at 2:27 PM on December 20, 2011


"And that, children, was the day the Germans found their sense of humor..."
posted by stenseng at 2:28 PM on December 20, 2011 [3 favorites]


I started chuckling and I didn't even have the sound on. Beautiful. Thanks for posting.
posted by vidur at 2:28 PM on December 20, 2011


Welease Wodger!
posted by dougzilla at 2:28 PM on December 20, 2011


I feel so bad for the guy in the black hat who gets on at the 1 minute mark; his body language from 1:07 on shows that he (like I would) thinks everyone might be laughing at him; he even tries to hide off to the side near the end.

When I started thinking that, I stopped laughing and start hearing the sound of laughter as something menacing, for the rest of the video.
posted by hincandenza at 2:28 PM on December 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


Back away slowly.
posted by knave at 2:28 PM on December 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


I've never seen anyone randomly laughing just because someone else was laughing. Pretty sure this is some sort of improv everywhere style performance art.
posted by Ad hominem at 2:30 PM on December 20, 2011


I started a joke, that started the whole world laughing

but I couldn't see, that the joke was on me.
posted by 2bucksplus at 2:32 PM on December 20, 2011 [4 favorites]


I don't understand how these things get filmed. Because it didn't seem like the video started after everyone started laughing. Are people just turning on their cameras on trains just in case something happens? Wouldn't that get boring, to just video everything all the time?
posted by nushustu at 2:33 PM on December 20, 2011 [4 favorites]


All signs point to setup. I try to have faith that some things are still legit, but the Internet makes it hard.
posted by Ad hominem at 2:35 PM on December 20, 2011


Oh, yeah. Most likely a setup. The uploader is a proponent of laughter yoga, so I suppose this is their idea of a viral thing. No harm, no foul, though.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:38 PM on December 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


Wenn ist das Nunstück git und Slotermeyer? Ja! Beiherhund das Oder die Flipperwaldt gersput!
posted by dosterm at 2:41 PM on December 20, 2011 [4 favorites]


All signs point to setup.

Yeah, the fact that a group called the Berlin Laughter Project has taken credit for instigating the event is particularly suspicious...
posted by mediated self at 2:43 PM on December 20, 2011 [5 favorites]


It must have been the funniest joke in the world. Someone must destroy that cellphone!
posted by No Robots at 2:44 PM on December 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


yeah, it's all fun and games until this happens!
posted by BigHeartedGuy at 2:45 PM on December 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's a shame they were all stuck on the train during the National Three Minutes of Hilarity, because it only happens every seventeen years in Germany.
posted by scruss at 2:48 PM on December 20, 2011 [4 favorites]


Further proof that Germans have no sense of humor. :)
posted by cell divide at 2:52 PM on December 20, 2011


It's funny at first, but then they have to start shutting down schools and whatnot.
posted by etc. at 2:54 PM on December 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


I've never seen anyone randomly laughing just because someone else was laughing.

Really? What a shame. I was laughing out loud watch the video and I wasn't even there. I can count a few time in my life where I was under a spell of uncontrollable laughter much like in this video, laughing to the point where my face and lungs ache. It's amazing.
posted by yeti at 2:56 PM on December 20, 2011 [4 favorites]


My daughter (age 11) calls this "giggle-itis." (she and her friends are often overcome by the disorder, especially when they should be going to sleep.)
posted by vespabelle at 3:09 PM on December 20, 2011


My daughter (age 11) calls this "giggle-itis." (she and her friends are often overcome by the disorder, especially when they should be going to sleep.)

another reason I am glad I am not currently a child and like to pretend I never was
posted by rebent at 3:21 PM on December 20, 2011


I've seen this happen before!

And then someone found the open valve on the nitrous cylinder, and it was all over.
posted by zomg at 3:27 PM on December 20, 2011


rebent, you know that makes me giggle. tee hee
hee hee
hee
hee
snort
ha ha ha ha ha
posted by vespabelle at 3:29 PM on December 20, 2011


From the Central African Medical Journal, 1963: An Epidemic of Laughing in the Bukoba District of Tanganyika

Summary: An epidemic of laughing, crying and restlessness in the Bukoba district of Northern Tanganyika is described. The disease commenced in a girls’ school and has since spread to other schools and to villages in the area. No significant abnormal physical signs were found and all laboratory tests were normal. There have been no fatalities. No toxic factor in the food supply was found. It is suggested that this is mass hysteria in a susceptible population. This is probably a culturally determined disease.
posted by vidur at 3:33 PM on December 20, 2011


etc. already linked that story, six comments and 39 minutes prior to yours.
posted by hincandenza at 3:42 PM on December 20, 2011


etc. linked to the WP entry. I linked to the medical journal (linked internally in the WP entry, sure, but I discovered it while reading up on contagious laughter since making my last comment - 26 minutes before etc.'s comment FWIW) and provided a short quote. Did I violate some etiquette/rule?
posted by vidur at 3:52 PM on December 20, 2011


Does anyone have a translation?
posted by odinsdream at 3:53 PM on December 20, 2011


Why would anyone film this in the first place?
posted by crunchland at 4:09 PM on December 20, 2011


We, in the know, refer to this phenomenon as the Giggle Loop
posted by Sportbilly at 4:19 PM on December 20, 2011 [3 favorites]


Yeah, the fact that a group called the Berlin Laughter Project has taken credit for instigating the event is particularly suspicious

Ok so I missed the comment that pointed out this was not in fact an organic occurrence. If other people in the thread are wondering how this was caught on video the post is misleading.
posted by Ad hominem at 4:27 PM on December 20, 2011


Aww, even if it's a cool idea (thanks for the Berlin Laughter Project link BitterOldPunk, am a bit disappointed to find out it was performance art and not authentic spontaneity.

On a cold winter afternoon in NYC I once walked into a subway car packed full of boisterous, painfully noisy young school kids and was feeling really crotchety. The teacher said something to the kids and all of a sudden they burst into singing a song together, and well. It was incredible. All the passengers beamed. Me too. Guess this Berlin Laughter Project subway thing is something like that.
posted by nickyskye at 5:14 PM on December 20, 2011


Oh gosh, yes. There's a problem with our internet here and youtube videos only play 5 seconds at a time, with 20-second breaks in between. It took me ages to watch this whole thing and I was laughing out loud the entire time.

I don't know. Some people get all gaga around babies. Some people get weepy at commercials. My brain isn't wired that way. I cackle maniacally and unstoppably at the sight of people laughing over absolutely nothing. Where do I sign up?
posted by iamkimiam at 5:16 PM on December 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


I do strongly recommend laughter yoga, though. I spent most of the session collapsed in a slightly wobbling heap, causing the rest of the group to laugh uncontrollably. Slept like a log that night and felt great for days afterwards.

(memail me if you want the name of a great practitioner in Toronto)
posted by scruss at 5:57 PM on December 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


On a cold winter afternoon in NYC I once walked into a subway car packed full of boisterous, painfully noisy young school kids and was feeling really crotchety. The teacher said something to the kids and all of a sudden they burst into singing a song together, and well. It was incredible. All the passengers beamed. Me too. Guess this Berlin Laughter Project subway thing is something like that.

I once watched a little scene on a subway -- a bunch of kids trading "Your mama" jokes in one group of seats, and a very refined-looking middle-aged professional lady sitting across the aisle from them. For a good five minutes, they were trading jokes back and forth -- loud enough so everyone in the car could hear -- and she was sitting and frowning in discontented stoicism, occasionally glancing at them with pursed lips and shaking her head. They didn't even notice.

But then one kid said something really clever -- I wish for the life of me I remember what it was -- and the woman, taken by surprise, suddenly burst out in outright, full-on GUFFAWS. The kids finally noticed her and watched her a moment, watching her laugh fit to bust a gut. They just shrugged and went back to what they were doing. She was still chuckling when she got off at the next stop.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:10 PM on December 20, 2011 [4 favorites]




Joker Venom.
posted by Faint of Butt at 2:43 AM on December 21, 2011


Wenn ist das Nunstück git und Slotermeyer? Ja! Beiherhund das Oder die Flipperwaldt gersput!

NO! DON'T PUT ALL THE WORDS TOGETHER! I managed to stop reading before the fifth word meaning that I lost two limbs, but just avoided decapitation
posted by Hartham's Hugging Robots at 3:10 AM on December 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


This thread reminded me of this short film.
posted by tykky at 3:57 AM on December 21, 2011


On a cold winter afternoon in NYC I once walked into a subway car packed full of boisterous, painfully noisy young school kids and was feeling really crotchety. The teacher said something to the kids and all of a sudden they burst into singing a song together, and well. It was incredible. All the passengers beamed. Me too. Guess this Berlin Laughter Project subway thing is something like that.

Funny, that. I was recently waiting for my flight at Schönefeld airport in Berlin (which is quite small) when a group of French schoolchildren, a travelling choir I suppose, started to burst out in Christmas Carols. People around me were beaming, and you could see in the kids eyes they knew just how precious they were, and were basking in the glory of it. One song after another to travellers' delight.

I still get angry just thinking about it.
posted by molecicco at 4:53 AM on December 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


Poor guy who gets on halfway through is convinced they are laughing at him...
posted by jefficator at 9:33 AM on December 21, 2011


Dear tykky, thanks for the tears of laughter. That was wonderful.
posted by nickyskye at 5:44 PM on December 21, 2011


Wow. An amazing number of violent fantasies and sourpusses in this thread.

It's people laughing! Together! It's happy!
posted by IAmBroom at 5:47 PM on December 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


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