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Hear the world's greatest laugher crack up with KAZU's Dylan Music

World Laughter Champion Carla H. Brown at KAZU studios.
Dylan Music
World Laughter Champion Carla H. Brown at KAZU studios.

Santa Cruz resident Carla H. Brown is a "recovering serious person." Growing up in a household of neglect, Brown never found much to laugh about. But when she was in her thirties, she began to practice laughter as a way to feel better and deal with anxiety.

Now, Brown is a laughter yoga teacher leading online classes weekly. She recently entered the world of competitive laughter [yes, there is such a thing!] and won the 2023 World laughter Championship. KAZU’s Dylan Music interviewed Brown recently and began by asking her how she got involved in competitive laughter in the first place.

This interview is edited for length and clarity.

Carla Brown (CB): It's so funny. I'm not a competitive person at all. You know, I've never competed in anything in my life. And so I actually had a student last year in 2022 who said to me, “Hey, you should compete in the American Laughter Championship.” And I thought, okay, I guess so. And I put an entry in and it was accepted. Then I competed and I won. I was completely surprised.

Then I went on to the World Laughter Championship and I'd never done it before. I just kind of did what they had us do. They give you (categories such as) rolling-on-the-floor laughter, sexy laughter, diabolical laughter. You're given all these laughter exercises to do. I had no idea what I was getting into.

Dylan Music (DM): Some of the finalists were from Malaysia, Uzbekistan, England and Iran. And there are all kinds of categories. So I was wondering if you could give us a few quick examples of some of these specific laughs from the competition…like the surprise laugh.

 CB: So the surprise laugh is…you're basically having an experience where you encounter something that surprised you, maybe, or for some people it scared you and you would go:

Brown laughs, suddenly and surprisingly....

CB: That's the surprise laugh.

DM: That surprised me a little bit! Okay. And the next is the diabolical laugh. The winner for this one was Oleg from Uzbekistan.

Evil diabolical laughter from Oleg...

CB: Yes, but I won it the year before.

DM: Oh, you did. Okay. So let's hear your diabolical laugh.

CB: So the diabolical laughter comes in three stages. All right, So you start with a little [mildly diabolical laughter] and then you move to [more animated diabolical laughter]. And then...


DM: That's great. I'm getting witchy vibes.

CB: It's a little witchy.

DM: Okay, so the competition was fierce, and in the end, it came down to you and fellow professional laugher Marnix Bosscher from the Netherlands.

Bosscher laughs infectiously...

CB: Yeah.

DM: So it came down to the final category, the most contagious laugh. Now, this was the laugh that got you the championship. Can you give us a sample of your most contagious laugh?

 CB: Mmm…it’s just sort of:

Carla laughs contagiously at length

Carla H. Brown is the world laughing champion. Now that she's reached the pinnacle of competitive laughter, she plans to take her love of laughter on the road to help others awaken their own joyful nature.