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Laughing at other people's misfortune - HAHAHAHA

Have you ever noticed that when one of your friends gets hurt near you, you laugh? I'm not talking about serious injury, but something where they're relatively safe...

My friend and I were walking down the library steps, and she wasn't paying attention and whalla... biff city. What do I do first? Laugh of course, then I asked her if she was ok.

I was watching TV the other night, and flipped to America's Funniest Videos. The first couple were videos of people hurting themselves, and they were the funniest ones.

  • A guy steps on his son's skateboard and nearly does a complete backflip (maybe staged, but it can happen)
  • The famous bat swinging at the pinata, but intead hitting someone, most likely in the cookies
  • Jumping on a trampoline and either flying off, or getting caught in the springs.

About 5 years ago I took a trip to Florida with my sister, cousin, and a friend. We were leaving Disneyworld and talking about all the fun we had. My cousin was talking to my sister about one of the things that happened when... "PING" she walked right into a pole. It made the loudest noise, and it was probably right in front of 500 people. I laughed so hard, I could barely breath.

Why do we find humor when other people get hurt?

I was at a football game with my friend and there was a long running play. The referee was running with the play along the sideline when he pulled his hamstring. He pulled up on his leg, hopped for a few steps, and then executed a perfect somersault/sideroll/faceplant. My friend and I laughed, and laughed, and laughed. Poor guy....

Got any stories similar to these? Am I totally off my rocker, without any compassion? Or am I on to something here?

This is reposted because I'm swamped with things going on, and it was a popular post...


Blogger Luka said...

cause it's funny. I'm usually worried about them under all the laughter though. my friends anyway :)

9:56 AM

Blogger Alius said...

I think part of it has to do with the whole "but for the grace of god there go I" thing. People not-so-secretely take pleasure in thinking "holy crap! I'm glad that wasn't me who just totally bailed". All i know is that I get deep satisfactionf from watching skateboarders fall. So funny.

10:20 AM

Blogger RuKsaK said...

A mate of mine died last week and I'm still pissing myself as I type - poor sod!

10:56 AM

Blogger Tryst said...

Better them than you!

12:18 PM

Blogger Marinade Dave said...

How coincidental. I just wrote a post today that's all about laughing at other people's misfortunes. Especially if they're laughing while they tell you. You should read it. It will make you hurt.

12:24 PM

Blogger Sparkling said...

A frind of mine fell down a flight of concrete stairs once. My first reaction was concern. Her first reaction (once she landed at the bottom) was laughter.

Laughter releases the shock I guess.

12:25 PM

Blogger Cary said...

My fisrt wife's first reaction to ANY misfortune was laughter. It didn't matter who it was, or where it was. Based on her reaction to 9/11, I imagine she is still giggling about London.

She's been my ex since before the turn of the century. I couldn't take the laughter anymore. I think she needs help.

12:45 PM

Blogger Tachizuno said...

Laughter is the best medicine...

I was shoveling snow off the roof of my Grandmother's house with my brother. He was supposed to be making sure the bottom of the ladder was secure. It slid out and I fell off, doing a 360 through the air and landing in the snowbank (luckily)

I looked up at him with my face caked in snow, about to release a few choice words, then realized I couldn't see and how funny I might look, and I burst out laughing instead. He did wait to start laughing until he knew I was ok.

And my Grandma wouldn't let me go back up on the roof again, and made me go inside and have some cookies instead.. +++

12:49 PM

Blogger Tachizuno said...

That's a little different Cary, that's more extreme when you'd laugh at the brutality of 9/11 and London..

I'm referring to more tame blunders and mishaps than that.

12:53 PM

Blogger The Complimenting Commenter said...

I don't know why it happens, but it does. Seems like human nature. Nice post and some funny stories. Well done.

1:08 PM

Blogger PaintingChef said...

If it weren't for everyone laughing at the misfortune of other people, shows like America's Funniest Home Videos, Girls Behaving Badly, Candid Camera, Punk'd and all those would never have made it.

But we do, we laugh and we laugh and I'm just as guilty as the next person.

1:12 PM

Blogger Storm said...

Sometimes I find myself laughing as a reflex. I'll be genuinely concered and inquire after the person's health, while laughing. More, I'll be laughing and wondering why the hell I think it's funny.

I don't really understand it.

1:16 PM

Blogger Lauren said...

ha, I laugh at the most inappropriate times.

2:00 PM

Anonymous Korean Celt said...

I had a friend in high school who would laugh at other people getting hurt all the time, even if it wasn't very funny and I used to tell him to stop, but he said he couldn't.

One day we were in English class and he said something stupid and I raised my hand to smack his arm or something and, somehow, I managed to hit him in a way where one of my fingernails pierced his skin like a skewer and he started bleeding...a lot. Anyway, I started laughing my head off because it was so unexpected and he looked so shocked and it was just funny. Wouldn't you know it, he was totally pissed at me for laughing and wouldn't talk to me for the rest of the day. I still laugh when I think about that day.

2:28 PM

Blogger Nanette Richards said...

It's called Shaudenfreude... some of us are worse than others ;) one of my favourite clips on the web is called Cubicle Hurdles. When that dumbass does a face plant into the computer while trying to hop over the cubicle... well lets just say I'm damn close to peeing my pants everytime. If you can't find it on the web, drop me note on my blog and I'll dig it out and email it to you... it's not to be missed!

5:22 PM

Blogger Tachizuno said...

Thanks... sounds great!


Forgot to mention when I was referring to falling off the ladder in the other comment that I also tore my jacket all the way down one side on a raid gutter too... My brother and I noticed that later and laughed again.

5:52 PM

Blogger Bry-2000 said...

I laugh at people all the time. How does that saying go? If you cant laugh at yourself...I will.

7:08 PM

Blogger "Weiner" said...

Hey Doo-- can't remember if I asked you if I can post a link to your site? Can I?
Licks, Oliver

9:55 PM

Blogger Tachizuno said...

Sure weiner dog...

Gotcha linked already!

9:57 PM

Blogger Chicka said...

I agree with Luka. It's just funny whether we want it to be or not.

12:02 AM

Blogger Mighty Meagan said...

I think it has something to do with the fact that inside we all fear doing something stupid/humiliating/ungraceful. When someone else makes a small mishap in front of us, it is funny, because inside we are relieved. Relieved that we are not the only uncoordinated people on the planet. Relieved because we idenitify with that person more.

Course, I could be wrong; but please, don't tell anyone if I am.

I fear being wrong. Heh. Okay, so it was lame, but I am a geek - so please don't sue me.

2:42 AM

Blogger Storm Trooper said...

H ha

6:24 AM

Anonymous Suzi said...

I don't know, but I'm right there laughing with you. Honestly, I consider myself a fairly kind person, but when somebody falls down, I laugh myself silly. Of course, I welcome laughter when I fall down, as well.

Do you know the song "Schadenfreude" from Avenue Q? If you enjoy other peoples' misfortune, and don't mind a little profanity, you would adore that song. Check it out at iTunes.

2:56 PM

Blogger Dennis! said...

Hell, I was laughing hysterically just reading your post. I laugh at other people's issues all the time. If I actually stop to think, I know it's mean, since someone could have actually gotten HURT hurt, but still, my first reaction is to bust a gut.

Great blog, btw.

3:00 PM

Blogger Just Wandering said...

I always laugh at other's misfortune. How can you not?

11:19 PM

Anonymous Korean Celt said...

Just the other night, my husband, daughter and I were sitting around the old dining room table playing Clue when our daughter reaches for Mrs. Peacock and says, "I'm Mrs. Peacock." The next thing we know, she's on the floor having somehow managed to fall off the chair while reaching for the game piece. My husband and I tried to hold in our laughter because it looked really funny. Of course, we couldn't and then she was all offended that we would dare laugh at her misfortune. Luckily, she wasn't injured in the process of performing this stunt.

9:02 AM

Blogger Christopher Trottier said...

Oi. America's Funniest Home Videos. I'm so happy I can't get that show anymore.

3:35 PM

Blogger Tara said...

lol, I remember my ex partner going on a drinking weekend with his buddies. They were walking along the street, and he was arguing with one of his buddies about a car that had passed them. My ex walked straight headfirst into a post. He ended up at the hospital for stitches lol. When he returned home and told me, I laughed so hard I could barely breathe. I just wish I'd been there to see it happen.

12:51 AM

Blogger THE MATERIAL BOY said...

If anyone is familiar with the musical Avenue Q, they would know that a song funnily discusses this natural human behavior.

Schadenfreude = ‘Happiness at the misfortune of others’

It's a German word that captures a universal (albeit unpleasant) human nature.

It's so wrong, it's so funny! :D

6:56 PM

Blogger Tonya said...

My family is convinced that I am the only person in the world that does this! It is an automatic response, bursting out before I can even think about stifling it.

And I love AFV because of those videos.

9:56 PM

Blogger drewann2 said...

How about laughing at madness

8:39 AM


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