Mayor Filner To Receive Award From Laughter Association For His Attempts At Humor
Note: While the subject matter of this story may be funny, it is not an April Fool's Day joke.
When organizers of the American Laughing Championships were planning their laughing competition in San Diego, they Googled San Diego Mayor Bob Filner and decided he needed to receive an award as well.
“We saw pictures of him on Google and couldn’t believe what a crazy smile he has,” said Albert Nerenberg, the championship’s organizer. “We said, ‘this guy is an extremely smiley mayor like no one we’ve seen before.’ Then we looked him up and saw controversies about him telling jokes at events.”
Asked what controversies Nerenberg saw, he said, “something about a toupe.” Filner mocked City Attorney Jan Goldsmith at an annual dinner for the Downtown San Diego Partnership in February.
Filner will receive the award this Saturday “for his efforts to inject humor and levity in political life.” His office did not return requests for comment but Nerenberg said Filner will be on hand to accept the award.
The award will be presented after the American Laughing Championships, the first ever nationwide award for the “best laughter in America,” Nerenberg said. It follows the Association for Applied and Therapeutic Humor’s annual conference held in San Diego this week.
Although many do not find Filner’s joking funny, Nerenberg said it’s the attempt that matters.
“There’s no doubt he’s trying to be funny, the issue is whether he’s succeeding in being funny. It sounds like that’s in dispute,” he said. “But to succeed, first you have to try.”
The American Laughing Championships will recognize the person with the most contagious laugh in the country.
“Contestants will compete in the most challenging duels,” he said. “We’ll have the best diabolic laugh, the best Alabama knee slapper. Then we’ll award the most contagious laugh, someone who, when they laugh, everyone laughs. Being able make a whole room laugh is a great thing.”
Nerenberg said they are holding the first-ever American championships in San Diego both because of the Association for Applied and Therapeutic Humor conference and because California is a strong center for promoting laughter and laughter yoga.
Ten people will compete in the championships starting 6 p.m. Saturday. Nerenberg said people who feel their laugh deserves national recognition can audition at 5 p.m. Saturday before the contest, which will be at the Westin San Diego on 400 West Broadway.
The championship is open to the public and costs $20 to attend.