What are you laughing at?

What are you laughing at?

There is nothing more infectious and delightful to hear than another person laughing.

Laughter not only increases Serotonin for the person doing it, but it also provides some for the listener too.

Hearing natural laughter on the radio immediately intrigues, even if the listener doesn’t like the presenter very much. Corpsing is even better!

In today’s radio in the UK in particular some management are so fixated on industry or business minutiae that they forget basic human psychology and the intrinsic principles of human connection.

There are some radio stations that would castigate a presenter for too much laugher; we know of one particular station that reprimanded a presenter for corpsing on air! We, on the other hand, would applaud any opportunity for that to happen, but then we are not an employer.

But, the key point here is natural laughter and that is what this post is about.

We recently listened to a Johnny Vaughan show, and noted how rare it is that he laughs. This is interesting and profound.


He, with his experience and overall style reminded us that it is important not to ever laugh on the radio whilst presenting a show; unless it is genuine, that is.

In one particular segment he made a remark, which was amusing but based purely on his observation or opinion. And, because he did not laugh, he automatically left it for the listener to interpret whether it was funny or not. This made it even funnier.

This reminded us just how really important it is to remember not to laugh when delivering content ever, unless it is a real laugh. Extremely hard to do admittedly, if we are not enjoying the content.

With so much pressure to sound upbeat and fun by our employers, we are subconsciously pressured into underlining ourselves in sentences as if to confirm to the listener that what we said was meant to be a joke. It sounds dreadful and many of us are guilty of it.

Let us be very clear, human listeners are not totally stupid. We don’t need to double confirm that what we said was humour. It is not up to us to decide, the content is just the content. Besides, in our book (there it is) we discussed that the listener does not really care that much.

The most common expression of this is breakfast shows. Why in the UK are we fixated on the fact that a show that happens in the morning must include laughter…and at all costs?

When we are inexperienced, the idea of delivering content that might be amusing without us adding a laugh is more challenging. But it helps to remember that a false laugh is probably more offensive to a listener than no laugh at all.

False laughter is easily detected by a listener, as is false “fun” or amusement. It not only encourages the listener to feel that you are apologizing for what you just said, but it makes the listener feel insulted that you are in a way “explaining” a joke.

By all means practice your best false laugh. Sometimes they really help and there are some UK presenters that are really good at it and their falseness is undetectable. But until you are really experienced and have mastered it, try not laughing at yourself.

For more tips and advice read – Walking On Air – from Amazon


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