is actor-speak for having an unscripted fit of laughter onstage, so-called because the worst time to have the giggles is when one is playing a corpse
. Corpsing doesn't necessarily mean that the material is especially funny (though, of course, it can be), or that the actors aren't taking it seriously; it just happens
, and even excellent actors can corpse. Many actors try to cover this by covering their mouth and muffling the sounds they make. When this is done, a fit of laughter can rather haphazardly be turned into violent sobbing
, with varying levels of success. Of course, that only helps if violent crying is appropriate for the scene (again, playing a corpse leaves you in trouble).
Some actors, of course, will try their level best to make other actors corpse. It seems to be a feather in one's cap of some sort, to either be the guy who never corpses, or the guy who can make even the guy who never corpses corpse. Bonus points if you're working in a scene with a very seasoned and well-respected actor. Even if they have a great sense of humor in real life, getting someone the caliber of Jeremy Irons
or Meryl Streep
to get the giggles is a big achievement.
At other times, it is just mean to tell an actor to keep a straight face on camera while watching a character bounce off the walls.
A common type of Hilarious Outtakes
. On the other hand, can be subject to Throw It In
— if the work is a comedy and the actors are able to recover in time for their next line, it can make for a natural
aversion of Tough Room
When the hapless individual actually is trying to play a corpse, this can overlap with The Living Dead
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- One Geico commercial depicts their gecko mascot attempting to do a commercial but repeatedly messing up his lines or laughing.
- From Canada: A rare television commercial version happens in an A&W commercial. In the "Two For One Mamaburger" commercial with helium balloons, the balloon the employee releases at the end flies around and manages to hit the manager in the face and stay there as it deflates. You can tell the actor playing the employee is barely containing his laughter.
Anime & Manga
- Tsuruya plays what should be a walking corpse in Haruhi Suzumiya's budget-free alleged film, barely struggling not to laugh as she shambles at Mikuru.
- While recording lines for Aladdin, Robin Williams' antics caused Scott Weinger to have to excuse himself from the recording booth to laugh his balls off.
- Citizen Kane. Joseph Cotton stayed up 24 hours so that he could be believably drunk in one scene. When he says "film crimiticism", Orson Welles can't help but grin at the unplanned if realistic flub of the line.
- Cloverfield. Just after the subway scene, when the camera is smudged, Hud is clearly grinning while he's cleaning it.
- A famous example occurs in The Wizard of Oz. When Bert Lahr (the Cowardly Lion) makes his first appearance, Judy Garland (Dorothy) hides behind Toto. This looks like it's because she's frightened, but in actuality she was just trying to cover up the fact that she was laughing at Lahr.
- The commentary of Juno points out Ellen Page spent an entire filming of one scene doing this.
- During the "baseball glove" scene in Good Will Hunting, Matt Damon was supposed to act stoic and introspective, but Casey Affleck's banter with Ben Affleck was so funny, they kept it. And the scene when Robin Williams is talking about his wife waking herself up farting has both actors breaking up laughing.
- Dr. Strangelove
- Peter Bull, playing the sombre Russian ambassador, is shaking with laughter and trying desperately not to laugh out loud at watching Peter Sellers' ad-libbed antics as he fights his Evil Hand. He regained his composure quickly enough that the scene could still be used.
- They did have to cut it rather close, though. One scene showing Bull ends just seconds from the actor corpsing as seen when his stoic facade cracks.
- Peter Sellers was notorious for having this effect on his co-stars. Another noticeable moment (or Moments) is in Return of The Pink Panther and his scenes with Catherine Schell.
- Another scene was not so lucky—originally the movie was to end with a pie fight. Seriously. Unfortunately, the characters had to be totally earnest about it to fit with the Black Comedy tone of the movie. That was a bridge too far; the entire cast corpsed within the first few pastry volleys, and the set (not to mention wardrobe) was too trashed for a second take.
- The director Stanley Kubrick had so much trouble containing his own laughter on set that he would direct scenes by simply setting up cameras from every angle he could, then sitting against a wall on the far side of the set where his laughter wouldn't be heard in the film before calling action.
- Another Kubrick film example is in Full Metal Jacket. At the beginning when Gunnery Sergeant Hartman is berating the men, Vincent D'Onofrio begins to crack up. This was unintentional but they kept going. This reaction is Truth in Television as seen in the Real Life section below.
- In Men in Black, the scene where K is shaking Frank the pug. You can obviously see Tommy Lee Jones struggling to keep from laughing on camera. He's only partially successful. (Quick smile at about 44 seconds in.)
- In Men in Black II when David Cross's character offers J and K some mini-pizzas only for them to respond with unamused deadpan stares, Tommy Lee Jones's mouth can be seen twitching as he struggles not to laugh.
- In The Spy Who Shagged Me, Dr. Evil calls Number Two out for his interrupting him during his evil plan explanation, asking him if he wants to run things and "wear the daddy pants". He then bounces a giant rubber ball representing Earth at his head repeatedly, taunting him the whole time. Despite the fact that Dr. Evil is making fun of him for crying, Rob Lowe is laughing through the entire scene.
- The Marx Brothers: Groucho Marx was such a hilarious actor that Margaret Dumont could hardly ever keep a straight face when she was on screen with him.
- Monty Python:
- In Monty Pythons Life Of Brian, during the "Biggus Dickus" scene, the extras playing the guards were told that the scene would be serious and that they had to keep straight faces or they would be sacked. Michael Palin turned his performance up to eleven to get them to corpse, and it ended up as one of the funniest scenes in the entire film. The characteristically deadpan John Cleese gets one scripted laugh in this scene, but exits before Palin really gets the guards rolling, leaving it undetermined whether he may have broken as well.
- In Monty Python and the Holy Grail, watch Eric Idle as a peasant during the "burn the witch" scene. As John Cleese stretches an awkward silence out further and further, Idle has to bite down on his scythe at one point to keep from laughing.
- According to John Cleese, Michael Palin was "very naughty" on stage in his attempts to get the other Pythons to do this during live performances.
- At one point during the live tour, Terry Jones and Graham Chapman decided to try and make each other corpse when walking on to do a sketch about pepperpots; since they did their makeup separately and came in from opposite sides of the stage, there was a ready-made battlefield. They gradually got more and more absurd with their makeup, climaxing when Terry (sporting a Homer Simpson beard made entirely from lipstick) cracked up at the sight of Graham with a circle of lipstick drawn around his face.
- During the (not kidding) twenty straight minutes of rock climbing in B-Movie Lost Continent, as Cesar Romero is pulled up a cliff, his trousers begin to slide down and the actors hoisting him grab him by the back of his belt to prevent it. Behind them, Hugh Beaumont is visibly snickering at this and making a half-hearted attempt to hide it. You can see it here in the MST3K version.
- A bit of corpsing gets through in Spaceballs, but only slightly. When the Radar Officer tells Dark Helmet, "I'm having trouble with the radar, sir," there's a bit of a chuckle at the end. It should be noted that the officer was played by Michael Winslow, man of ten thousand sound effects. Almost a dozen Police Academy movies and this was the point where he almost loses his composure? Hilarious. (You can also see him covering his mouth as Helmet proclaims the jam to be "Raspberry!")
- Harry Potter
- Rik Mayall claims some of the child actors tried to do this to him during his (cut from the final film, sadly) scenes as Peeves in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. Luckily for Mayall, he had experience with that sort of thing.
- According to Chris Columbus, the first Potter film is filled with rapid cuts to compensate for how often the child actors would smile or laugh in the middle of takes. Rupert Grint was known for being especially bad for corpsing and apparently he didn't get much better when he grew up.
- On the fifth film, an instance of corpsing became a Throw It In (when the Trio all laughs after Harry talks about his kiss with Cho). Emma Watson was reportedly terrible for doing this during the filming of the final film. They set up a corpsing jar on set because of it.
- In Ghostbusters, when the gang goes to the Sedgwick Hotel and speaks to the man by the elevator ("What're you supposed to be, some kinda cosmonaut?"), you can see Dan Aykroyd (Ray Stantz) turn his head and look down at Bill Murray's (Peter Venkman) comments about roaches. ("Must be a big cockroach." "Bite your head off, man.") Justifiably understandable, because the "Bite your head off" line was improvised right there and then, so nobody saw it coming at all.
- Happens to Kevin Smith in Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back when Jay is trying to pretend he's James Van Der Beek to the security guards.
- Lindsay Lohan and Rachel McAdams have both said publicly that the filming of Mean Girls was often prolonged by fits of giggles induced whenever Tim Meadows was on set. It apparently became his mission for the duration of his work on that film to make Lindsay laugh on-camera as often as possible.
- Ace Ventura: Courtney Cox tries and almost succeeds in looking solemn when 'Larry' (Jim Carrey) acts out "a button-hook pattern in super slo-mo". She nearly cracks when he does an "instant replay" and 'bounces' off the doctor's shoulder. Additionally during those scenes, when Ace slams his head into a chair after drinking from a fountain, if you looks closely, the Doctor with Courtney can be seen chuckling.
- Watch Young Frankenstein and count the number of scenes where Gene Wilder is inches away from completely losing it. Igor's "take the bags" scene had to be filmed multiple times—not because the cast corpsed, but because the crew was laughing so hard that it was messing up the takes.
- The scene with Gene Hackman was supposed to be a one day shoot; between cast and crew the scene took nearly a week to film due to corpsing.
- In the 1989 Batman movie, one news reporter looks like she is corpsing In-Universe, and then becomes a corpse soon after, due to Joker venom.
- A whole series of corpsing outtakes play during the Creative Closing Credits of Cannonball Run.
- Star Wars: After delivering the line about "killing younglings", Obi-Wan quickly covers his mouth in a way that looks suspiciously like he's trying not to laugh.
- In Sister Act, when Mother Superior is raging at Deloris for turning the choir into a sideshow, the priest knocks on the door. Maggie Smith literally squeaks a loud "Come in!" that is so out of character (both for Mother Superior and for Maggie Smith) that you can clearly see Whoopi Goldberg immediately cover her mouth as she starts corpsing.
- While shooting the line-up scene in The Usual Suspects, everyone started laughing, so Bryan Singer kept part of it the film (right before Benicio Del Toro says his lines).
- Watch Mark Ruffalo in the infamous shawarma scene of The Avengers's second Stinger. Also, in the bloopers, this happens to Tom Hiddleston/Loki while he's trying to film his pained reaction to being beaten up by the Hulk.
- The "wanna hear the most annoying sound in the world" scene from Dumb and Dumber was not in the script; it was ad-libbed by Jim Carrey. During this scene in the movie you can see actor Mike Starr (who plays the hitman Mental) visibly trying not to laugh. Jeff Daniels starts corpsing too, briefly before the camera cuts to a close-up of Mike Starr.
- Lost in Translation features a scene with Bill Murray "talking" to an elderly Japanese woman in a hospital waiting room. Nearby are two extras who are nearly bursting from trying not to laugh. Murray (the actor) appears to notice them and goes even further trying to provoke a reaction from them.
- So I Married an Axe Murderer has a scene where Mike Myers (as the father of his other character in the movie) tries to teach Anthony Lapaglia's character about a secret society known as "The Pentaverate," but quickly goes off topic and starts ranting about Colonel Sanders. Anthony Lapaglia manages to hold it together for his one line, but that's about it. There's also a scene in the film where the same character is making fun of the large head of a kid, and Anthony Lapaglia's character tells him to be nice, while visibly laughing. Clearly, the director decided to Throw It In.
- Eddie Murphy apparently caused plenty of this in Beverly Hills Cop, specially because most dialogue was improvised. Good example is the "Super Cops" scene: the guy on Murphy's right is doing sort of a Face Palm to hide his laughter.
- The scene in The Princess Diaries where Mia slips and falls off the bleachers was not scripted and was a complete accident but the director kept it in anyway. Heather Matarazzo breaks character briefly but Anne Hathaway is too busy laughing her head off (which is in character) to affect the scene.
- Robert Downey, Jr. had a quick moment in Tropic Thunder where he grins madly after his Book Script scene.
- Tom Hanks was asked to do this with one of the child actors in Apollo 13 because they were getting a bit bored. The actress playing the Lovell's oldest daughter was previously in Free Willy 2, and Hanks used this to his advantage. He, as Lovell, started talking about the astronauts' freeze dried food and then suddenly switched to "No, it isn't...that's...that's *whale*! It's a 'Free Willy' sandwich!" Unfortunately, it's not evident in the final product.
- Midnight in Paris when F. Scott Fitzgerald introduces his new friend to Ernest Hemingway.
- A common hazard in most of Christopher Guest's films; due to the almost entirely unscripted nature of the films, combined with the cast being some of the most talented comic actors in the business. In A Mighty Wind, the cutaway immediately after Michael Hitchcock Dope Slaps an increasingly annoying Bob Balaban was necessitated by the entire cast and crew exploding into laughter.
- Iron Man 2: Robert Downey Jr. cracks up when asking the DJ for "A phat beat to beat my buddy's ass to." Since Tony is supposed to be drunk, they Throw It In.
- In Hitch, watch Will Smith 's expression during the "dance lesson" scene. He covers his mouth through the entire sequence, and when you see his co-star's (incredibly nerdy but excellent) dancing, it's easy to guess why.
- Watch Christine McIntyre during Shemp's "death" scene during The Three Stooges short Who Done It. She's obviously struggling to keep her composure during Shemp's seizures.
- In UHF, when Billy spits in Uncle Nutsy's face, you can see the child actor start to crack up as his loogie hangs perfectly from Weird Al's nose.
- In the Belching Contest scene in Revenge of the Nerds, keep an eye on John Goodman as the coach. He keeps studying his shoes while simultaneously making sure his hat doesn't come off, all to keep from laughing out loud on camera from the antics of actors Donald Gibb and Curtis Armstrong.
- Birdemic. Poor Whitney Moore, who played Nathalie, knowing she was in an awful movie, said almost every line with a giggle.
- Tim Conway was the master and archetype of sending his cast members into bouts of unscripted laughter on The Carol Burnett Show. He was so good at it, they didn't even try to hide that they were laughing. All it took was him to come out in some ridiculous outfit, flash his trademark smirk at them, and the others would be falling over laughing.
- Harvey Korman was particularly a victim whenever he did a skit with Tim Conway. Conway may well be the Crown Prince of causing other people to corpse. Note that Conway rarely actively tried to make it happen. The other cast members reportedly placed bets to see how long it would take Korman to bust out laughing.
- The best example of this is one sketch in which he played a dentist. Conway's character accidentally shoots himself (multiple times) with an anesthetic. Poor Harvey Korman was literally stuck in the dentist chair and had to watch the entire thing.
- Other times, the other members, especially Carol, would get even with Tim. Like in "The Flasher" skit, which (judging by the nature of what it was that cracked him up) was more of a conspiratorial plot to break Tim than an actual sketch.
- Vicki Lawrence was very good at resisting corpsing, but could even make Tim fall out laughing, as at the very end of the Elephant story. She was also fond (while playing Mama) of coming up with ad libbed insults to crack up Carol.
- On the other hand, there was one skit with her, Lyle Waggoner, and Harvey Korman where she breaks down laughing after her character dies. Harvey eventually solves the situation by burying Vicki's head with hay.
- During one episode of The Nanny, Fran was supposed to shave an unconscious Maxwell's pubic hair (It Makes Sense in Context). Both Fran Drescher and Charles Shaughnessy began giggling uncontrollably — it was funnier in the latter's case, since Maxwell was supposed to be passed out.
- J-Rock on Trailer Park Boys is infamous at sending his cast members into corpsing fits. Jonathan Torrens, the guy who plays him, goes off-script often and comes out with truly hilarious statements that the cast just aren't ready for. If you're looking for it, you'll frequently see Bubbles or Julian abruptly duck out of frame to keep from having a laughing fit on camera.
- All the time in Smallville judging from the special features videos. Allison Mack (Chloe Sullivan) especially mentions a kissing scene in which Tom Welling (Clark Kent) would keep burst out laughing and they had to do it over and over again.
- Peter Cook, a master of improv, liked to get his partner Dudley Moore to corpse during filmings of Not Only But Also.
Pete: [as Dud tries to hide his laughter by eating] You enjoyin' that sandwich, are ya?
Dud: [weeps with laughter]
- On the Thirty Rock Live Episode, Tracy tries to corpse on purpose to get a laugh. Tracy being Tracy, he does it badly.
Tracy: "Uh oh, I'm doing something called 'breaking' Blahahahaha. Snort. Heehee. Giggle giggle. The audience loves this!"
- Doctor Who actors Janet Fielding and Sarah Sutton are actually corpsing, not sobbing, during Adric's death scene in "Earthshock".
- In the episode "The Christmas Invasion", watch Mickey's face from the point that the Doctor staggers out of the TARDIS to the point that he collapses at Mickey and Jackie's feet. Poor Noel Clarke could barely keep a straight face.
- "New Earth" - When Lady Cassandra takes over the Doctor's body and turns up the camp, you can see Billie Piper trying not to crack.
- In "The Seeds of Death", watch Zoe when the Doctor is swept off his feet by the foam at the beginning of Episode Six. Or, if you've got the DVD, watch the Easter Egg, which shows the commentary being filmed for that scene.
- In "School Reunion", corpsing was used as Enforced Method Acting — to get authentic laughter from Billie Piper and Elisabeth Sladen, David Tennant scribbled on his face with a marker when he entered. The laughter from Rose and Sarah Jane is them corpsing over how ridiculous Tennant looked.
- Graham Crowden, who plays Soldeed in "The Horns of Nimon" did this during his death scene. However, it actually comes across as being perfectly in character as Evil Is Hammy, so he gets away with it by turning it into some kind of crazy chortle.
- Quite often during the presenter interludes on CBBC (BBC childrens television) this is often because of mistakes made by other presenters or puppeteers, or unrehearsed lines, especially the puppeteer of 'Hacker. T. Dog' as seenin one of the funniest links made in CBBC history
- A segment on The Daily Show regarding a sex scandal involving Prince Charles produced one of the greatest corpses of all time between Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert. A few of the more notable times involved the writers and other actors changing things up on Jon between rehearsal and recording (such as when John Oliver reads the names of Britain's Fallen Soldiers).
- In fairness, Oliver starts cracking too when he gets to a soldier named "Incestishire".
- Colbert's site has a video tag for when he loses it on camera.
- Several times on Whose Line Is It Anyway?. Most of the time, the four "players" and Drew are great at keeping straight faces, but sometimes you get moments like this.
- Colin can sometimes set it off with a single word, such as "Tapioca!" or an already breaking down "Meow".
- "Meow" gets special credit because not only did he get Wayne, Drew and Ryan to break, he even made Laura Hall playing the piano to crack, the music faltering and just stopping because she was laughing so hard.
- So far, only three people have managed to get Colin to corpse: Robin Williams, Richard Simmons, and Colin himself.
- The case where Colin got himself? A "Greatest Hits" where he said the following. The entire studio stopped cold for laughing.
Ryan: We don't know what you're watching, so we're not gonna return you to it!
- A pure case of corpsing (in that he is actually meant to be a corpse) occurs for Drew in one of the outtakes.
- The two most common corpsing events involve Colin going off on tangents during the "Greatest Hits" as a spokesman with Ryan (Leading to such gems as the "Tapioca" outburst and "We're watching animal porn!" bit) and during the Irish Drinking Song skit where Colin was always the one to finish the song with a rhyme and does it in such a way that everyone else loses it, leaving him as the sole person literally standing.
- The Cat!
- Colin gets another one during Greatest Hits when Ryan asks him what bird says the name of their next band (meaning an owl, which says "who". Colin's guess? Just watch. Everyone else on stage loses it for about a minute.
- Most of the bloopers on the Mystery Science Theater 3000 Poopie Reel (available on the "Manos" The Hands of Fate episode's DVD) consist of corpsing. This example in particular...
- In the completed Monster A-Go Go episode, you can see Frank crack during the "Johnny Longtorso" song. As seen in the Poopie reel, it's fairly impressive that he could get through it at all.
- Frank Conriff was very bad at these. It's amazing he could get through any of them.
- Portrayed in-universe with the Mads' invention exchange for The Human Duplicators, in that they could not stop laughing at the absurdity of their William Conrad Fridge Alert. One has to wonder just how much of that was simply Trace and Frank rolling with it, though.
- It's also common among the movie segments, Joel/Mike and the 'Bots frequently chuckle and crack up at each others riffs.
- Samson vs. the Vampire Women just has Tom utterly lose it when El Santo suddenly shows up at the beginning of the film.
- Very common in Saturday Night Live due to the live comedy nature of the show. A handful of performers, including producer Lorne Michaels, were virtually immune to it and any time they do corpse is a rare treasure.
- On a sketch from the original cast era (1975-1980), Gilda Radner plays a dumb woman who embarrasses her friend played by Candace Bergen. Bergen then calls her "Fern" (which is actually her character's name) instead of "Lisa" which is Gilda's character's name. Bergen completely cracks while Gilda turns the sketch around and makes it look like "Fern" is the dumb one in the sketch.
- Chris Farley was a master at inspiring this in his castmates. This was the most enjoyable part of the Zagat's sketches. Adam Sandler plays a grumpy Deadpan Snarker husband, and Farley is his over-enthusiastic wife. His performance is so over the top that watching Sandler try to keep his miserable expression (and fail) is far funnier than a straight take would have been.
- The "Matt Foley, Motivational Speaker" sketch had the other actors in the skit rolling, especially David Spade, who tried(and failed) to hide his smile by cupping his face with his left hand(as his left side was facing the audience). Episode host Christina Applegate was reduced to pulling some of her hair out of her ponytail and draping it across her cheek to try and hide her laughter. In particular, the rehearsal had Farley say the "living in a van down by the river" in a fairly normal tone of voice. In the live performance he made it legendary with "living in A VAN... DOWN BY THE RIVER!!!" and that is what killed the others in the skit.
- In his autobiography, Jay Mohr talks about how it was often impossible not to laugh in Farley's presence. He notes that in one scene, Farley simply crossed his eyes whenever he knew the camera couldn't see it, prompting his co-stars to crack up.
- Another element that makes the skit so legendary is how Farley breaking the table was completely unscripted. You can see how shocked the other actors are before they make a valiant effort to keep straight faces.
- After leaving the show, Spade would later host SNL. He was featured in a sketch with Will Ferrell, who played a Drill Sergeant Nasty. Ferrell apparently tried his damnedest to make Spade crack up during the sketch. It worked.
- Another sketch with Ferrell, known as "The Bad Doctor". The setup is that a couple of recent parents are consulting a suspiciously qualified doctor, and it only goes downhill from there. Right around the time Ferrell says "we misplaced your baby", he and Molly Shannon are both cracking up.
- In the famous Phil Hartman sketch where he visits a McDonald's as Bill Clinton, he starts eating the customers' food as he talks. At one point, he literally chokes for a second and needs Tim Meadows to supply him with water. Being the professional that he is, Phil plays it off.
- Another Phil Hartman crackup here when he is playing Frankenstein's Monster. There's actually a story with this in which Phil was sitting there and suddenly realized how absurd the situation was and then giggled a bit. He stopped for a few and then thought about how Frankenstein's Monster would've sounded laughing, which set him off all over again.
- Horatio Sanz often couldn't keep a straight face and neither could Jimmy Fallon. On the 2011 Christmas episode hosted by Jimmy Fallon, he even stated that his cracking up on-camera ruined a lot of good sketches.
- Tracy Morgan said in an interview with Penthouse that Fallon's tendency to corpse wasn't always appreciated among the cast, adding that Fallon knew better than to not do it in a sketch involving Tracy.
- On the Family Guy episode, "Don't Make Me Over," Peter beats up Jimmy Fallon for his constant corpsing, stating that he hasn't earned the right to do it like Carol Brunett (and apparently forgetting the fact that Fallon had sex with Meg as part of the show's cold opening).
- In the first Debbie Downer sketch, nobody could keep a straight face.
- Perhaps the only person in this particular sketch who didn't break down into hysterics was Fred Armisen, who was clearly doing all he could to keep from corpsing along with his castmates. He was successful...kinda.
- So prevalent was this in the sketches that the syndicated version of the Downer sketch with Ben Affleck (from season 30) contains the dress rehearsal version in which the cast corpses; it comes with a disclaimer that it was funnier than the original live version in which everyone kept it together.
- Ever since Bill Hader's Stefon character (who was originally a One-Scene Wonder in a sketch about a screenwriter whose effeminate, deranged brother reunites with him to pitch a family-friendly sports movie on the season 34 episode hosted by Ben Affleck) became a Weekend Update character (the segment's "city correspondent"), Hader has not gotten through a segment without laughing note . That Other Wiki and many a late-night talk show interview confirm (from both Hader and SNL writer, John Mulaney — Hader's co-writer for the Stefon segments on Weekend Update) that this keeps happening because John Mulaney changes jokes at the last minute (not out of malice; just to be funny) and Hader doesn't see them until he's actually on-camera. Also not helping is the absurdity of the descriptions (which have grown with every passing segment) and Hader seeing the cue-card man and others behind camera cracking up first. According to Hader, it's gotten to the point where even the man putting on his mike has told him, quote, "You are dead, buddy. You're gonna laugh first thing out of the gate."
- It got to the point that by the time Bill Hader left SNL, it had become not only permissible, but an expected part of the sketch, for him to corpse.
- Seth Meyers is also usually ready to crack the moment Stefon rolls in.
- Hader developed the "mouth-covering" character quirk to hide the laughter.
- Another Bill Hader example happened during an SNL skit The Californians, which managed to mildly crack up Fred Armisen and Kristen Wiig. Granted, that was the dress rehearsal, but this fit of giggles made its way into the skit during the live taping as well.
- There's the famous "I have a fevah! And the only prescription...is more cowbell!" Line delivered by Christopher Walken, which made everyone in the scene crack up.
- According to interviews, Will Ferrell changed shirts between rehearsal and taping, going with one that was hilariously undersized for the live take. As a result, Jimmy Fallon spends most of the sketch completely unable to hold a straight face.
- For all this, SNL also has the über anti-corpsing example: Alec Baldwin, Ana Gasteyer, Molly Shannon, and Schweddy Balls.
- In a season 3 episode, during Weekend Update, John Belushi was reporting about a recent oil spill complete with a toy boat that's filled with oil. Belushi accidentally tilts the boat over causing his hand and the desk to be covered with oil. Belushi sees Dan Aykroyd, who was beside him, miserably trying to hide his laughter and takes advantage of it by making Aykroyd laugh, teasing Aykroyd that he's gonna put oil on him, causing Aykroyd to corpse more.
- Don Rickles went Off the Rails and broke Joe Piscopo within 20 seconds into their sketch. Piscopo's giggles were infectious enough to break Rickles in return.
- For a more recent example, check out Weekend Update from the Edward Norton-hosted episode in season 39. Taran Killam as Jebediah Atkinson just kills Seth Meyers the entire time he's on-stage, eventually cracking Killam himself. As the Update segment ends and the camera zooms out, Meyers can be seen still laughing like a jackal with Killam.
- The X-Files
- One scene outtake, complete with corpse. The corpse coughs and the film crew cracks up while Scully delivers her lines: "It's true, John. She's gone. There's no measurable electrical activity in her brain."
- This happened a lot, particularly when props didn't work. One outtake reel includes what's supposed to be a burning book failing to catch fire three times. When it finally works, David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson try really hard to keep straight faces, but when they look at one another they both burst out laughing.
- In the Penguin scene from Monty Python's Flying Circus, Graham Chapman's exclamation of "Oh, intercourse the penguin!" is clearly an ad lib. How can you tell? John Cleese obviously trying to stifle his laughter and get back in character...
- Morecambe And Wise were known for their very loose "rules" on corpsing and they practically smiled through every single thing they did and openly laughing at their jokes, it added to their charm. The people they were always trying to crack up were the serious actors, such as Oscar-winning Glenda Jackson failing to stop herself from laughing during their Anthony and Cleopatra skit.
- Another example is during the Grieg's Piano Concerto skit, the background orchestra are laughing so hard and so constantly they might as well be in the audience.
- A hilarious aversion in that skit comes courtesy of their guest, renowned conductor/musician André Previn, who shows impeccable comedic timing and acting as a Straight Man despite not having acting experience. So straight in fact, he never corpses for a second during Morecambe's antics, even when the latter menacingly pulls Previn up close by his collar due to him criticizing Morecambe's performance.
- This is even funnier when you learn that Morecambe and Wise were professional as hell during rehearsals and complained at people who ad-libbed. They of course ad-libbed during the actual recordings...
- The Tonight Show
- In the famous "Sis Boom Bah" joke from Carnac the Magnificent, Johnny and Ed can't keep a straight face before they deliver the joke. And who could blame them? Then they lose it completely after delivering the joke ("Describe the sound made when a sheep explodes").
- Another sketchfeatures Johnny and Joe Friday (Jack Webb) reviewing a case. The entire skit was designed solely to make Friday crack up. it finally happens at the end of this clip
- In one Mork and Mindy episode homaging Its A Wonderful Life, Mork is supposed to be invisible and inaudible as he observes Mindy's life without him. Pam Dawber makes a valiant but ultimately futile effort to keep a straight face to Robin Williams' antics. Apparently, Robin liked to do this deliberately. In an interview, Pam mentioned one time where he stood offstage completely naked just to mess with her.
- Before that, there was Mork's first appearance on Happy Days. Henry Winkler later commented how difficult it was working on that episode because not only was Williams so funny, but he also never did anything the same way twice.
- Anne Robinson, the unflappable host of The Weakest Link, suffered a few facial twitches during a celebrity edition when Rob Schneider mentioned that he'd like to find out who "the sexy link" was, and stating his belief that: "Anne, I think it's you." Later, when voted off, Rob rushes the podium and wraps Anne in a giant bear hug, lifting her and spinning her around. Any semblance of a straight face is immediately lost.
- Especially impressive given that Anne managed to keep a completely stoic expression before, during, and after being passionately kissed by William Shatner in an ad-libbed Captain Kirk shout out.
- They also had one episode with all hairdressers; the contestants were basically eight blokes and one Dumb Blonde. The men all voted each other out for tactical reasons - or because they fancied the blonde - while Blondie was pretty much continually stupid. Until she pinched a victory from nowhere on the head-to-head showdown. Anne was visibly struggling to keep it together by the end.
- On the WWE Edition when Trish Stratus was asked a question about Richard Nixon, she replied "I'm from Canada, I don't know" and a few chuckles from Anne seep through when she's trying to continue.
- Mrs. Brown's Boys has this in spades. Though it's usually because Angus Brown is very good at making things up, usually just to make the rest of the cast laugh.
- In How I Met Your Mother apparently one of the aspects of filming is that certain jokes, monologues and one-liners are not told to the cast as a whole and just to the one saying it. This almost guarantees a chuckle by the others in the scene, which is supposed to be in character anyway. At other times they just go off the walls and just Throw It In.
- Neil Patrick Harris was chuckling when Jason Segel was singing "Happy, Happy Lily-day," however, it's not that noticeable.
- Also Cobie Smulders is clearly struggling to contain herself when Barney explains The Three Day Rule
- Neil also made Wayne Brady crack up when he ad-libbed "Popozao!" after an exchange, in the latter's introductory episode. Wayne's back is turned to the camera but you can see him break down, and Neil himself points it out in the episode commentary.
- When Barney was butting in on the bonding session of "Stand By Me" between his half brother, James and his newly reunited father, Sam, Colbie Smulders (Robin) was having a very hard time staying in character and is visibly trying not to completely lose it (it's not meant to be that funny In-Universe).
- In the blooper reel Jason Segel was doing a scene where Marshall finds an old Mad Libs booklet and Cobie Smulders started laughing during his dialogue (every word was FART). As Segel and Josh Radnor start teasing her for it she tried to justify it as being in character for her to laugh at the gag, which they replied with "Not BEFORE the joke!"
- For a man known for being a Deadpan Snarker, Richard Dawson has an absolutely epic fit of uncontrollable laughter during the infamous "September" Fast Money round of Family Feud.
- A sketch of Brazilian TV show Zorra Total had a drunkard psychiatrist. He always opened the window to check the "no health plan" patients' line outside, which even had a barbecue salesman. Said salesman was always shot from the back to hide his corpsing (in one episode, the psychiatrist dragged the salesman inside the office, just to show he was laughing his ass off).
- Happened on Anderson Cooper 360 during a "Ridiculist" segment talking about Gerard Depardieu peeing on a plane (as in peeing on the floor in the aisle of the plane). Anderson Cooper starts laughing uncontrollably after reading the many many puns.
- Happens quite a bit on MA Dtv, especially in the Stuart (Michael MacDonald) sketches. His mom (Mo Collins) often has trouble keeping a straight face.
- In Necessary Roughness one client turned to Dani after suddenly breaking into laughter during a live news report on an on-going war.
- Tommy Davidson guest-stars on Martin as a former radio jockey turned Hollywood star. It's clear that the scene is a mix of script and ad-libs. At one point in the scene, Davidson says "the catfish are delicious," and Martin can't help but start laughing to himself and tries to turn his head from the camera. Tommy tries to continue, but also has to turn away and you can hear him guffawing his way through the line. Martin doesn't speak again, until he stops laughing. I mean just watch
- Happy Days: Mr. Cunningham trying not to laugh as his wife fires off every one of Fonzie's catchphrases straight to his face.
- On Project Runway, the usually stoic Michael Kors memorably lost it during one runway show when a model did a super sexy pose at the end of her walk. Everyone else on set proceeds to crack up as well. This also happens frequently when a designer's look is being critiqued, with cuts to the other designers trying desperately to hold back church giggles.
- Dick & Dom in da Bungalow would feature certainly Dick, and often Dom, cracking up at least once an episode. Brilliantly infectious. In this clip they seriously disturb the peace in a library.
- Happens in a season one episode of Burn Notice, but is only revealed in the DVD commentary. Bruce Campbell, playing Sam Axe, says "It's only photoshop," causing Jeffrey Donovan, playing Michael Westen, to laugh for seven hours.
- A blooper had Donovan and Gabrielle Anwar (Fiona) having a hard time keeping a straight face during a serious scene. Every time "action" is called they would start to giggle. Eventually the actor playing a client of the week yelled out "You're laughing?! My mom was *bleeping* kidnapped!"
- In All That, it was something of a tradition for Kenan and Kel to break out laughing at some point when they're playing off each other in the Good Burger sketches: they do it at least twice during the show itself, and when they came back for the Tenth Anniversary Special they did it again.
- The title of King of Corpsing might very well go to Ricky Gervais, co-writer and star of The Office, Extras and Life's Too Short. He not only ruins many takes with his very boisterous laugh, but will actively try to make his fellow cast members corpse. And he always succeeds.
- In this outtake from a guest spot on Sesame Street, Kevin Clash is obviously cracking up at Gervais' jokes (and vice versa), but he impressively manages to stay in character (as Elmo) the whole time.
- One blooper from The Office shows John Krasinki, who plays Jim, being unable to contain himself after watching Rainn Wilson, who plays Dwight, deliver the quote "May you fight with the strength of ten full-grown men".
- Rainn Wilson corpses around ten times trying to deliver the line "I will pray to Thor himself" on the season 2 reel.
- One particularly infamous episode of Lost in Space features a vegetable villain who is so ridiculous some of the cast can be seen turning away from the camera to hide their corpsing.
- This would occasionally happen on Hello Cheeky, and whenever there was corpsing, there would be Throw It In. It's especially noticeable in a sketch in the first episode of the TV series, in which Barry has been playing himself for a while, then literally ducks under the table and re-emerges with a hat. John asks "Who are you?", at which point Barry cracks up with the sheer bizarreness of the situation, the audience goes into hysterics, and the sketch stops for fifteen seconds while the performers improvise and crack up.
John: I demand to know!
Tim: I demand to know also!
Barry: I know no fear! I don't know my lines, but I don't know fear as well!
- Marg Helgenberger's scene with William Petersen at the end of the CSI: Crime Scene Investigation episode 'Inside The Box' likely counts. Petersen did the pre-surgery scene with Grissom in his hospital gown without wearing anything underneath. Marg/Catherine is seen smirking at the end and you can probably guess why.
- On one episode of the game show The Chase one of the questions was "In what sport did Fanny Chmelar compete for Germany?". Cue Bradley Walsh desperately trying not to laugh. Seen Here.
- The question writers actually try to get Bradley on a regular basis. He, in turn, tries to corpse the chasers. It was, however, a Contestant who got Shaun Wallace to break character. Seen here
- Then there was this moment of corpsing, where the contestant was the only one keeping it together for long enough to call an advert break.
- And of course Bradley made himself corpse on occasion.
- In the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Masks", there is a scene in which Picard and Riker discuss how to address the corruption of the ship's main computer by an alien archive. For part of the scene, actor Jonathan Frakes has an inappropriate grin on his face, and is apparently attempting to resist laughing.
- Jonathan Frakes has become notorious for this, as Riker can be seen on the verge of corpsing in several scenes from Star Trek, including Picard's declaration of love for Lwaxana Troi and Worf's request that Q die to prove his mortality. However, this act fits in with Riker's personality as a fun-loving guy.
- Frakes was very likely reacting not to the scene, which wasn't written to be funny, but to the way Patrick Stewart was holding a prop, and the way he emphasized the word 'enormous' in his line.
- In the DS9 episode Return to Grace, Major Kira is demonstrating the differences between the Starfleet and Cardassian phaser rifles, concluding that the Cardassian rifle is the better field weapon. That's not hard to believe, because midway through the lecture the prop's power pack falls out and dangles by a wire for the rest of the scene. Nana Visitor visibly struggles to keep a straight face.
- The cast were pretty well known for this. Check out this clip.
- Also, take a look at guest Brad Pitt in this.
- It even became a Running Gag during the filming. Whenever someone slipped up and corpsed during the scene, in the next take Matthew Perry would make the same mistake, making everyone laugh again.
- Perry was known for pulling other pranks, like the scene where Richard is declaring his love for Monica (Matthew's character's girlfriend) and Matthew storms onto the set yelling "What the fuck are you doing?" The audience went crazy and none of the actors could keep a straight face for the redo.
- Apparently, the ladies of Hot In Cleveland had a running contest to see who would be the first to make Betty White corpse. Of course, since Betty is a sitcom vet who has been doing this for fifty years, this is a rather tall order. Nothing made it into the actual episodes, but the blooper reel shows that Jane Leeves won.
- In-universe example in The Mary Tyler Moore Show. Mary is at the funeral for Chuckles the clown, and keeps having to suppress laughter, even after she warned the others to stay serious. Becomes a simultaneous Crowning Moment of Heartwarming and Crowning Moment of Funny when she is told that it is all right, that Chuckles lived for making people laugh, and that even at his own funeral, he would want her to laugh. Mary stares for a second and starts bawling.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer was not immune to this. In season three Faith is moping that she wasn't able to turn Angel evil, and her parental figure Big Bad suggests miniature golf to cheer her up. Seeing as she is at the time an Ax-Crazy psychotic either the character or her actress can't help but laugh.
- Something similar happens at the end of season six. Willow has gone completely off the rails, as has the lives of Buffy and her friends. She details this to Giles, who reacts to the somber news by cracking up laughing. After a moment Buffy does as well.
- A famous series of bloopers happened in the fourth season of Angel when the characters were mentally reverted to their teenage self and Angel, being a 250 year old vampire, was shocked by the appearance of things like cars. Going outside, freaking out and running back into the main room, whenever David Boreanaz (Angel) made eye contact with Alexis Denisoff (Wesley) they could not keep a straight face. In the episode proper you can see them avoid eye-contact very deliberately and even still Wesley glances towards the ceiling with a slight smirk before walking off camera.
- Discussed in the commentary to one Angel episode, where the writers ask Adam Baldwin how he manages to not corpse during one particular scene. The experienced actor replies, absolutely stonefaced...
Adam Baldwin: You take. Your job. Seriously.
- Subverted whole-hog in The Muppet Show where Statler and Waldorf usually laugh at their own wisecracks and you can't help but laugh along.
- Very frequently on Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In, and it usually got left in (much like what would happen on SNL years later). Most spectacularly when Dan Rowan was playing a Mexican and Sammy Davis Jr. cracked up laughing, saying "That's the worst accent I've ever heard!" then got back into character and carried on with the skit.
- From Community: Look very closely at Jeff's face in "Virtual Systems Analysis" when the Dean approaches as the "Duali-Dean of Man". A couple of camera angles hide the fact that Joel McHale's about three seconds away from losing it.
- The Golden Girls had a scene in one ep where Blanche gives the other girls calendars with erotic pictures. There really were some nude pics in the calendar, and you can tell by the reactions.
- Highlander had an example that was left in the ep. The director got distracted at the end of one episode and didn't yell "cut" as soon as the actors expected. Adrian Paul and Stan Kirsch cracked up, possibly thinking he *had* yelled "cut" and could come out of character, and the effect went well with the tone of the scene, that they kept it.
- "The Modern Prometheus", where Methos and Amanda talk in Methos's place. Peter Wingfield turned his line in one take into a joke, responding to Elizabeth Gracen's line "He might die, Methos" with "Maybe we'll get our own show!". Elizabeth had an extremely hard time getting through her lines straightfaced as shown in the commercial blooper reel release, and was probably close to losing it even in the shot that did make it.
- Adrian Paul actually is quite a prankster on his series, as the Highlander blooper reel shows a few examples of.
- In The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Phil and Will prepare to board an elevator at the hospital. A hot girl walks out of it before they walk on and Will, of course, flirts with her and barks like a dog while doing it before Phil drags him into the elevator. Although he's not seen, you can definitely hear Alfonso Ribeiro (Carlton) laughing like crazy.
- On That Seventies Show, Kitty, Donna and Jackie go to a male strip club. Kitty enthusiastically starts dancing along with one of the strippers and slowly everyone loses it. It reaches its boiling point when the stripper himself can't keep dancing and collapses on the stage.
- In this scene from 3rd Rock from the Sun, Tommy and Harry are trying (unsuccessfully) to feed Mrs. Dubcek's grandson. You can see Tommy start to crack after Harry spits food back at the baby/camera.
- Roy Walker and a male contestant famously couldn't keep a straight face during the "Snake Charmer" puzzle on Catch Phrase. It's made even funnier if you watch the full version of that scene and see that the female contestant genuinely has no idea what they're laughing at.
- Happened frequently on Brazilian comedy series Sai De Baixo, made easier due to being a filmed theater performance.
- Occurred once or twice in the John Bird / John Fortune dialogues in Bremner, Bird and Fortune. One discussion centered around making the Queen Mother the centrepiece of the Millennium celebrations; this led to the thought of a gigantic hot-air balloon in the shape of the Queen Mother drifting across London, which reduced both of them to helpless laughter.
- Forever Knight 'False Witness' had a scene at the end with Nick and Natalie watching King Kong in Nick's loft. Nick startles Nat near the end of the scene by showing his fangs and she responds by throwing popcorn at him. This was actually a prank by Geraint Wyn Davies, rather than a planned part of the scene. The giveaway is that any other time Nick vamps, his eyes go golden, but the actor wasn't wearing the contacts that time, leaving his eyes their usual color. Also, the fangs are slightly crooked. The popcorn throw was probably, rather naturally, Catherine Disher's own reaction.
- During the episode of Hustle in which Danny and Stacie play strip poker, Stacie's reaction to Danny being nude and Ash walking in is Jaime Murray's actual reaction. It's also said that during the filming of the first season, Robert Glenister (Ash) would try to get Murray to laugh, which could explain why Stacie doesn't start full on laughing until Ash walks in and looks at Stacie.
- Happens a few times during Roseanne, usually thanks to Laurie Metcalf. One instance comes during the episode where Roseanne and Jackie's father dies, and Jackie is forced to call their extremely old and deaf Auntie Barbara and break the news to her. It goes about as well as expected ("HE'S FINE. HE SENDS HIS LOVE."), and Roseanne hangs her head at one point to hide her face, though her shoulders shake visibly.
- Another episode has Roseanne, Dan, and Jackie smoking some old pot they found. Cut to Roseanne and Dan in the bathroom, stoned out of their gourds, when suddenly Jackie speaks up from behind the shower curtain. Repeated a few seconds later when Jackie goes off on an emotionless rant about how her life sucks, and holds up a joint: "It's just me. Just me and my ganja." Cue Roseanne and Dan cracking up.
- You can hardly blame Desi Arnaz for doing this so often on I Love Lucy — would you have been able to hold yourself together watching Lucy practice the vitameatavegamin commercial any better than he did?
- In a 1965 episode of The Dean Martin Show, Dean plays a shop assistant dealing with a customer, played by Bob Newhart, who is returning a toupee. While Newhart is his usual deadpan self (for the most part), Dean cannot stop giggling.
Dean: (trying not to laugh)
Now, do you want a... full exchange? (starts laughing again) Bob:
Well, I... I'd like a straight man who didn't laugh! Bob: (Dean has a huge grin)
You're sure you worked with Jerry
Yeahaha! (cracks up again, wiping tears from his eyes)
But our stuff wasn't this funny, I'll tell you that! Bob:
Can I use your phone to... Dean: (Looking forward to this)
Ooooh, for heaven's sake, yeah!
- In the NewsRadio episode "Complaint Box", the cast are visibly and audibly fighting the urge to laugh at the facetious complaint cards which Dave is reading in a completely deadpan voice. Everyone, including Dave, finally loses it at "Help, I'm being held prisoner in a complaint box."
- Merlin had Nathaniel Parker, playing Agravaine, in series 4. Agravaine is pure evil, which makes watching the good-natured and utterly charming Parker lose it repeatedly in the gag reel even funnier.
- Former ESPN SportsCenter anchor Charley Steiner was notorious for doing this on-air. His most infamous moment came when Carl Lewis' awful rendition of the Star Spangled Banner was shown on SportsCenter. After the clip was finished, the camera cut to Steiner, who looked as if he was ready to explode with laughter and struggled to even speak.
- Steve Levy underwent a slow breakdown after mentioning a football player with a bulging disc in his neck (only, at first, he didn't say the word "disc", but something else), then struggling through the rest of the injury report. The co-anchor at the time, Keith Olbermann, later stated that Levy was actually the calmest person in the room; everyone else (Keith himself included) were completely losing it. And then Keith set Steve off further by mentioning that first player's injury again.
- One episode of Loose Women had the ladies complaining about their messy husbands. Brambles made a sly remark about McDonald's husband ("do you have to take him in hand?") which prompts the poor woman to burst out laughing, unable to continue for the next two minutes. Brambles even pulls out the tissues before they can go on. And "I did get the vac out" probably wasn't much better.
- Charlie in Its Always Sunny In Philadelphia frequently meanders into improv too good not to Throw It In. Unfortunately the spontaneous takes are lost if a co-actor breaks on camera, so they have to struggle not to corpse during it.
- Dagmar Berghoff had joked beforehand “should I say ‘WC’ instead of ‘WTC tournament’?”. Oops.
- An episode of Zyuden Sentai Kyoryuger has the team stalling for time by convincing Kyoryu Gold to pretend he has a Dangerous Forbidden Technique...which involves a lot of butt-wiggling and chanting "Nin nin nin!", made even funnier by Gold being an Adorkable Fish Out of Temporal Water. While he's doing this, Kyoryu Black's actor doesn't even bother trying to hold in his laughter, but obviously his character has a perfectly valid reason for busting a gut.
- In the Bewitched episode "Double, Double, Toil and Trouble", Elizabeth Montgomery cracked up after Dick York gave her a Pie in the Face. She dubbed over the scene in post-production, but if you look closely, you can still see her laugh.
- Happened several times on In Living Color!, but possibly the most memorable time was during the two-parter Men On Television skit when Blaine, played by Damon Wayans was hit by a falling piece of debris and squeaks out a yell right before falling to the floor. David Alan Grier's, who plays Antoine, laughter was very apparent. ("Blaine? Bla-a-a-aine? Call a doctor! I think he needs mouth-to-mouth resuscitation!")
- Elvis Presley had an epic one during one performance of "Are You Lonesome Tonight", following a deliberate Mondegreen:
Do the chairs in your parlor seem empty and bare?
Do you gaze at your bald head and wish you had hair?
- Kid Cudi has one at the end of the Piss Take Rap "Maui Wowie", after someone puts a fart noise effect to cap off the song.
- Garth Brooks did this several times during the taping of his Double Live album. One turned "Unanswered Prayers" into an Audience Participation Song. Another was on "It's Your Song", a track whose studio version is very hard to find.
- The Beach Boys break into (arguably drug induced) fits of giggles at the beginning of "Little Pad".
- Michael Stipe can clearly be heard cracking up on The Sidewinder Sleeps Tonite after the line about Dr. Seuss.
- This is reportedly due to his mispronunciation of the name as "Zooce" instead of "Soice", despite having been informed by bandmate Mike Mills of the correct form.
- Kurt Cobain unsuccessfully suppresses a chuckle during the second full chorus of "Milk It".
- Paul McCartney stifles laughter while singing the second verse of "Maxwell's Silver Hammer", because John Lennon mooned Paul in the recording studio as he sang the line "so he waits behind". (The other Beatles hated "Maxwell's Silver Hammer" because of all the time they spent working on it, and Lennon had called it "Paul's granny shit" at one point.)
- Bob Dylan cracks up at the start of "Bob Dylan's 115th Dream" because the rest of the band misses the cue and had to start again, and this was kept in the final recording.
- King Crimson's "Indoor Games" ends with vocalist Gordon Haskell breaking into laughter, his explanation being that he thought the lyrics to the song were ridiculous.
- Joe Strummer cracks up in the middle of "White Man in Hammersmith Palais" as he starts to sing "They got Burton suits, Ha! You think it's funny?"
- David Bowie at the end of "The Laughing Gnome".
- Mentioned in character in the song One Week by Barenaked Ladies.
"How can I help it if I think you're funny when you're mad, tryin' hard not to smile though I feel bad. I'm the kind of guy who laughs at a funeral, can't understand what I mean, you soon will."
- Literally happens in "If I Had $1,000,000" by the same band during the line about fancy ketchups.
"And we could buy these really expensive ketchups... / (cue giggling on this line) Dijon ketchup! Mmm!"
- New Order sometimes wrote their lyrics collaboratively, with a Round Robin approach where each member would contribute a line. The presence of "I think you're a pig/You should be in a zoo" in "Every Little Counts" caused Bernard Sumner to crack up, and he struggles for the rest of the verse to regain his composure.
- The Revolting Cocks did a cover of Rod Stewart's "Da Ya Think I'm Sexy" with some altered lyrics - vocalist Chris Connelly was unable to stifle a chuckle at the addition of the line "He says 'I'm sorry but I'm out of KY jelly'".
- Johnny Cash corpses several times during the course of the At Folsom Prison album, most notably during "Dark as a Dungeon" in response to audience laughter.
- Prince inexplicably laughs while delivering a particularly dark lyric on the title track of "Sign "O" the Times", a Distinct Double Album not short on bleakness and disturbing imagery.
- Geto Boys, at the very end of "Trophy".
- De La Soul, "Potholes In My Lawn": Not in the song, actually, but in the music video... Plug 2 (Dave aka Trugoy) cracks up in the middle of lip-synching his first verse.
- Nelly Furtado bursts out laughing a few times on her song "Saturdays", due to the enthusiastic and campy backup singing Jarvis Church provides... in a goofy falsetto.
- P!nk causes this on the title track of M!ssundaztood, constantly grunting and groaning at the end, prompting one of the producers to ask her if she's filming an Ex-Laxx commercial.
- BECK's "Corvette Bummer" ends with a seemingly improvised list of Noodle Implements, which goes unfinished when he's unable to control his laughter.
- Mike Majewski missed close to half of an entire song while trying to hold back laughter when Chris "Captain Piss" Andrews first wore the infamous horse mask onstage.
- The hosts of The Mark & Brian Program made it a point not to pre-record their sketches precisely because they understood the entertainment value of their frequently corpsing as they performed live on the air.
- Getting Jack Benny to corpse was easy. In one instance, it may have resulted in one of the contenders for "longest audience laugh" on the show (the other one being the legendary "Your money or your life?" "I'm thinking it over!" exchange). Don Wilson early on in the episode in question flubbed the name of famed newscaster Drew Pearson, calling him "Dreer Pooson". Later, during an unrelated murder-mystery sketch, Frank J. Nelson (otherwise known as the "yeeeeeeeeeeeeeeees?" guy ad-libbed during the following exchange:
Benny: Are you the doorman?
Nelson: Who do you think I am — Dreer Pooson? (Benny collapsed in a heap laughing, falling off the stage in hysterics.)
- Tom and Ray burst into laughter many, many times in every single episode of Car Talk.
- The News Quiz has a tradition of getting Radio 4 newsreaders to sit in and read out newspaper cuttings sent in by listeners, which regularly leads to this, the best and most frequent example being Charlotte Green. This will often be far funnier than the actual cutting in question, as there is something inherently funny about hearing one of the most precise, measured voices on radio breaking into fits of uncontrollable giggling. This would often cause Green to start laughing all over again leading to 5 minutes plus (on a 30 minute show) just of Charlotte laughing.
- Ironically, part of the charm of Pete Holmes' stand-up is that he allows himself to laugh at his own jokes, and invokes this trope multiple times per show, and in most non-standup things he does. Most people would think this would detract from their effect, but it only adds relatability.
- Martyn Green recounted a performance of Gilbert and Sullivan's H.M.S. Pinafore that was interrupted when a sudden loud orchestral chord in the number "Carefully On Tiptoe Stealing" startled a theater cat, which ran screaming across the stage. The cast might have been able to recover and carry on with the show, if only the next two lines hadn't been:
CHORUS: "Goodness me, why what was that?"
DICK DEADEYE: "Silent be, it was the cat!"
- And cue complete cast corpsing.
- A Very Potter Senior Year: Watch Darren Criss as Harry Potter Hagrid bounces him. There are times when he can barely get the words out.
- The play Oblomov is based on a Russian novel about a character who almost never leaves his bed, briefly has a romantic attack, finds out he's incapable of love and goes back to bed. Theatrical presentations would have necessarily been grim had it not been for the most famous presentation casting Spike Milligan as the lead. Milligan proceeded to act up to such an extent that they renamed it Son of Oblomov, and apparently considered it his job to try and corpse his fellow actors whenever possible. Only one - Joan Greenwood - managed to keep her dignity intact despite Milligan doing things like rowing the bed offstage with an imaginary oar or - on one occasion - conscripting the Boulting Brothers (twin filmmakers) to sit in the bed with him for the entire play.
- Rik Mayall and Ade Edmonson are infamous for their corpsing in the Bottom live shows.
- This happened a lot during Kristin Chenoweth's final performance on Wicked.
- Picture it: a tense scene during the second act of Wicked, when Fiyero has his gun trained on the Wizard, Glinda and Elphaba are both telling him to flee, and he admits he loves her and is going to go with her. Cue a little girl in the audience going "Yay!"—clear as a bell and quite loud in the silence. Everyone in the theater busted up—and while the actors were quite professional and did not break character or the scene, the actress playing Elphaba was visibly struggling not to burst out laughing, and giggles were in fact audible. Unsurprisingly, the same was true of Glinda's actress.
- The "toss-toss" near the end of "Popular" usually has the actresses breaking down into laughter with the audience.
- David Tennant and Catherine Tate in the final performances of Much Ado About Nothing seemed to make it their mission to get each other to do this. At one point, during Benedick's monologue following the scene in which he is tricked into believing Beatrice is in love with him, a member of the audience said "Yes!" following the line "Love me? Why it must be requited". David Tennant stopped and laughed before walking over and performing the rest of the speech to the audience member, pausing to allow him to answer "Yes" or "No" to the questions. When Catherine Tate walked on stage, she was clearly trying not to laugh. Later in the play when Beatrice agrees to marry Benedick, the two actors kissed for so long and in such an over the top fashion that the entire cast were visibly having to stifle their laughter.
- Jessica Chastain told a story about while performing The Heiress on Broadway, during a kissing scene with Dan Stevens an audience member's cell phone went off right at the moment they kissed, with a ringtone that sounded uncannily like a musical cue. Jessica had to grab Dan and extend the kiss because she was shaking from having to hold back her laughter.
- It seems to be the mission in life of the actors in the London version of Spamalot to get each other to do this.
- This supposedly happened in Lunacharsky State Institute for Theater Arts in Moscow, Russia around 1980. After some conflict students decided to prank their tutor, who combined teaching with acting in theater. He was reading a long and serious monologue in some 19th century drama, at some point opened a wardrobe (the insides of which were not visible to the audience) and saw a naked butt of a student. Being a seasoned professional the tutor continued his monologue without a flinch. But the students were persistent and started taking turns mooning him from the wardrobe. A month later they gave up. When the tutor did not see a usual naked butt during his next performance, he broke his monologue with laughter and could only say "Where's the ass?!"
- Furry rant show 2 Sense featured the hosts learning about an Ax-Crazy lunatic writing a Narm-tastic poem called "I Ruined Your Face." The hosts, 2 and Jibba, couldn't stop laughing about it, and jokes about it through the rest of the episode sent them both into hysterics. If that wasn't enough, footage from after the show was over proved that they'd actually been holding back. Watch it here.
- Ashens normally keeps a perfect British Stiff Upper Lip, but he has lost it on camera once or twice. One notable time was when he discovered that one of the games in his Pop Station was titled "Chanticleer Hegemony." Another time, when he discovered that the knockoff iPhone he was reviewing had an old-fashion television aerial, he laughed so hard he had to cut the recording.
- The Angry Video Game Nerd
- James released a Hilarious Outtakes video for his Crazy Castle review in which he struggles to keep a straight face during the "muck spread" rant.
- In episode three of Cinemassacre Mailbag, he received a letter from a writer on the blog Fight Hard Yeah! As is the case on the blog, the letter was filled with horrible Engrish. The last line of the letter was so terrible that it caused James to burst into laughter. He couldn't say the line without laughing. See here.
- His review of The Wizard of OZ on SNES. When Mike Mattei shows up in a lion costume hyper-actively ranting about things like 'wiping his ass with his tail', you can see James literally straining to keep from laughing. Take a look.
- When he reviewed the Toxic Avenger games, James is visibly struggling to hold back laughing at Lloyd Kaufman's audacious and crude antics.
- Doug Walker does this during the Top 10 Movies He Hates but Everyone Else Loves. As he describes the increasingly ridiculous plot of Signs, he continues to grin more and more until he finally admits that he needs to watch the movie again as he might actually like it. Turns out he doesn't.
- Obscurus Lupa, she of crude humor, made highbrow Oancitizen corpse constantly in their crossover review of Hamlet The Vampire Slayer. This led to her mocking him over having been in film school but not being able to keep a straight face, her giving him tips on it, and him begging her to stop being funny and at one point exclaiming "This person! This person is just like hitting me at certain points in my - neurons and just making me burst out laughing and I don't know how she's doing it, but it's pinpoint! And it's uncontrollable and it's - I'm never working with you again." "Pinky promise!"
- The Nostalgia Chick and Todd in the Shadows
- In their comparison video of Sleepless In Seattle and When Harry Met Sally, you can see her fighting not to crack up when he says "Sleepless In Seattle made my balls shrivel" and later ranting at a Sleepless character who just lets his fiancee break up with him.
- You can also see her fighting off a smirk at the end of Todd's "NOW KIIIIIIISS!" bit from the From Justin To Kelly review.
- Their review of Crossroads cuts to the credits just as Lindsay is about to laugh at Todd ordering her to leave his house.
- LittleKuriboh did a Vagina Monologue remake of the first episode of Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series. He did it all in one cut and makes it about half way through before he broke into a fit of laughter.
- Homestar Runner has an in-universe example of this in "Videography." Strong Bad is trying to create an advertisement for his video editing service with a straight face, but when he starts listing occasions that would make good videos, and gets to "droopy drawers", accompanied by a picture of his younger brother's low-riding underwear, but cannot continue without chuckling.
- Mook on Epic Meal Time is prone to corpsing when Harley is on camera. Examples include the Gentlemen Beef Wellington, and Candy Sushi episodes.
- In almost every set of Hilarious Outtakes for Red vs. Blue, there's at least one of Matt Hullum (Sarge, Doc, and Wyoming's voice actor) cracking up in the middle of his lines, not only because they're usually hilarious, but also because he often doesn't read them before recording.
- In the bloopers for a crossover review with other European reviewers, Film Brain starts laughing and cannot stop for over four minutes. Eventually the others have him cover his eyes and pretend he's crying, so they can keep filming while he's in utter hysterics.
- During Retsupurae's Crappy Pasta videos, slowbeef and Diabetus are both prone to cracking up during the worst parts. In Slowbeef's House of Horror: Recipe of Death, there's a couple of outtakes where slowbeef burst into laughter when trying to read it.
- Jack (understandably) does this quite often In Jacks Films' "Your Grammar Sucks" series. People are ''supposed'' to send him comments that are filled with horrible grammar, and as one can imagine, they're often pretty darn funny on their own, even without Jack's dramatic reading of them. He even ended up turning it into a drinking game.note
- On one episode of Red Letter Media's "Best Of The Worst", none of the panelists can get through a list of Nick Millard's films without cracking up.
- Happened to Madeleine Peters (Scootaloo) in episode 18 of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic during the cringe-worthy rendition of the Cutie Mark Crusaders' Theme Song. It's hard to catch because it's somewhat covered up by a fan.
- Voice actor giants Frank Welker and Peter Cullen got in on this during the run of The Transformers, though it was one-sided (and amusingly, instigated by the one who played the evil leader). Apparently one of Frank's goals while playing Megatron was "to get Peter to laugh water out of his nose."
- Batman: The Animated Series had the memorable episode "The Man Who Killed Batman", where Joker holds a funeral for his rival, complete with Harley Quinn playing Amazing Freaking Grace on a kazoo. Harley's voice actress Arleen Sorkin actually did the kazoo herself, and reportedly they had to do this bit (and Joker's follow-up line "Well that was fun! Who's up for Chinese?") in one take because the entire cast was laughing too hard to try again.
- The legendary Thunder Cats Blooper Reel has several instances of the actors cracking up mid-line, such as Panthro's actor breaking down during a long string of Techno Babble to remark "What the fuck am I even saying?!"
- Daria had a moment which didn't occur in the show itself, but on one of the six answering machine message tapes given to fan C.E. Forman during MTV's Cool Crap Auction in 1999, which were personalized and read by Daria herself. The third one ("Hey, it's Daria Morgendorffer. Whenever I'm in Peoria, I like to answer Chris's phone calls. It's how I get my jollies. How do you get yours?") had Tracy Grandstaff (Daria) laughing while saying "Peoria".
- Ever watch a war movie where there's always the one guy who starts giggling uncontrollably when Drill Sergeant Nasty is in his face? That happens in real life. All the time. Inappropriate laughter is a fairly common reaction to stress. There's a reason many scoldings will include the line "wipe that smile off your face".
- Marine Corps Drill Instructors will actively TRY to get recruits to corpse, typically by shouting incredibly outlandish threats, to either a) help the recruit practice to hold his/her bearing, or b) give the DI an excuse to punish the recruit or platoon. They also aren't immune to corpsing themselves. That's why they wear such big hats.
- This is actually known as a "grin of fear" and is believed to be holdover from early in our evolution, since many primates similarly display this characteristic whenever frightened or stressed.
- Blood stain pattern analysis classes (or sometimes, Interview and Interrogation classes) involving photos of actual, altogether gory crime scenes. Fits of giggles all around. Though some students might be expecting to be told that the entire spiel regarding the background of that particular crime scene was made up, and are just waiting for the teacher to break character (they don't; Interview and Interrogation students then get to watch the video of the killer's interrogation).
- Anyone who's ever done live theater can attest to this. It's not that something is funny, it just happens. One of the points of rehearsals is try and get it all out of your system so you don't do it during the show itself. Of course, getting it out of your system during rehearsal only helps so much. Sometimes the audience reaction only makes things worse. Especially if you have someone especially loud in the front row who cackles like a chicken at every joke. And, of course, things can still go hilariously wrong during the performance....
- Multiple times, this happens at band rehearsal. When you're standing at attention for five minutes while one squad is fixed, someone's bound to break out in hysterics.
- Anyone who's ever been in a silent classroom - perhaps doing an exam or having to work without speaking.
- Or a church during the sermon or silent prayers/meditation.
- Or, if you’re Israeli, you’ve probably seen some arsim/frekhot laughing at your school’s memorial service for fallen soldiers and victims of terrorism during the Israeli Memorial Daynote or for the Holocaust during the Israeli Holocaust Memorial Day. School staff is often very unamused.
- Believe it or not, this is how Elisabeth Sladen met her husband. She was making her first stage appearance at the Liverpool Playhouse - as a corpse, naturally - when a certain young actor, playing the doctor, whispered "respiration nil, Aston Villa two" into her ear. That actor's name was Brian Miller, and she married him three years later.
- You'll occasionally run across a news anchor who can't keep a straight face while delivering grim and gory news reports. Although in the case of this news story, it'd be hard for anyone not to laugh after seeing the crazy-eyed picture of the accused murderer. This one must have been particularly embarrassing for the anchor, who started giggling at his picture while describing how he dismembered his victim.
- On that note, it's often very hard for anchors to keep a straight face when a suspect has a funny mugshot. Something similar happened during a news report on the Aurora Colorado movie theater shooter, whose mugshot was seen grinning dementedly like something out of a cartoon.
- This famous Russian (subtitled) video. Of course, it's nigh-impossible to read "a marijuana plantation guarded by 13 black bears" without going into a fit of laughter.
- Amongst skippers on the Jungle Cruise at Disneyland, this is a game called "Drop the Mic": try to get someone to break so badly that they can't continue spieling and have to put down the microphone. Occasionally results in people falling into the river if you do it to someone on the dock who isn't paying enough attention.
- A Brazilian news reporter started laughing while reporting this (particularly when the culprit says she thought the smuggled ecstasy was Viagra). In a bit of Self-Deprecation, a few years later she saw the clip again during an interview.
- Anyone, maybe even you, who has heard that really good joke the other day, and now remembers it when they are in public, waiting for the bus or walking down the road. Cue every other passerby staring at them as they try to hide your sudden inexplicble burst of grinning.
- Human nature being what it is, this is also especially likely to occur during quiet or solemn moments such as funerals.
- Try playing "Park bench," in which the entire point is to sit beside one of your friends, and act out a routine or do shenanigans, all in order to make the subject laugh, or even just smile.
- Isaac Asimov did this while defending his Ph.D. dissertation when one of his examiners asked a question relating to one of his fictional stories.