The Okeh laughing record

According to “Humorous reflections on laughing records” by Abigail Cooke (ARSC journal 32/2 [winter 2001], pp. 232–242, three types of sound recordings involving laughter were produced between 1904 and 1923: (1) laughing songs, in which stylized laughter is integrated into the song; (2) spoken comedy routines with laughing audiences; and (3) laughing records, in which apparently genuine laughter spirals out of control.

The classic model for the latter genre, The Okeh laughing record (Okeh, 1922)—which may have originated in a real situation where the recording engineer continued to record a botched session—begins with a man playing a slow, melancholy cornet solo that is quickly interrupted by a woman’s giggle. He continues to play, but she is unable to control herself, and soon is laughing aloud; this causes him to flub a note and join her in laughing, occasionally attempting to continue playing, until the two are utterly hysterical.

Click below to hear The Okeh laughing record.

3 Comments

Filed under Humor, Mass media, Publication types

3 responses to “The Okeh laughing record

  1. Juergen Fischer

    The voices of the laughing record belong to Karl Valentin and Liesl Karlstadt. Valentin,the great Bavarian comic, never laughed in his sketches. This makes the record so unique and hilarious.

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