A 1,000-Year History of Laughing Games


“Laughter games, though seemingly unconventional, are not new. The Canadian Inuit have been practicing them for thousands of years. Their version is called Iglagunerk and consists of two individuals facing each other, grasping hands, and—at an agreed upon signal—beginning to laugh. The one who laughs the hardest and longest is declared the winner. Nerenberg says this, and an observation that mixed martial arts fighters often laugh during their pre-fight stare down, formed the genesis of competitive laughter. But there’s also some science behind it.”

- At Pacific Standard, Sam Riches goes to the Canadian competitive laughing championship in Toronto, where “laughletes” compete in laughter challenges like “the Diabolical Laugh” and “the Alabama Knee-Slapper” to win a title and trophy. Read more about competitions.


Photo: Stewart Black

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Mike Dang
Mike is the managing editor at Longreads, and the editor of The Billfold. He has written for Bloomberg Businessweek, Pacific Standard, and the Chicago Tribune, among other publications.