by Gordon Lamont
Suitable for Key Stage 2
To look at what makes us laugh – and why!
Preparation and materials
- Prepare some jokes in advance that you think the children will enjoy or ask a few children to do so – checking them first!
- If you have access to John Agard’s poem ‘Laughter is an egg’ (in his book of the same name, published by Puffin, 1991), consider using it for the ‘Time for reflection’ section.
- Have available the song ‘The laughing policeman’ by Charles Jolly and the means to play it at the end of the assembly.
1. Start by telling a joke or two or by inviting the children you’ve asked to do so. Here are some sample jokes to choose from.
– How did the farmer fix his jeans?
With a cabbage patch!
– Doctor, Doctor, I keep thinking there’s two of me.
One at a time, please.
– Doctor, Doctor, I keep seeing a spinning insect.
Don't worry, it's just a bug that's going round!
– Why are graveyards so noisy?
Because of all the coffin!
– What's the first thing that an astronaut does in the morning?
She wakes up.
– What do you call a wizard from outer space?
A flying sorcerer!
2. Comment on the success or otherwise of the jokes and point out that humour is a funny thing!
Comedians who have a great hit one year with a show or film might find themselves ‘unfunny’ the following year. We can’t predict what will make us laugh. Something that we find hilarious might not work for other people at all. A joke that makes us roll about laughing one day might not have the same effect the next day. Finding something funny depends on all sorts of things: our mood, what we’ve been doing before, who we are with and whether or not other people are laughing.
3. Point out that laughter can be ‘infectious’ – someone starts laughing and, before you know it, other people are joining in. Sometimes people get to the point where they’re laughing at laughing, unable to stop themselves without knowing why they’re laughing and what they’re laughing at.
4. Like so many of the really important things in life, laughter is a mystery. It doesn’t seem to make sense, it can’t be predicted or explained, but it is wonderful and one of the most important parts of being human.
Time for reflection
Choose from these quotes about laughter.
Laughter is an egg
with a crick-crack face
that can hide in the heart
of the human race.
John Agard, ‘Laughter is an egg’
Laughter is the sun that drives winter from the human face.
A day without laughter is a day wasted.
We need more kindness, more compassion, more joy, more laughter. I definitely want to contribute to that.
‘The laughing policeman’ by Charles Jolly