START // My Everyday // Humour //
Anna-Lisa Plettenberg and Marc Lohmann laughing,Photo: Britt Schilling


What do people with Down syndrome laugh about?
What do they find funny?
Do they have a different sense of humour than people without Down syndrome?

Ohrenkuss has been around for almost 20 years now.
In the magazine office, people with Down syndrome write about how they see life.
About what is important for them.
Love. Music. Beauty. Good food. Happiness.

Working on the texts we notice again and again that what people with Down syndrome want from life doesn't differ so much from what people without Down syndrome want.
A good job.
Their own flat in a cool city.
Sharing time with the people they like.
Finding love.

However in regards to humour there are differences.
People with Down syndrome like to laugh, and do so often.
But they laugh at other things than what people without Down syndrome laugh at.

Why is that so?
And what actually is funny, and what is not?
These riddles have kept the authors busy.

Julian Göpel starts with the theory, the science of laughter.
He dictates:

„The word is called gelotology.
So, that is the topic about laughter.
For example: Laughing is fun, laughing-stress, happiness-hormones, psychology, stress-hormones blood flow, wells of laughter, spring-tiredness, behavioral scientist.
And the special thing about laughter is: laughter research.
You can see that on the internet on Wikipedia - on the internet.
That's where I did my research today."

Teresa Knopp is next and also has a go at an explanation:

„Humour, really what is that?
It I find it hard to answer, because that word I don't know so well.
Literally translated the word humour means dampness, the wet and fluidity.
So I ask myself, excuse me, why doesn't all that have anything to do with laughing?
Today we understand it as laughing, smiling and making fun of.
When I smile I am glad and overjoyed.
You know what grief is.
Humour is the opposite of grief."

Dorothee Reumann feels a tingling in her belly when she finds something funny.
She writes:

„Humour! Laughing, funny, was fun, being happy, the people smile.
People, that's humour, too.
Laughing is healthy, smiling works on the phone, too.
Funny ha ha ha ha.
Funny is having real fun, SMS also funny writing, funny eating breakfast and we all had fun, tummy tingles."

Michael Häger’s explanation is short and to the point:

„Laughing is fun.“

Johanna von Schönfeld also keeps it brief:

„I can laugh about everything.
I think the world is really cool.“

Martin Weser noticed: everyone has to find out for themselves what is funny.
He writes:

„Humour is always good and happy in my whole life long.
If you can do something humour, for example tandem flight, then I had also fun doing it.
That is funny.
You have to find the fun things.
Mostly they are outside and having fun doing it - you need that.
Searching for the fun things, it could be the sky, letting a kite fly.
That is humour life.“

His colleague Paul Spitzeck comes to a similar conclusion:

„Laughing is something different for every person.
We are all one."

Daniel Rauers is happy when he laughs.
He dictates:

„Future, when I am happy.
When I make jokes or something like that.
When I laugh, then I am happy.
I find it is funny when I am funny.
When I find it funny, doing happy things.
For example when I am silly or antics or quarrel.“

Ohrenkuss long distance correspondent from Australia Gabrielle Garrigan, dictates her favourite joke:

„What do cats put in their soft drink?
Mice cubes.”

Lars Breidenbach is a musician.
That is why his idea of humour has to do with music.
He dictates:

„Some things are funny, for example Karaoke, have a machine, with microphone.
It's fun, sometimes laughing while doing it!"

If Achim Reinhardt feels like laughing or not depends:

„When I have no lady I’m not funny.
If someone smiles at me I smile back, if it's a lady.
Then I am glad and happy.“

Angela Fritzen thinks sometimes humour takes effort.
She writes:

„I think cracking up laughing is wonderful.
I crack myself up, that's when I work hard."

Renate Schlögl is a real giggler: She is called a “Kichererbse” which is the German name for chickpea, the literal translation of Kichererbse however is "giggle-pea".

Renate Schlögl writes:

„I like laughing!
I am like a giggle-pea and also like a bean that can laugh!
Laughter comes from the heart and brings joy! I am in a good mood, when I joke around a lot and also lots of fun and making lots of jokes.
Giggle-pea can laugh because she is so funny.
I can make so much nonsense."

Johanna von Schönfeld likes to laugh together with other women:

„A ladies-talk, they are funny. Women.
Love, human company.
Joy for life worldwide, can sing and dance around the globe.
I can laugh about ladies-talks, that are funny.
I am also a woman.
Because life is live.
There the feelings are mixed."

Verena Elisabeth Turin thinks pillow fights are funny.
She writes:

„Humour is something funny.
Humour is for me also carnival.
There you can laugh a lot.
In general when I have a pillow fight laughing with my boyfriend.
Laughing we also tickle each other while he generally kisses me.“

Björn Langenfeld also finds tickling funny.
He dictates:

„Foot tickling. Laughing and that’s happy.
And then again turn the body because I am butterfly in the tummy.
And then again tickles my belly and also again tickles under my arms.
Tickles always down there behind the knee.
Tickles and also again shinbone.
Tickles always the arms. Funny, making fun.“

Henriette Spandau likes it when funny stories are told.
She dictates:

„When funny things conversation and I come along, then I always have to laugh along in company.
Something else I can do is smiling at someone,
Because laughing at someone isn't that interesting.
I am a laughing owl too.“

Antonio Nodal likes it most to laugh with his friends. He dictates:

„I love laughing.
Laughing feels happy.
And happy is nice.
When I crack up laughing it feels like that: hahahahahahaha.
That's how it goes.
That makes happy too.
I only laugh for happiness.
Happiness and joy. Love.“

In the Ohrenkuss editorial office opinions differ regarding the question do only people have a sense of humour, or do animals have one too?

Nora Fiedler thinks:

„The only animal that laughs is the laughing bear.
He looks furry, cuddly, cute, soft - and he is my soft toy.
He has a heart on his hands."

Dorothee Reumann thinks animals have no sense of humour:

„Cat and dog lovely. Not laughing.
Cows and horses: going in fields, sniffing each other. Not laughing.“

There are different kinds of laughter.
Grinning a little bit.
Smiling lightly.
Or laughing with the whole body.
The Ohrenkuss editorial office describes a few variations.

Henriette Spandau dictates:

„Big laughter, that happens for example during tickling - very strong laughter.
Because I am ticklish all over.
Then I get a laugh attack till I can't breath anymore. That is such strong laughter that also tears flow down.
With all that laughter making me cry."

Judith Pollmächer likes it when someone meets her with laughter.  
She dictates:

„Laughing at, that then is fun too.
When someone for example looks at me friendly and laughs, practical, then I laugh with them automatically."

Anna-Lisa Plettenberg laughs with the whole body.
She writes:

„When I laugh, I just laugh.
My mouth can't stop anymore.
My belly laughs along too."

There are situations when Michael Hägar likes laughing at someone:

„Laugh at them, if someone is naked.“

Verena Günnel likes making the people around her laugh.
She dictates:

„Smiling is nice.
There are many different ways to make someone smile.
So, when addressing someone or looking at, for example looking at me, then smile once nice how happy as you are. There is a lot about doing professional smiling.
And it is also something important to look at people and humans in a positive way, to make them smile."

As you have read, there are different opinions about what is funny, and how someone laughs.
The Ohrenkuss authors agree more in regards to what is not funny.

Verena Günnel dictates:

„Expressions, they are really mean.
I don't like it when someone is so strict and scolds me.
That hurts me in my heart.
That is not funny!"

Not funny at all for Dorothee Reumann is the feeling of heartache.
She writes:

„Lovesick, crying, pains, ache, heart is hurt and sad.“

Henriette Spandau thinks it is stupid to be laughed at.
That's for her where the fun stops.
She dictates:

„Making fun of: when someone says, you are fat or thin and that is not ok - you are not allowed to laugh.
Making fun of someone is not funny and contagious.
When someone has a disability, regardless what disability, and because of that they get made fun of, that is really stupid!"

Teresa Knopp also knows the feeling of being laughed at:

„I was laughed at a lot at my school.
It was not nice for me.
If humour wasn't there then in the circuses of the world there wouldn’t be any clowns, then the whole sadness reigns over the world."

Achim Reinhardt doesn't think Kevin Großkreutz is funny:

„Kevin Großkreutz wasn't funny, that he went on the floor in the hotel and not in the toilet.“

So that the Ohrenkuss text on the topic of humour does not end unfunny, we will leave the last word to Claudine Egli, who thinks:

„Laughing is something, that is important.
Laughing is the most beautiful.

And, we think she’s right.