In 2005 my husband, Mitch, created a Laugh Meter to determine humor reactions; it’s based on a scale of 0.5-10. .” It took Mitch over 2 years of observation to finalize the rankings.
When mitch doesn’t get my jokes I typically say, “you have no sense of humor.” He’s just not “laugh out loud” funny. That role goes to his brother, Scott Rubin. Ironically, Mitch probably has more of a sense of humor than most, he’s just more methodical and the result is his chart.
When Mitch first told me about his rankings, I scoffed. I may do that too much and need to rethink my reactions to new ideas. “Isn’t a laugh, just a laugh? Why dissect this?” were my typical replies. Oddly, his rating scale, created fifteen years ago is used by both of us in a private, “ Hmm, was that really funny? Are people politely laughing? Are they faking it ?”
I think once you see the laugh meter you will start noticing the same responses. Warning, after reading this, you will no longer be able to naively laugh without assessing, chuckle without discernment, snort through your nose without interpretation. If you are willing to risk the consequences, read on….
Laugh Meter Scale
0.5- “That’s Cute” – This is when someone is telling you what they think may be a funny story and you reply, without laughing – “that’s cute.” This is not to say it isn’t cute and it may be an adorable story but in the scheme of humor it rates as a mild reaction.
1.0 -“That’s funny” – Have you ever told a joke and the recipient, without laughing says “that’s funny” or “that’s so funny”? Did you ever wonder why they weren’t laughing?
2- “Smile- No Sound”- Your friend is relaying, in their opinion, a funny anecdote; your involuntary response is a smile with no sound of laughter or breath – it’s better than “that’s funny” but lower than “smile and a breath.”
2.5 – “Smile and Breath” – This takes “smile no sound” to a bit higher level. A breath of air may escape your lips (Please maintain 6 feet from others while reacting in this manner.)
3-“Nasal Snort” – Now we are beginning to feel humor. Sometimes a snort can be a sarcastic reaction, or it can also be a true nasal reaction to humor.
3.5- “Nasal Snort and 1 Snicker (he)” – We are nowhere near LOL but in the scheme of things the story, occurrence or joke provided some legitimate reaction.
4-“Snickers” – not the chocolate candy – this is several little “He He’s” in a row. It shows appreciation for the comedy and is typically genuine but needs a bit more to hit a home run. Reminder, not everything needs to be a homerun, though with all of the gyms closed this would be a great ab workout.
4.5 –“Quick Chuckle”– “Hah Hah Hah” – bigger than He He He but not a guffaw.
4.75-“Quick Chuckle, Followed by Repeated Snickers” – “Hah Hah Hah, he he he”
5- “Repeated Chuckles” – see above, this is more of a hearty chuckle without the less hearty “he he he” at the end.
5.5- “Quick Laugh Out Load, Followed by Repeated Chuckles”– This sometimes catches you unexpectedly when you genuinely laugh out loud – did you ever reply to a friend on text, “ LOL, and I really did LOL!”
6-“Quick Laugh Out Load, Followed by Repeated Chuckles, Then Insult or Sarcastic Statement”- I think this is more of a boy thing.
7- “Boisterous Laugh Out Loud, Followed By a Few Hearty Laughs, Then Repeat Punchline”- This one is so spot on – Mitch has pride over this observation – Come on, you know when you have laughed out loud and then repeated the punchline and then laughed all over again.
8- “Consistent Hearty Laugh, Funny Enough that Repeating the Punchline is Un-Necessary”- As I am reading these again to Mitch , he is so enjoying his masterpiece – with statements of “I love this one, isn’t it so true.” ( I’m glad we are getting a bit of a distraction from watching the news.)
9-“Side Splitting Laughter Followed by Spats of Giggling”– This happens a lot – It’s very funny but you can you still breathe. For example, during our seclusion mitch and I have taken quarantined living to a new level. Lounge wear during the day and night, hopefully a shower. So he awoke me yesterday with the sentence “I really had to pee” I immediately burst into laughter and tears because I thought that we got to a new level of hermit- isolation that he was no longer getting out of bed to pee. Obviously, it was my 6 A.M. delirium that misunderstood him, but it was a number 9 on my laugh meter.
10. Outrageous Side-Splitting Laughter, Tears, Unable to Breath, Stomach Pains, Repeat- This is where brother-in-law Scott Rubin comes into the meter. Ten is really an unusual occurrence , very few stories or people can elicit this response, my brother in law is one of them. Mitch says one can go years without a ten.
Not everything has to be a 10 and it’s important to have stories, anecdotes, comedy and fun that range from 0.5-10.
The important thing is to keep smiling, laughing, snorting, saying “that’s funny” and doing all you can to keep your spirits up.
One last note: alcohol and other substances may make objects look funnier than they normally appear otherwise, kind of like the words you see on your side-view car mirror.