The Myth of LOLing

Laughing out loud is a communal activity…Oh, I expect there’s some tiresome evolutionary psychology explanation based on gibbons and whatnot, but whatever the why and the how, the fact is that it is rare to emit actual physical laughter – even when you find something funny – if you are alone. All those people who write ‘LOL’ on the internet are therefore, strictly speaking, lying.

Even when watching my very favourite comedies such as Withnail and I or Christopher Guest’s films, I rarely actually LOL solo. I suppose I might smirk or even snort, but I’ll not often audibly chortle. Yet just occasionally it does happen; when it’s something deeply, howlingly ridiculous. I’m fairly sure I SoLOLed at Ron Burgundy’s chat-up routine in Anchorman…

…and I’d be amazed if as a kid I got through the “Knights Who Say ‘Ni’” scenes in Monty Python and the Holy Grail without physical mirth (especially when he says: “A shrubbery!”).

I mention all this because it happened the other night and took me quite by surprise. It was the cello/marching band sequence (1.16 in on the vid) in the early Woody Allen film Take the Money and Run. Alone or in company, you’d have to be strong-willed indeed not to LOL at this one…

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About Author Profile: Brit

'Brit' is the blogging name of Andrew Nixon, a writer and publisher who lives in Bristol. He is the editor and co-founder of The Dabbler.

10 thoughts on “The Myth of LOLing

  1. bugbrit@live.com'
    Banished To A Pompous Land
    September 30, 2010 at 14:35

    I saw Take the Money and Run on a double bill with Young Frankenstein around the time the latter opened.

    That was one of the LOL’est afternoons of my life. Made all the sweeter by bunking off school for the occassion.

    A kosher humour fest!

    My favourite LOL moment from Take the Money… is when Allen’s character, in prison , volunteers for a drug trial. The only side effect is that ‘he becomes an orthodox rabbi for 48 hours”. If that is not quite an accurate memory of the gag, well I’m getting used to it.

  2. Gaw
    September 30, 2010 at 15:21

    I must be easy as I’d already LOL’d at the bit in the Woody Allen clip where the teacher said, ‘he was trying to blow through it’.

    As far as I remember I last LOL’d watching this scene from Curb:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-B3oC6yWY0A

  3. andrewnixon@blueyonder.co.uk'
    September 30, 2010 at 15:29

    Yes, I LOLed lightly at ‘tried to blow through it” but the marching band bit had me belly-laughing. Woody was great in those early days, wasn’t he, when he was just happy to be silly.

    Banished – yes, your memory of the Rabbi gag is correct.

  4. johngjobling@googlemail.com'
    malty
    September 30, 2010 at 18:32

    The Woody Allen a classic, giving high readings on the chuckleometer, laughing until the tears run is endemic in our family, whether solo or in company. Rereading Allan Bennett at the moment and about one per four pages is the average …. he tells the story about that inestimable comedy actress Irene Handl who, when being lectured by one of the BBCs bright young things about the intricacies of digital recording eventually interrupted him with ‘excuse me dear, you must be confusing me with one of those actresses who actually gives a fuck’

  5. fchantree@yahoo.co.uk'
    Gadjo Dilo
    October 1, 2010 at 06:07

    Loved Anchorman, Saw it on a long-distance flight and laughed out very very loud! I never imagined at the time that it would become a cult classic and assumed that it would always be a secret pleasure.

  6. russellworks@gmail.com'
    ian russell
    October 1, 2010 at 10:32

    Yes, I miss the silly Woody too. Can’t say I ever ”Laughed Out Loud” – I’m more of the creased up with tears in my eyes – CUWTIME? – sort of Englishman (yes, I probably blame the Americans for LOL).

    What was his film where he’s trying to impress the girl with this new Jazz album – the Oscar Peterson Trio, I think (that’s one for a pub quiz) – and, while attempting to grasp at cool, his gesticulation projects the precious vinyl rocket-like from its sleeve. Such a small thing but it had me in fits.

  7. jobysp@gmail.com'
    Smelly Pirate Hooker
    October 1, 2010 at 12:46

    Aaaah. Anchorman. I still LOL now and I’ve seen it loads of times.

    Fave scene has to be the sudden breakout of Afternoon Delight.

  8. wormstir@gmail.com'
    October 4, 2010 at 21:13

    we have a poster called ‘smelly pirate hooker’???

  9. jobysp@gmail.com'
    Smelly Pirate Hooker
    October 6, 2010 at 14:54

    Yes. yes you do.
    And I am ‘the’ smelliest pirate hooker of all the seas- care to take a sniff?

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