The Cliff Laugh

I laugh loud and am amused easily, which makes me the ideal member of any audience. It’s a full-body laugh that makes me hit my head on the back of the chair, even slide off onto the ground. Kids either love my laugh or are afraid of it, as it foghorns its way into the room. I’ve actually been nicknamed “The Laughing Cliff” by at least one toddler.

My laugh has a job.

Performers, speakers, and creators feed off of recognition, not because they’re desperate or co-dependent, but because they’re hoping their work reaches us as deeply as it reaches them. They want to know that they’re not just up there wiggling around, that their movement, their unique voice is traveling through the air and finding its way in, gaining some level of immortality.

It’s the laugh, really, that does this for them. Clapping is intentional, even smiles can be forced. With laughter, you can’t fake it. It either comes out or it doesn’t. And when it does, it’s like holding up a perfect 10 with both hands. It’s like waving back to the people on land from the deck of a ship.

We should all work to have our laughs at the top of our throat, behind our eyes, filling up our cheeks, ready to go, so it can do its job when the time comes. With practice, you can store your laugh just under the surface. That way, it won’t take much for it to spill out whenever somebody needs it.