Ode To Spewing Your Drink Out Your Nose And Needing Breath So Bad Your Ribs Hurt

January 7, 2012


I love laughter.  I know that’s nothing profound or anything, but I just do.  I love laughing, I love hearing people laugh, and I love love love making people laugh.  Always have.  I’m not sure what has me reflecting on this, but possibly my wife saying that I laugh more at TV and movies than anyone she knows, and a comment from the always charming She’s A Maineiac on one of my posts about a joke in it making coffee come out of her nose (hopefully she was drinking coffee at the time).

I was going to call the post "Does Anybody Remember Laughter?" but thought people might not get the reference and would just think I was being pretentious.

One of the things, I think, I like about it so much, is its unabashed honesty – at least if you’re doing it right.  I always find it a little sad when people try to control their laughter.  Women who cover their mouths, men who try to look cool and tough while laughing.  Part of the beauty of it is in the same way people can be so compelling when they’re sleeping or sitting and thinking, not realizing anyone sees them – that complete lack of artifice.  We look and sound just utterly absurd when we laugh.  That’s why I always find it fantastically cruel to make fun of people’s laughs.  Yeah, there are some pretty bizarre and terrible laughs out there, but to me, mocking someone’s laugh is truly on par with mocking someone while they’re naked.

Which you should not do.

Here’s what I mean: aside from the utter honesty of it, and the allowing ourselves to look silly, think about laughter from a purely animalistic stand-point.  We are allowing ourselves to be completely vulnerable.  Picture someone in a big laugh.  Eyes closed, head back, arms out so the neck and belly are exposed.  I know that sounds ridiculous, but that is not a position we will put ourselves in if we feel uneasy or guarded.  It’s total submission to the singular moment we’re in.  For that timeless instant there’s only utter joy. And to make someone feel bad about that?  Man, that’s heartless.

See? This is how you look when you really laugh.

People’s laughs are the best.  And the rawer the better.  You know when you listen to a comedian and there’s that white-noise of laughing, but there’s always that one guy who sounds like he’s laughing in to a megaphone, and bursts out with this big “HA HA HA HA HA HA!!!”? Then everyone laughs at his laugh?  For the comic, he’s the best one in the room.

Other things I love: people snorting when they laugh.  Awesome.  No one does that on purpose, and it’s so great.  No lie – women who snort when they laugh are sexy.

Making people spit out their drink.  Sure, probably sucks for them, but for the joke-teller? Pay dirt.

Someone out of breath and getting tears in their eyes.  The laughter is more powerful than their attempts to remain physically safe.  (note: These symptoms are only fun if it’s caused by laughing.)

Someone laughing well past the time that they really should be.  They’re trying to stop and just can’t.

You've never heard it? Well, you'll thank me.

I guess this is why things that can always make me laugh are like treasured possessions.   The first 9 seasons of The Simpsons; Raising Arizona; The Hitchhikers’ Guide To The Galaxy; Bill Murray; Dana Gould’s Funhouse.

Anyway, I’ll shut up about this. But what about you?  What can you always count on to make you laugh? What kind of laughs do you love?

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About The Byronic Man

Recently voted "The Best Humor Site in America That I, Personally, Write," The Byronic Man is sometimes fiction, but sometimes autobiography. And sometimes cultural criticism. Oh, and occasionally reviews. Okay, it's all those different things, but always humorous. Except on the occasions that it's not. Ah, geez. Look, it's a lot of things, okay? You might like it, is the point.

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46 Comments on “Ode To Spewing Your Drink Out Your Nose And Needing Breath So Bad Your Ribs Hurt”

  1. Walter Says:

    Your blog makes me laugh out loud in a “guffaw” manner. I can not drink any substance while reading your musings. I’m glad to see that you think snorting while laughing is a plus. I have a habit of doing that and then feel so embarrassed. But I can’t control it! I have a dear friend that I work with once a year and when we are together we make each other laugh so hard that I am usually in the fetal position trying not to pee. What kills me are the people surrounding you that are actually trying NOT to laugh, because I think laughter is infectious. I don’t need to know why you are laughing…unless it’s at me. But even then I will join in. I think it changes my genetic wiring.


    • The Byronic Man Says:

      Oh, yeah, and I’m not saying “snorting is great” in an ‘aw, you just be the best you you can be, slugger’ kind of way. I just think it’s great.

      And I’m glad to know I inspire guffaws. I always have the little fantasies of people’s reactions when I write a bit I think is especially funny, so maybe it’s not just been delusion a couple of those times!


  2. jacquelincangro Says:

    Oh, man. There is a woman at work who has a crazy laugh. It’s like nails on a chalkboard. Like machine gun fire. But I was thinking the same thing you mentioned: how can it be so irritating when she’s expressing such a happy emotion? She laughs a lot.

    I always laugh at the I Love Lucy episode with Lucy and Ethel in the chocolate factory. Every. Single. Time. As if I don’t know what’s going to happen next even though I’ve seen it maybe a dozen times.


  3. Clip Snark Says:

    The TV show Home Movies always makes me laugh. I own all four seasons on DVD and it never gets old. Although I do get a little sad wishing there were more seasons.


  4. k8edid Says:

    People say they can follow me around the building by listening for my laugh (I take that as a compliment). Over the holidays, my younger son Lefty made me spit my coffee back into my coffee cup with a comment he made. I’d have snorted it out my nose but it hadn’t made its way to the back of my throat yet. He was high-fiving everyone around the room at his accomplishment.


    • The Byronic Man Says:

      The spit out is just maybe 5% less awesome than the nose-snort-out. Making it still just amazingly wonderful.


      • k8edid Says:

        And not to be indelicate, but well, hell, I am indelicate, but women of a certain age after facing anatomical challenges (say, childbirth, for instance) sometimes laugh until they pee their pants. Not that it has ever happened to me, of course, but I’ve heard it is true.


        • The Byronic Man Says:

          Peeing one’s pants is a tough one to call – on one hand, it’s like the atomic bomb of laughter victories. On the other hand, it tends to put a bit more of a damper on things than simply spitting some apple-tini on the table.

          And I refuse to believe you’re anything but the most delicate of ladies.


  5. thesinglecell Says:

    Every time my sisters and I get together, we wind up hysterical at least once. I don’t know what it is, but we get each other going. Usually it involves snorting, choking, snot and the inability to speak. And then (even though you say it’s cruel), we mock each other’s snorting, choking and snot. Which makes us laugh harder. At which point, the drool starts.

    The other thing that’s almost guaranteed to get me to laugh is a baby’s belly laugh. That’s the best sound in the world.

    And Stewart/Colbert. They’re the most likely to get me to “trumpet-laugh” – that big blast of “HHHHHAAAAAAA!”


  6. booksnob Says:

    Awww, I also always laugh at the first three things on your list. Other notable things that make me almost choke to death from laughing are: Strange Brew, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Parks and Recreation, that SNL sketch with Will Ferrell playing the cowbell and this.

    I snort with laughter frequently. My husband laughs at me laughing, which makes me laugh even harder. The other night I was laughing so hard my throat started hurting, I couldn’t breathe and I seriously thought I was not going to live to see the morning. It scared my husband at first, but once he realized I was going to survive, he started laughing at my terror. [shrug] We talk lots of smack, what can I say?

    Finally – I got it. 😉


    • The Byronic Man Says:

      Ah, Strange Brew. That’s up there. “I’d kiss you if I didn’t have puke breath.”

      I just love the “Does anybody remember lahftuuhh??” And the audience screaming, as if to say, “HELL YES, WE REMEMBER LAUGHTER, ROBERT PLANT! LAUGHTER!! WHOOOOO!!”


  7. booksnob Says:

    I don’t know how this comment came through twice, can you delete one, pretty please?


  8. She's a Maineiac Says:

    I am so relieved you appreciated the coffee-snort because I almost didn’t want to admit it to you. It was pretty messy. You are that funny. And quite magical because I wasn’t even drinking coffee at the time (how did you know that?) Why do I get the feeling that when you say I am ‘always charming’ you are being completely sarcastic? Oh, because you are? Duly noted.

    There is nothing like laughing so hard you are choking or crying. My favorite laugh is the almost silent one, where you can barely breathe. It’s a mystical experience. For a moment nothing matters and you are just in a state of pure bliss.The one person that does that for me every time is Conan O’Brien. I have been watching him since day one and he has my exact same sense of humor. Just a move or sound he makes or a facial expression and I am gone, laughing hysterically.

    Also my younger brother. He and I only get each others’ jokes. We will talk on the phone for hours cracking each other up with our dry humor. And nothing is off limits for us, pretty much nothing offends me. George Carlin is another of my absolute favorite comics of all time. And my husband cracks me up all the time, every single day. I think that’s why we’re still married, we make each other laugh, it’s crucial to me. Nothing sexier than funny!


    • The Byronic Man Says:

      No, no sarcasm. Your non-charming moments have, apparently, eluded my notice.

      And, you know, if I ever meet Conan I intend to thank him for the years he was one of the principle writers for The Simpsons. It was when a roommate and I were dead broke, and we’d record Simpsons each week at a friend’s, then just watch it over and over all week. It was like a little beacon of joy.


      • She's a Maineiac Says:

        Whew! that’s a relief. I thought maybe I shared a bit too much information with coffee snort story.

        If you ever meet Conan please get me an autograph. I forgot he was a writer for the Simpsons. Another hilarious show!


  9. Kitchen Slattern Says:

    I went to a wedding where the best man was forced to read Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s putrid Sonnet from the Portuguese (“how do I love thee?”), which was immediately followed by a performance of “Edelweiss” (oh yes, from “The Sound of Music”) on the recorder. I laughed til the pew shook and I had to put my head between my knees. The bride never spoke to me again. 25 years later inappropriate laughter is still my favorite kind.


    • The Byronic Man Says:

      It’s always best remembered after-the-fact, but yes, inappropriate laughter is pretty great. Those moments when you’re trying trying trying to think about something else, because you know if you let your mind veer for a second, it’ll go right back to the thing that is just too much.


  10. Kansas Keeton Says:

    I think this is my favorite post of your thus far, not just because it was amusing, but because I feel the exact same way about laughter. But for brevity’s sake, I’ll answer your questions.

    Something that always makes me laugh is usually physical slapstick. I hate myself for it, but I can’t help but bust up when someone biffs it really bad. Their faces are contorted with such concern, completely unaware of how frightened or surprised they look. Also, groups of people running around in panic. Their faces are the BEST. I think it somewhat parallels your commentary on vulnerability, because at the moment, they just don’t give a damn about anybody else.

    My favorite laughs include those that can’t stop laughing, and a laugh that cracks the air when it suddenly erupts from a throat. Some consider it annoying, but I think its hysterical. I can also appreciate a very hearty guffaw.


    • The Byronic Man Says:

      You’re a monster.

      I kid! I kid! Yeah, I don’t why slapstick works, but it does. I remember being in England and someone saying that Americans have no sense of humor. That we see someone fall down and think it’s funny. I said, “Ever see someone fall down? Pretty damn funny.”


  11. madtante Says:

    I “remember laughter.” That’s from Stairway, live, in reference to the Vietnam War. See? If you refer to OLD enough pop culture, I may pick up on that! I’m only 40 but I’m about 40-100 years behind on most stuff.

    I’m a little woman and my laugh is a cross between the Cowardly Lion’s sobbing and Hermann Munster’s laugh. And if I really get going, I snort. ::shakes head:: One person in the world tells me I have a good laugh: quasi-sister. She says when she her’s “The Lily Laugh,” her world gets brighter. Glad somebody likes it, cos everybody else makes fun of it!


  12. Gow Says:

    My very favorite kind of laugh is when someone is desperately trying to tell you about something funny, but they just can’t get the words out from laughing so hard. Then YOU end up laughing like a fool and you still have no clue what they’re trying to tell you because . . . . well, you get the point. I just love when that happens, and I don’t care if I never get to hear whatever it is/was that they thought was just too hysterical!


    • The Byronic Man Says:

      I know exactly what you mean. It’s that “contagious” laugh. Ironic, because when someone laughs at their own joke in a self-congratulatoy way, it’s just annoying. But when it’s just a real laugh?


  13. gojulesgo Says:

    This post totally sums up why I love you and your blog so much!

    All of the women in my family have this ‘condition’ where our eyes water when we’re laughing, so when we’re together, we’re usually seen wiping tears away. I used to think it was a disability, LOL, but now I think it’s endearing.

    I love when something makes me BURST out laughing without me having the chance to feel self-conscious (like you said – the “utter honesty” of it). It just happened earlier today when I watched this (you’ll LOVE it – it’s only 30 seconds): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LwrNy2lgITY


    • The Byronic Man Says:

      Karma. Serves the guy in the video right! Poor little frog. “Oh boy, food! Wait, nothing was there. Oh boy, food! Still nothing there.” CHOMP.


    • anonymously Says:

      My eyes have a defect. They start tearing up within 2 seconds of laughter. Crazy eyes o’ mine.
      Thanks for the video, that was awesome!


  14. Blogdramedy Says:

    I base most of my Twitter and blog reading selections on…does the writer make me snort my vodka martini out my nose.

    You owe me a bottle of Stoli. 🙂


  15. anonymously Says:

    I usually start crying when I laugh (don’t know why, don’t ask) but I try not to laugh because people make fun of me because APPARENTLY I sound like a cross between a cat screaming and a goat wheezing. (No I’m sure they’ve never heard a sound like that before, but my laugh is apparently equivalent to that).
    There was this one time when my younger brother and I were scolded by our mother for laughing and playing while we were supposed to be studying. After she left, we took one look at each other and for some reason started laughing. To this day, I STILL don’t know what possessed us to laugh. We kept laughing and laughing and every time we looked at each other we laughed harder. I couldn’t stop and I was rolling on the door, tears pouring out my eyes, snorting and wheezing because my sides began to feel like they were being chainsawed from the inside. Then our mother came back and saw us giggling like Joker had released laughing gas in the room and we spent another two hours being reprimanded.
    That was infinitely one of the best moments of my life. 😛


    • The Byronic Man Says:

      Oh man, I bet there’ve been some startled joke-tellers in your life. “What? What’s wrong? Why are you crying? They’re okay! The priest and the rabbi and the reverend? They settled their differences over a drink! It’s okay!”


  16. Lenore Diane Says:

    Every guy I know loves “Raising Arizona”. All I have to do is mention the title, and my husband starts laughing.
    I have a loud ga’faw laugh. Startling for many who do not know me, annoying for those that do know me. (Thankfully, they still love me.)
    Carol Burnette, Harvey Korman, and Tim Conway get me in hysterics all the time. The best skit is the elephants with joined trunks. Love that trio – MISS that trio.


  17. Elyse Says:

    Just saw Raising Arizona on TV — wonderful. It not only makes me laugh it makes me smile just to think of it.

    What a great post — I am so very sorry I wasn’t drinking anything that could come out of my nose. Probably next time!


  18. Dounia Says:

    Loved this post – had me laughing several times throughout! The people who make me laugh the hardest are definitely my family – my siblings, parents and my husband! With my brother and my sister, we often have those moments of laughing so uncontrollably that we’re out of breath and tears are streaming out of our eyes! Generally, all it takes is out look at each other, one snort, one breath trying to control the laughter that starts us off all over again. And usually, what’s making us laugh isn’t even all that funny, yet somehow that just makes us laugh even harder. I live far away from them now, but skype allows us to continue those moments as ‘live’ as possible 🙂 My husband also makes me laugh every day, which makes every day and our relationship so much fun – what’s life and love without laughter?? I’m also one of those people who laughs out loud (and loudly) during movies, tv shows, plays…no point in holding back something as wonderful as laughter, I say!

    I came across your blog from Jules’ Go Guilty Pleasures and I’m definitely enjoying what I’ve read so far! Looking forward to reading more! 🙂


  19. Paul G. Eberlein Says:

    Watching my DVD of “The Producers” starring Zero Mostel and Gene Wilder will always do it for me. When I can no longer make noise because I’m laughing so hard and my eyes are watering so much that I can no longer see clearly, that’s the laugh zone!



  1. Reading Digest: Internet Tips Edition « Dead Homer Society - January 13, 2012

    […] Ode To Spewing Your Drink Out Your Nose And Needing Breath So Bad Your Ribs Hurt – And finally, I get to end the way I like, with someone who agrees with us on a thing that can always get you to laugh: I guess this is why things that can always make me laugh are like treasured possessions.   The first 9 seasons of The Simpsons; […]

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