Do Animals Laugh?


By John B Monteiro

Mangaluru, Aug 11:Laughter heals all wounds, and that's one thing that everybody shares. No matter what you're going through, it makes you forget about your problems. I think the world should keep laughing.” - Kevin Hart (b. 1979), American stand-up comedian, actor and producer.

The above title is provoked by a human interest story by Tadi Vidura published in The Hindu on August 3, 2019. The story titled ‘A simian pupil in a Kurnool school’ was about a female gray langur attending classes, along with the students, in a primary school. The story was supported by an adorable photo of the simian sitting next to the students.

This revived my memories of animals attending sessions at Bondel Laughter Club (BLC) founded and anchored by me for the last 17 years. It started with a bang and over time became skeletal, nomadic, a venue-shifting outfit with its sessions moving from maidan to maidan, which were being grabbed for construction or were simply getting encroached. Even the local gym benevolently hosted it until its participating members exited it. Meanwhile, Yoga became a craze while BLC ended up getting deserted.

Others shifted from nearby government housing colonies, Kudremukh Colony, Mescom Colony, on retirement to acquiring their own flats or houses. Monsoon was a challenge and we operated in the entrance lobby of Bondel Complex with the benign owners looking the other way.

Enters a Stray Dog

A stray dog which had made Bondel Complex its home used to join us in our sessions. Looking at half a dozen of us going through the different motions, the stray dog progressively positioned itself near the laughter-cracks and within a few days of its infiltration started emitting the sounds matching ours. It was adept at some of the more vocal laughter. It included the ‘Patiala Laughter’ named after Patiala Peg, the loudest and lustiest of the ten types of laughter. The laugh would wake up late risers within half a km of BLC venue. Then there was the ‘Crescendo Laughter’ wherein the volume of laughter keeps increasing from low to very high. Then there is the ‘Cocktail Laughter’ where one can laugh as she or he likes. It may be noted, the mix of laughter-cracks by sex is about 50/50. Interested to know how it works? Don’t
despair! Just Google - ‘Laughter Club Bondel’ on your devices.

The dog-association continued up until we moved to a 10-acre maidan, which the Housing Board complex neglected, it’s a nightmare for walkers during monsoons. But, the laughter-cracks are a stubborn lot, operating no matter sunshine or rain. On one fine day, in the end of the month of August, three cows evinced interest in our laughter session. Since we are averse to photo-shopping, here are two photos to bring the scene to the readers. In the first photo, one cow is apparently interested in what the laughter-cracks are enacting. The second cow, on the right, is deciding whether it should join in or not. In the second photo the cow on the left has voted, with its trotters, against joining in.

Vintage of Laughter

Finally, a bit on laughter itself, there is a vintage saying – ‘You laugh and the world laughs with you. You cry and you cry alone’. The Readers Digest has popularized two taglines: ‘Laughter is the best medicine’ and ‘He who laughs lasts’. This last statement has vintage roots and interpretations.

In November 1917, before Readers Digest came on the scene, the humour magazine ‘Judge’ printed a poem by W E Nesom titled ‘Perverted Proverbs’ that playfully modified adages. The fifth stanza was the following:

If laughter be an aid to health,
then logic of the strongest
Impels us to the cheerful thought
that he who laughs lasts longest.
He who laughs lasts
He who laughs - lasts

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Comment on this article

  • KS Mayya, Mangalore/Bangalore

    Mon, Aug 12 2019

    Law of conservation means, that some part of human body is conserved. In some philosophies it is called soul and many other philosophies deny it.
    Considering that there is no evidence for both, let us consider the following:
    1. In the former case wherein is soul is conserved, these very animals have finite probability that they were humans once, and they would reconcile with laughter in one way or the other.
    2. Philosophies that deny existence of a soul and that which is is conserved would realize that you get what you stroke. You raise a stick against an animal, it may challenge you or run away. You be kind, it comes to you and becomes friendly.
    Laughter is a reflection of friendly behavior. Animals will respond positively. There are volumes of evidence that they even respond to good music.
    Enjoyed reading this article.

    DisAgree Agree [1] Reply Report Abuse

  • Rems, Mangaluru

    Mon, Aug 12 2019

    Animals are happy enough, not needing a forced laughing therapy. So let's leave them alone.

    DisAgree Agree [1] Reply Report Abuse

  • Santosh, Manglore/Dubai

    Mon, Aug 12 2019

    Yes! animals do laugh. Because they are not get married.

    DisAgree Agree [4] Reply Report Abuse

  • YOGI THUNTA, MANGALURU - NEAR PUMPWELL CIRCLE

    Mon, Aug 12 2019

    Even monkeys laugh !

    DisAgree Agree [5] Reply Report Abuse

  • Charles D'Mello, Pangala

    Sun, Aug 11 2019

    Animals may o may not laugh. But they do not keep grudge, jealousy, dual faces unlike human beings. That is why they are generally healthy and live their life as expected.

    DisAgree Agree [23] Reply Report Abuse

  • LAN.........,, Belman / Washington, DC.

    Sun, Aug 11 2019

    People,

    Animals do laugh...especially Donkeys....have really melodious Voice when laughing....

    ...Tak...Takk...

    DisAgree [1] Agree [15] Reply Report Abuse

  • Everest, Kinnigoli

    Sun, Aug 11 2019

    Forgive the unscholarly.this comment is not about laughter or other

    DisAgree [14] Agree [1] Reply Report Abuse

  • Mack, DAKSHINA KANNADA

    Mon, Aug 12 2019

    The human beingh who reconz the donkey laugh is a great phsy knows all moves of donkey bevh be carefull

    DisAgree [7] Agree [3] Reply Report Abuse

  • Baguette, Vamanjoor

    Mon, Aug 12 2019

    I had a hard time trying to read your comment. I guess the donkey Lan was referring to was you 😂

    DisAgree [1] Agree [4] Reply Report Abuse

  • Rakesh, Mangalore

    Sun, Aug 11 2019

    Nice one

    DisAgree Agree [4] Reply Report Abuse

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