In the previous post I may have left you with the impression that I think all laughter is fake. That is not the case. But I do think that laughter in large groups becomes less real and more of a social imperative.
I think that there is something in us that wants to be in step, part of the group. Some atavistic urge to avoid individuality (methinks I have another essay in the offing) to avoid being perceived as "not getting it".
There's an old Charles Addams cartoon that shows a movie audience weeping, tears streaming, handkerchiefs to their eyes. In the middle of the front row sits Uncle Fester with a big grin on his face. I understand that cartoon at a visceral level.
I am so often completely out of sync with any large group, that it makes me wonder how I manage to keep any friends ... oh wait ... well it makes me wonder how I manage to sustain any acquaintances.
Movies are a good example. I have a problem with action/adventure stuff and monster movies because I get distracted by the potential for tangential stories. Does the hero cause a fifteen car pile-up on the freeway while saving the world ... well what happened to the people in the cars? A security gaurd is strangled ... did he have a family? ... will they miss him? Godzilla wipes out an entire block of apartment buildings with his tail ... how many people died? ... does insurance in Japan cover "act-of-monster".
It's no fun going to the movies with me. I don't suspend disbelief lightly.
There was one movie that I really enjoyed precisely because it did attempt to show the ramifications, the cascade of events. It was a low budget German film called "Run Lola Run". But then, the point of the movie was to show how small changes can make a difference.