In Henri Bergson’s essay on ‘Laughter’, he considers what makes something ‘laughable’ from a philosophical perspective. He writes that, “Comic spirit has a logic of its own, even in wildest eccentricities”, which suggests that there is something objective and discoverable about the nature of humour – some set of explanations, a “method in madness”, that can allow us to figure out why we laugh at certain things. Laughter must have “social significance”, as Bergson puts it, and it must relate back to society because laughter is a social, communal activity.
Bergson reasons that, “Laughter appears to stand in need of an echo,” i.e. we tend to find things funnier if people laugh at them rather than if we were to laugh at something alone. Laughter can be contagious in the right context. If we are being made fun of and a crowd of people are laughing at us, it might be much harder to join in and find the laughter appealing. However, if we are watching something in a theatre or on television, the laughter of other people may encourage us to laugh more at certain points. If we did not understand a joke, hearing other people laugh may help make us laugh. This reminds me of the laugh track that is present in many television comedies.
A scene from a 1995 episode of ‘The Nanny’ comes to mind. Fran Fine, a nanny, is coincidentally forced to shave Mr. Sheffield, her employer, for surgery after she dresses up as a nurse to fill in for someone at the hospital. Fran’s exaggerated facial expressions and awkward mannerisms made the audience laugh continuously and uncontrollably for the entirety of the scene. At one point, during eleven seconds of uninterrupted laughter, it seems the only thing we as viewers are even laughing at is the laughter itself. This example shows how laughter can depend on the laughter of other people as Bergson argued.
 Henri Bergson, “Chapter 1,” Laughter, trans. Brereton & Rothwell (London: MacMillan, 1911), 2.
 Ibid., 8.
 Ibid., 5.