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Stephen Colbert tries to keep a straight face.note 
"Christmas means many things to many people. To some, Christmas means glittering lights, gaily wrapped gifts. That's right, sounds of laughter and good cheer. To the folks at Preparation H— [laughs] means a time to pause for a few— [laughs] ...a few moments to— [laughs] give thanks to their friends, who've been so— [collapses into helpless laughter] ...kind and generous!"
Gary Owens, caught off guard at realizing the sponsor of the ad that he was reading was a hemorrhoid cream

"Corpsing" (also called "breaking") 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, as corpses don't cry either — usually).

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 Robert De Niro 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. And if somebody happens to have Contagious Laughter, you're in real trouble.

It's rare to see extras corpsing in the background. The main cast can get away with corpsing without being fired because they're too important to easily replace. But if they manage to get through a take without laughing, and then an extra ruins the scene by laughing in the background, that extra will probably be let go on the spot and blacklisted from future projects. The constant threat of being instantly fired does wonders to help one keep one's composure.

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. Opposite of The Stoic; see also Not So Stoic. When this happens on an In-Universe show, it's a subtrope of The Show Must Go Wrong. Compare Holding in Laughter, when characters In-Universe struggle to keep a straight face, and Angrish, when it's anger that prevents someone from speaking coherently.

When the hapless individual actually is trying to play a corpse, this can overlap with The Living Dead.

Has nothing to do with Joker's laughing gas that makes people laugh to death (although some overlap is surely imaginable).

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Other examples

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  • One GEICO commercial depicts their gecko mascot attempting to do a commercial but repeatedly messing up his lines or laughing.
  • In the Canadian A&W "Two for One Mama Burger" 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.
  • In the Pepsi commercial with Ozzy Osbourne where his kids Jack and Kelly turn into Donny and Marie Osmond, if you look closely Donny can be seen trying to contain his laughter; that part was removed in some airings.
  • This is the whole idea behind Twizzler's "You Can't Be Serious With Twizzlers" campaign. Someone is shown trying to keep a straight face while a Twizzler is used to tickle their nose until they start laughing.
  • The infamous Baby Laugh-a-Lot commercial ends with the narrator reduced to hysterical laughter as he announces the toy's name and company.
  • An advertisement for Feastables' "Deez Nuts" chocolate bar has Mr. Beast almost laughing when he says "Go to right now, if you want some nuts in your mouth".

    Anime & Manga 
  • Tsuruya plays what should be a zombie in Haruhi Suzumiya's budget-free alleged film, but she's barely struggling not to laugh as she shambles at Mikuru.
  • This is Chihaya's reaction to Haruka's epic failure at opening a cardboard box, as depicted in The Idolmaster. For the uninitiated: Chihaya is normally The Stoic, and the entire scene is based on a real event that happened during a net show hosted by the two characters' voice actresses.
  • In the dub of Kaguya-sama: Love Is War, the narrator, played by Ian Sinclair, cracks up a bit on a few instances, most notably when Shirogane completely misinterprets Kaguya's question of what type of underwear he prefers wearing.
  • The Knight Hunters Hilarious Outtakes involve the dub actors cracking up midline at the show's ridiculous plot points. Rachael Lillis starts screaming with laughter after witnessing her character's boyfriend's sudden death when a car falls on him from a bridge above, and continues giggling and mocking the incident the whole way through the eye-catch and into the next scene. She actually syncs up her giggling with the character's Big "NO!", as well.
  • Played with in one episode of My Hero Academia, in which the corpsing of a seemingly-dead villain (played by All Might) during a training exercise turns out to actually have been a hint that the villain was Not Quite Dead, and not genuine corpsing. The protagonists fail the exercise as a result and are flabbergasted that the faculty would play a trick like that.
    • During one of the OVA, where the students do rescue training, Uraraka is supposed to be "unconscious" while Iida plays a hysterical civilian. Iida's acting is so over the top that Uraraka struggles to hold her laughter in the whole time, Spit Take included.
  • In My Mental Choices Are Completely Interfering with My School Romantic Comedy, Joji Nakata plays the Lemony Narrator and sometimes chuckles as he reads his absurd lines. They roll with it, as it reinforces how he mocks the Butt-Monkey protagonist.
  • Similarly, the outtakes for Berserk (1997) have the dub actors flubbing lines and going along. One instance involves Casca's actress whispering something, then immediately bursting out laughing at her own delivery.
  • My Dress-Up Darling: When Marin asks Gojo to take her a few photos with the Shizuku-tan cosplay, she can't help but smile or laugh involuntarily, since she's barely able to keep her excitement at being able to cosplay for the first time.

  • 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.
  • Carlos Mencia has a habit of laughing mid-punchline when he's on a roll, nearly ruining the joke on occasion.
  • It's also a standard of Jeremy Hotz's routine. He uses odd posture and his right hand to stifle his laughter at his own jokes. It works because his routine is filled to the brim with humiliating situations and Black Comedy it makes him look less like he's laughing and more like he's about to cry.
  • Red Skelton was also famous for laughing at his own jokes. See an example here.
  • Eddie Izzard, Vic Reeves and Harry Enfield did a retelling of the "Four Yorkshiremen" skit that more or less devolved into a competition to make the others corpse through improvisation and intentionally terrible Yorkshire accents. By the end, the only one able to keep a straight face was Alan Rickman.
  • On Hudson & Landry's Ajax Liquor Store, the store clerk starts to corpse when the inebriated customer on the phone proceeds to read his address, only the gag there was he was reading his order.
  • Somehow, Jeff Dunham's puppets manage to crack him up while his dummies keep a straight face.
  • Taskmaster
    • Greg often corpses when trying to keep in-character as the mean, arrogant, and narcissistic Taskmaster, so much so that he'll often struggle not to laugh when ego-tripping. A great example of this is Series 5, Episode 5, when he tries to describe the Taskmaster trophy as "an overtly sensual statue" — he shudders trying to hold in a laugh while doing so, which makes the audience burst out laughing, and because of that he can't help but have a big goofy grin on his face and keeps struggling not to laugh until the camera's off of him. Then, not five minutes later, he learns Mark Watson stole his pants for his entry as "the most high-octane item" — all he can manage in reaction is stunned silence before completely breaking character and bursting out in laughter, much to the delight of all the other comedians.
    • While Alex normally plays the role of The Comically Serious and Straight Man to the various comedians during their tasks, you definitely see him struggling to hide a big grin at times. Probably the most difficult time he ever had was when Liza Tarbuck forced him to drop his pants and sit on a cake. While he does a valiant job keeping a straight face describing how "it was so... in him", her reaction is enough to make him briefly break character and begin laughing as the camera cuts away.

    Fan Works 

    Films — Animation 
  • While recording lines together for Aladdin, Robin Williams's antics caused Scott Weinger to have to excuse himself from the recording booth to laugh his balls off.
    Scott: All right, how do I look?
    Robin: Like a vampire on a day pass.
    Scott: (immediately covers his mouth and doubles over in an attempt to muffle his laughter)
  • Happens in the Animated Outtakes of A Bug's Life with Atta unable to keep a straight face while Hopper does his "Are you saying I'm stupid? Do I look stupid to you?" line, resulting in them having to re-take the scene repeatedly and culminating in her shrieking "YES!" before utterly cracking up.
    Hopper: This is the 15th take, I cannot work like this. I will be in my trailer.
    Atta: I need a break.
  • During the live-action scene near the end of Yellow Submarine, you can see Paul McCartney trying to suppress laughter just as John Lennon hammily delivers his first line.
  • In Dingo Pictures' adaptation of The Bremen Town Musicians, you can audibly hear the voice actors struggling not to laugh every time they have to say "poo".

  • In Bram Stoker's Dracula, Van Helsing suffers a case of this thanks to unintentional irony at Lucy Westenra's funeral. He just barely holds it together until he makes it into a carriage when he breaks out into hysterics in front of a grieving Dr. Seward, who is decidedly not amused. As he explains the phenomenon:
    Van Helsing: Keep it always with you that laughter who knock at your door and say, "May I come in?" is not the true laughter. No! he is a king, and he come when and how he like. He ask no person; he choose no time of suitability. ...even at such a moment, King Laugh, he come to me and shout and bellow in my ear "Here I am! here I am! is a strange world, a sad world, a world full of miseries, and woes, and troubles; and yet when King Laugh come he make them all dance to the tune he play.
  • In his travel book Letters from England, Karel Čapek mentions he unsuccessfully tried to be quiet and grave in a quiet and grave traditional English club, only to burst out laughing at one point. He says it provoked no reaction whatsoever from the other gentlemen in the club, which was a very disconcerting experience.
  • A meta-example for The Eye of Argon: It's a popular game at SF conventions for people to take turns reading from the infamously Narm-filled book out loud, complete with Purple Prose, Rouge Angles of Satin, and Delusions of Eloquence all pronounced exactly as written, to see who can last the longest before breaking down into laughter. It's considered quite an achievement to last more than a page. Variations of the game may be played with the works of Amanda McKittrick Ros or William Topaz Mc Gonnagall.
  • In Paladin of Souls, Ista is believed by her captors to be dead, with good reason. When she revives, her rescuers decide that the best way to get her out is for her to continue to play dead. At one point, she has trouble suppressing a smile, with a mental note that smiling would be rather out of character for her current role.
  • Wings of Fire: In the first book, as the dragonets reenact the start of the SandWing Secession War, Sunny plays the role of Queen Oasis, whose death started the twenty-year war. She's supposed to just lie there, but the antics of her friends (especially seeing Starflight dully act like Blaze) makes her start laughing.
  • In Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, during Dumbledore's funeral, Harry began cracking up as he remembered Dumbledore's silly pre-feast speech in Philosopher's Stone.
  • Carrie has a tragic example. When the pig's blood is poured on Carrie at the prom, most of the other kids are horrified. But they start laughing out of nervousness — Norma Watson later writing that it was a form of Laughing Mad from the horror of the situation. Carrie, however, interprets this as everyone laughing at her misfortune... and does not take it well.
  • The Locked Tomb:
    • Gideon the Ninth: Dulcinea has a habit of laughing at inappropriate moments, especially when talking to Gideon about how she (Dulcinea) would prefer to die. "Dulcinea" is actually an immortal Lyctor who has been dying for ten thousand years, and she's the one killing everyone in the book. So yes, she's laughing about how everyone is trying to find the killer and ignoring the poor girl with cancer.
    • Harrow the Ninth: In Harrow's last Elseworld, she specifically notes that Jeannemary looks like she's trying not to laugh; Harrow doesn't understand why. Jeannemary is in fact the actual soul of the dead woman, who Harrow unconsciously summoned to fill a role in the alternate reality she built up. Harrow summoned a bunch of ghosts to act out her Coffee Shop AU Fic centered around her crush. It's no wonder Jeannemary can barely keep it together. Jeannemary's necromancer Isaac, on the other hand, is clearly trying to just flatly get through his lines as fast as possible.

  • The Co-Optional Podcast:
    • This is often bound to occur, particularly when there have been moments where Jesse Cox would attempt to make the relatively stoic TotalBiscuit crack.
    • An early instance occurred in TGS Podcast #10 where during the middle of the discussion, a woman enters Jesse's room and starts cleaning the shelf behind him. Jesse promptly loses it (albeit silently) and points her out causing TB and Dodger to start dying with the latter leaning out of frame to compose herself while JonTron sits there oblivious to it for a good fifteen seconds. He finally notices and starts laughing just after Dodger gets a hold of herself and leans back into frame causing her to start again. Finally after the woman leaves only to come back moments later causing Jesse to turn his webcam off and the others start laughing all over again. It's a full minute and a half of continued laughter from all four of them and a shining example of how contagious TB, Jesse, and Dodger's laughter can be.
  • Cox n' Crendor: The two hosts tend to crack up in certain moments. One notable example involves Jesse, who was sick at the time, losing it at the mere mention of goat heads.
  • Heavy corpsing is a signature of productions from the McElroy Brothers, such as My Brother, My Brother and Me, or works that Griffin does with fellow Polygon employee Nick Robinson such as Car Boys.
    • Monster Factory involves hosts Justin and Griffin McElroy screwing with the character editors of video games to make the most ridiculous-looking avatars possible... typically followed by at least one of them losing it over the results.
    • One of the more obvious moments is when the boys are "attempting" to create Bart Simpson in Black Desert Online, and Griffin starts repeating that their super-buff, asymmetrical, boss-eyed, distorted, molten character is "just like Bart" while Justin laughs powerlessly in the background for literally minutes.
    • A more straight example occurs during the Reunion Tour-interlude of The Adventure Zone. Merle (Clint) and Taako (Justin) are tasked with convincing Lucretia to let them into her office unguarded in order to find the second Voidfish. Merle begins a passionate speech about the loss of Magnus (who's still alive), and how many great times they had in Lucretia's office, just the three of them, alone. During the entire speech, Justin can be heard desperately trying not to laugh, eventually interrupting the speech to clarify that he's not laughing in-game before breaking into hysterics. Even then, the next thing Taako says comes out in a fit of giggles.
  • Since the podcast episodes are recordings from a live stage show, The Thrilling Adventure Hour has its share of corpsing during shows. The most famous example would be the episode "The Thing From This Same Planet," a Sparks Nevada episode where faithful Martian companion Croach the Tracker (played by Mark Gagliardi) is being impersonated by Jupiter spy Jib Janeen (voiced by Paul F. Tompkins). Tompkins' comments when Sparks Nevada is singing the theme song causes Sparks' actor Marc Evan Jackson to crack up mid-song.
  • LoadingReadyRun's podcast Qwerpline is mostly improvised, though with edits and re-takes for timing and clarity. (The crew calls it "scriptovised".) If a particular gag makes the crew bust out, they'll keep the take of them cracking up in before cutting back to the show.
  • Mom Can't Cook!: Frequently, considering the amount of bizarre storytelling and incompetent production the hosts observe, to say nothing of the wild alternative interpretations they read into the plots. However, Luke has a series of quite spectacular laughter explosions during A Ring of Endless Light, particularly during discussions of the "Bear Tambourine Circle" and the "Eyeless Planet".
  • Red Panda Adventures: In "The World Next Door" the Red Panda attempts to hypnotize Baboon McSmoothie into providing valuable information. It seems to work, only for McSmoothie to reveal he was only pretending when he starts cracking up because he can't keep a straight face.
  • RiffTrax: Subverted. The Riffers don't really make an effort to hide the fact that they're laughing when they do.
  • The staff at Rooster Teeth are notoriously prone to breaking and giggling while talking, especially on their podcasts. In fact, if a particular moment on the RT Podcast or Off Topic is particularly hilarious, even their Broadcast department, especially podcast producer Eric, can also be heard cackling along. Eric has since become a regular presence on the RT podcast and F**kface because of his frequent interjections and hysterical cackle. It's gotten to the point where on Face Jam, audio engineer Nick became a sidekick in his own right because he constantly burst into hysterical laughter during recording.
  • The Letters Page, the lore and backstory podcast for Sentinels of the Multiverse, is mostly pretty improvisational and the hosts cracking up occasionally isn't unexpected, but a particularly notable one happens in the KNYFE episode. When they're talking about the arc in their fictional comics company where KNYFE goes to space in pursuit of the flying head of the monster Progeny, Christopher Badell says that the miniseries is called Headhunter, and the next few seconds of the recording are just Adam Rebottaro quietly losing it.

    Puppet Shows 
  • Jim Henson's first major television gig was performing segments as Rowlf the Dog on The Jimmy Dean Show. If you watch the segments now, it's pretty much impossible to find one where Rowlf's antics don't have Jimmy falling on the floor laughing. The funniest instance is one bit where Rowlf is a prisoner and Jimmy has to free him. There's a blackout, supposedly triggered by Jimmy to let Rowlf escape, and the idea was that Jimmy would reappear in Rowlf's cell in prisoner stripes. The lights came back on... and Jimmy hadn't finished putting on the costume. The funny part wasn't just Jimmy burying his face in his hands; it was the fact that Jim Henson clearly couldn't keep it together and was slipping in and out of Rowlf's voice due to laughing so hard.
  • Subverted whole-hog on The Muppet Show where Statler and Waldorf and the cast of "Veterinarian's Hospital" usually laugh at their own wisecracks and you can't help but laugh along.
    • In her guest appearance, Rita Moreno is clearly struggling not to laugh while dealing with a misbehaving Animal during their performance of the song "Fever".
    • In Valerie Harper's episode, the Swedish Chef throwing spice around and failing to hit the cake he's trying to decorate is soundtracked by Richard Hunt laughing his ass off.
  • Occasionally happens on Sesame Street: in this bit, you can clearly hear Jim Henson laughing when Kermit tells Grover to pick up the piano.
  • The blooper reel for Muppets Most Wanted consists mostly of Ricky Gervais laughing his ass off. He even gets mocked by Walter.
  • Similarly, a blooper reel for a Wired video starring Cookie Monster and John Oliver as news anchors revealed most of the shoot was just Cookie getting Oliver to lose it. At least once, though, after Cookie remarks that he found a vintage '80s cookie crumb in his fur, Oliver's reply ("That was in the good old days before the FDA regulated it") makes Cookie's performer David Rudman giggle.
  • A 2016 blooper for CBBC (the children's BBC) puppet presenter Hacker T Dog making copresenter Lauren Layfield absolutely lose it with an in-joke went viral in 2022. "We're just normal men... we're just innocent men!"

    Web Animation 

    Real Life 
  • 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".
    • The United States Air Force has a very ingenious, but equally hilarious way of testing the resolve of their recruits so that they keep composure during public events. The Drill Master walks up behind them with a rubber chicken and squeezes it to see if the recruit will corpse.
    • Indiana University Police Academy also uses the rubber chicken test on their cadets.
    • 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 holding their 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.
    • Can also be used, as ironic as it sounds, to actually LIGHTEN the mood during certain parts of boot camp. In some situations (particularly in later phases of boot camp, when the recruits are more respected by the drill instructors), D.Is may increase their use of "comedic" hazing of recruits for nothing more than a brief easing of the mood, and some platoon lore to bounce around among recruits. Can also help to build camaraderie.
    • This is actually known as a "grin of fear" and is believed to be a holdover from early in our evolution since many primates similarly display this characteristic whenever frightened or stressed.
  • Bloodstain 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 to 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.
  • 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.
    • 20/20: Following the verdict in the Lorena Bobbitt case, Barbara Walters, Hugh Downs, and Ted Koppel all completely lost it after Ted's presumably unintentional pun of "It cuts both ways". It got so bad that they had to cut to a commercial. When it came back, they appeared to have calmed down, only for them to barely keep it together during the "goodnights" before losing it again just before it cut to the ending credits.
  • Other times, some news reports are just inherently ridiculous that it's hard for the news anchors to not laugh.
    • This famous Russian (subtitled) video. Of course, it's nigh-impossible to read "a marijuana plantation guarded by 13 black bears (along with a dog, a pig, and a raccoon)" without going into a fit of laughter.
    • This anchor just couldn't hold it together as she reads the story about a rather large cat forced to take swimming lessons.
    • Another anchor was utterly destroyed by a disabled pig's Punny Name (also a case of A Pig Named "Porkchop") that he practically begs someone else to read it.
  • 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.
  • During the absolutely silent, very tense cable drop sequence where Ethan Hunt breaks into a CIA vault at Langley in Mission: Impossible, many a crowded cinema had one small noise of stifled laughter set off most of the audience.
  • 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 a sudden inexplicable burst of giggles and/or grinning.
    • Human nature being what it is, this is also especially likely to occur during quiet or solemn moments such as funerals.
    • Similarly, if you listen to a funny song on your iPod and start grinning/laughing, people will look at you weird, especially if they don't realize you have headphones in.
      • And you should never listen to a podcast in public. Especially when you're sitting face-to-face with someone in public transport.
  • 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 (written as a parody of a peer-reviewed journal article). The story was supposed to be published under a pseudonym, but the publisher slipped up and attached his real name to the piece.
  • During the 2003 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, Katie Couric briefly does this when she spots her own daughter on one of the floats. ("Who is that cute little girl?") This is followed by the other presenters breaking into audible laughter. The parade has had its share of this, depending on the number of wisecracks the hosts pull at each other. For instance, Katie had to go through this literally all the time when trying to put up with Willard Scott's antics when they hosted together from 1991-97. Nowadays, the corpsing only happens when Al Roker is in the booth.
  • This poor weatherman had the misfortune to fart just before coming back from commercial, setting him giggling helplessly and the other newscasters snickering. After enduring some ribbing from the other anchors, he managed to regain his composure just long enough to read the forecast: "Winds coming out of the south with cloudy skies the rest of the day." At which point everyone in the entire studio collapsed in hysterics.
  • In a similar vein, future Today weatherman Willard Scott once went into a fit of laughter due to an unfortunately timed audio clip when he was about to introduce a radio news broadcast in The '60s (as told by a radio person who used to work with him).
    There was an engineer, Arthur Semmig, who would put together sound effects and crazy audio-sketches at his little home studio before he came in to work the Joy Boys [Willard's popular radio comedy with Ed Walker] in the evening. Arthur had a tape of Colonel Sanders (KFC), and on occasion, Arthur would play parts of the tape as a reaction to what was on the air at the time.
    In those days Willard was the announcer for the NBC Radio News intros. One night there was a local Ford dealer spot which ended with a sexy female voice, saying "and tell them I sent you." The engineer (Arthur) was then supposed to open Willard's mike for the NBC Network Radio News intro — instead he opened a switch where the Colonel's tape was still running, and (heard only locally following the sexy voice) was: "And it's finger-lickin' good, folks!"
    Now Willard was trying to introduce the news and he was laughing as you have never heard him laugh. Then newsman Dave Rush begins to laugh because he also heard the local audio. If you were anywhere else in the country listening to NBC news, you hadn't heard the local spot or the Colonel, all you heard was Willard and Dave laughing almost out-of-control. They never did regain any composure. It was the funniest newscast I had ever heard...
  • Miami Hurricanes vs. Virginia Cavaliers, November 2014. "Nothing says college like singing Journey while holding onto a goose." Cue the trope by announcers Joe Tessitore and Brock Huard.
  • Another sports narration moment was an NHL game where the announcers commented that a player was hit in the "wee knee".
  • Mike Judge has said that one of his inspirations for Beavis and Butt-Head was hearing some classmates giggle when the priest said "eat this" during Communion at his Catholic high school's Graduation Mass.
  • Speaking of church, this web posting claims that the author cracked up during a hymn when the words "Very God" reminded them of the Doge meme.
  • Ceremonial guards such as the Queen's Guard at Buckingham Palace are trained and drilled rigorously to maintain an absolutely stoic demeanor whatever is happening around them. That said, they're only human so it is sometimes just possible to get one of them to break up if you really make an effort, as this guy discovered
  • At the 2013 San Diego Comic-Con, Tom Hiddleston showed up in full costume and character as Loki, lapping up the attention from his rather vocal fanbase without breaking character... Until a random guy in the crowd yelled: "My wife loves you!" Cue Tom trying desperately not to crack up laughing and instead just grinning like a maniac. Of course, being a maniacal grin, the end result is actually very in character. This guy (or someone imitating him anyway) came back at another panel, shouting "My wife still loves you!" which resulted in the same thing as before.
  • Middle school sex education. It's physically impossible for a room full of 11 to 13-year-olds to keep a straight face when the word "vagina" is mentioned. The fact that (in the US, at least) sex education classes are typically done with the driest, most technical language possible seriously contributes to this.
  • Politician Keith Hill suffered a corpsing fit in the House of Commons whenever he had to say the phrase Short Sea Shipping.
  • When Ellen DeGeneres was interviewing Ben Affleck on her show, a Wonder Woman crossdresser popped out of a box to scare him. When Affleck is shown a replay of his reaction, he collapses into hysterical high-pitched giggles.
  • On a live broadcast Q13 News This Morning in Seattle, anchor Kaci Aitchison demonstrated a drawing app and tried to draw a cannon. It wound up looking too much like... something else. Hysterics ensued. The presenters tried bravely to carry on, but they were helpless.
  • Two anchors on Seattle's local Fox channel were reporting a story on a couple who had called 911 after consuming a large amount of "special" brownies and thinking they had overdosed. Neither anchor can keep a straight face, and one of them starts giggle-snorting when they're playing the recording.
  • One news anchor cracked up while reporting a person arrested for assault. Why? They were arrested FOR FARTING! The news anchor completely loses it as her cohost has to cover for her and then saying that the news story was "unfair".
  • During a broadcast of the NALCS, one of the casters made the comment that one player gave "a little lick in the bush" (while they meant Tahm Kench tentatively checking a bush for hidden enemies with his Overly-Long Tongue, the Accidental Innuendo here should be pretty obvious) proceeding to make his co-caster try his best to not laugh at the original caster as he comes to realize what he just said. They both eventually break, however.
  • Unquestionably the most famous case in Cricket commentating history happened on an episode of Test Match Special when, while reviewing the day's play, the commentators were discussing Ian Botham's dismissal where he was given out Hit Wicketnote  after overbalancing and unsuccessfully attempting to awkwardly hurdle the stumps instead. Commentator Johnathan Agnew quipped "He just didn't quite get his leg over,"note  and over the course of the next minute he and fellow commentator Brian Johnston slowly descended into hysterical giggles until they simply couldn't go on. According to The Other Wiki the incident caused a two-mile traffic jam due to drivers listening to the radio in their cars laughing too much to pay the toll at the Dartford Tunnel, and in 2005 BBC Radio 5 Live voted it the greatest sporting radio commentary of all time.
  • This happens all the time during improvised comedy performances. The nature of the format means that literally anything can, and often will, happen on stage. Unlike stand-up, where the comedians are reading from a prepared routine and already know what the jokes will be, improvisers usually have no clue what their scene partner will say or do and so it's much easier to be caught off guard. Often you'll find the performers laughing, both on stage and on the sidelines or backline, as much as the audience.
  • Mika Brzezinski had to leave the studio after she laughed about a gas attack in a furry convention. Her male colleagues also can't help but laugh at the absurdity of the situation.
  • Even the normally unflappable NASA controller Gene Kranz cracks a little at guidance officer Steve Bales' exuberant 'Go!' on the roll call of controllers when the Apollo 11 lunar lander was lining up for descent, despite the fact that Bales's distinctive delivery was known across the controller team - so well known, in fact, that the Press attending for the landing were briefed on it, to make sure they understood it wasn't any kind of problem, it was just Steve being Steve.
  • Subverted with "Sober Sue", a woman in the early 20th century who never laughed, ever. Her manager promised a hundred-dollar prize to anyone who could get to laugh (resulting in comedians performing for free in order to get the prize), without ever having to pay out. It's believed she'd suffered from paralyzed facial muscles, meaning she couldn't laugh if she'd wanted to.
  • J. R. R. Tolkien and C. S. Lewis, along with their group of friends, would occasionally all get together to host a friendly competition amongst themselves, where they would read aloud Irene Iddesleigh by Amanda McKittrick Ros and see who could get through it the longest without laughing. No easy feat, as Irene Iddesleigh is essentially the older literary counterpart to The Room (2003), being a story about a Destructive Romance featuring some of the most abundant, over-elaborate Purple Prose ever put to paper.
  • These news anchors lose it over a false bomb threat caused by someone telling others in a restroom to leave because he was "fixing to blow it up."
  • The Oath of Office taken by all state and local officials in Kentucky requires them to swear that that have never participated in a duel, and goes into great detail as to what exactly "participating" means, taking up half the oath by itself. Many officials have been seen trying, sometimes unsuccessfully, to stifle laughter when getting to this part of what is supposed to be a solemn ceremony.
  • Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen trying to explain to Parlament that the Government might have to buy a camel named Ali to keep Ramboline the Elephant happy. It Makes Sense in Context.
  • One of Kamala Harris's first acts after being sworn in as Vice President was to swear in three new Senators, including her own replacement. This required her to read a proclamation that "The chair lays before the Senate... a certificate of appointment to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of former senator Kamala D. Harris of California." Harris barely got through it before laughing (along with many others present) and saying "Yeah, that was weird."
  • During a televised hearing of the House Select Committee investigating the Capitol Riot of January 6th, 2021, the Committee was discussing the activities of Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO), when it showed security camera footage of him running away after protesters had broken through police and entered the Capitol. This triggered a sudden wave of laughter in the audience, and an equally sudden silence as they realized that a Congressional hearing is not the place to have the giggles.
  • CBS 2's Marie Saaveda, after reporting on a man apparently terrified of the squirrel that had accidentally ended up in his house, proceeded to be absolutely unable to compose herself in time for the weather report.
  • During an NFL game between the Seattle Seahawks and the New York Jets, Seahawks player disagreed with a referee's call that Jets quarterber Ryan Fitzpatrick didn't fumble. Thomas let the entire stadium know it, screaming at the ref "HIS HAND WAS GOING FORWARD!", which got picked up by the ref's microphone as he was explaining it to the stadium. The ref never gets back on the mic again to try to explain the call, and the accouncers promptly broke down laughing, as did the rest of the stadium.

Alternative Title(s): Corpsed


Willi Wakker

One of the many incidents of Bradley Walsh cracking up while reading a question

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5 (7 votes)

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