05 October, 2006

wikipedia is funny... but don't laugh too hard

One can lose literally hours (if not days) wandering the byzantine corridors of Wikipedia. Now, I'm fully aware that Wikipedia is merely a collection of the mass "knowledge" of computer geeks and Average-Joes around the world, officially edited by 11-year-old girls (true story). But I personally like to 100% accept without question absolutely everything it says as fact. Life is much more fun that way.

Anyhoo, here's what I discovered today: FATAL HILARITY. Yup. Turns out you really can die laughing.
Further investigation reveals several historically-recorded instances of people literally laughing themselves to death...

It is told that in 1782, a lady named Mrs Fitzherbert began laughing so uncontrollably during a performance of The Beggar's Opera, that she had to be escorted from the theatre. She continued laughing all that night and the following morning, and died the next day, still laughing.

More recently, in 1975, a 50-year-old bricklayer in England, laughed himself to death while watching a scene in The Goodies involving a Scotsman in a kilt and a homicidal black-pudding. His wife watched in amusement that no-doubt turned to horror, as Alex Mitchell laughed uproariously for twenty-five minutes, unable to stop, before he let out a "tremendous belly laugh, slumped on the settee, and died" of a heart attack.

But my very favourite instance of Fatal Hilarty comes from the Third Century B.C. when Greek Philosopher Chrysippus allegedly died laughing after getting his horse drunk on wine, and then watching it try to eat some figs.

Drunk horse! Figs! Make no mistake - that shit is dangerously funny.

So just be careful next time you're enjoying your old VHS tapes of Hey Dad...! And woe betide all the cackling baby-boomers tuning in for Russell Gilbert's re-runs of On The Buses and The Benny Hill Show on Saturday evenings. Fatal Hilarity can strike anyone at anytime.

And they always told us laughter was the best medicine! Pfft! Maybe if your doctor is this guy.



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