Originally published April 5, 2013 at 6 a.m., updated April 6, 2013 at 9:16 a.m.
San Diego will host the first ever American Laughing Championship on Saturday.
Daunte Reed and Joey Lundgreen are laughing champions. Or at least one of them could be on Saturday, when the winner of the American Laughing Championship is named.
Reed is a Navy man stationed in San Diego and will be one of the 16 or so competitors at Saturday's event. He said he doesn't know when he first realized his laugh was unusual.
“I’ve always had it, but I didn’t know it," he said. "But I always know every time I did it, people would be like, you know, what was that?”
Watching Reed laugh with a combination of giggles, squeals and belly laughs, you can understand why he attracts attention. And that attention-grab is exactly what it takes to be a champion.
“Everybody knows somebody in their life who has a crazy, contagious laugh," said Albert Nerenberg, organizer of the American Laughing Championship. "You’ve been in a movie theater, and a guy in the back row cracked up and it made the whole room laugh. Well, those are the kinds of people that do well in these contests.”
Nerenberg will have the laughers compete in a series of grueling contests.
“There’s maniacal laugh, that’s where there’s the Dr. Evil thing, muahaha," he explained. "There’s the self laugh, where you laugh at yourself. This is because you have to show humility, really show you can laugh at yourself. There’s the Alabama knee slapper where you slap your right knee and you laugh.”
Competitors will get their giggle on at 6 p.m. Saturday in the Westin Hotel at 400 W Broadway. Nerenberg said people who feel their laugh deserves national recognition can audition an hour before the contest, which is open to the public and costs $20 to attend.
Then, the best laugher in America will be named.
The competition follows the Association for Applied and Therapeutic Humor’s annual conference also held in San Diego this week. San Diego Mayor Bob Filner will also receive a special award “for his efforts to inject humor and levity in political life.”
Reed will face some tough competition on Saturday. But if his voice holds up, it seems likely he’ll have a shot.