A common question people throw at me in interviews is how I ended up writing comedy.
It's sometimes asked with the same tone you'd use to inquire how someone ended up living in the back of a Subaru eating Spam and carrying on conversations with a sock puppet named Leroy.
I usually explain that I come from a family of people with ridiculously clever senses of humor, and that if you lined us all up from funniest to least funny, I'd be somewhere near the tail end near the potted fern. It's true most members of my family are terrific comics, but I seldom touch on why.
I'm pretty sure it boils down to the fact that my mom has the best laugh in the whole world.
I won't even try to describe it because there's no way to do it justice. Suffice it to say, it's equal parts unfettered joy and holycowIthinkshemightpeeherpants.
Getting my mom to laugh like that became a family mission from the time my brother and I were still telling knock-knock jokes with no punchline. Even today, there's an unspoken competition among family members for who can make my mother laugh 'til her mascara runs.
With a goal like that, it's no wonder I grew up to write romantic comedy.
What is it about some people's laughter that makes it the vocal equivalent of joy-juice for everyone within a 200-yard radius? I was thinking about this a few mornings ago when one of the housemates and I were standing in the kitchen contemplating whether turning on lights and making toast were really worth the effort.
From the other side of the wall, we heard the sound of gut-splitting laughter. It was like instant sunshine in our dark little kitchen and we both just stood there listening to my gentleman friend howl.
My housemate grinned. "He has the best laugh."
I smiled back, a little surprised by the observation. "That's the reason I hang out with him."
He raised an eyebrow at me.
"One of the reasons," I amended. "But an important one."
Is there someone in your life whose laughter has the ability to totally make your day? On the flip-side, have you ever had to force yourself not to snicker at someone with a particularly unusual laugh? Please share!
Oh, and in case you're wondering what prompted my gentleman friend's maniacal laughter that morning, he was watching videos at BadLipreading.com. This is one of his recent favorites: