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Winter 2004 Bruin Walk

Illustration of man at theater
Photograph by Amy Trang Hoang,
Daily Bruin

What's so funny?

“Ho, ho — ha, ha, ha!” Eight students stand in a circle in the Franklin D. Murphy Sculpture Garden, repeating the chant while clapping their hands and high-stepping on the dewy grass. On the fourth go-round, they raise their hands over their heads and let loose with a “haaaaa!” and break into giggles.

No joke. UCLA has a Laughing Club. Members meet Monday and Thursday mornings at 8 to exercise their funny bones in preparation for the serious day ahead. Most club members are students, but anyone is welcome.

“It really expands my enjoyment of the day,” says Andrew Meyers, a third-year Spanish major who has been participating in the Laughing Club since the group formed last spring.

Scot Pipkin, a fourth-year geography major, started the club after a friend told him about a similar group in India. Pipkin, who says he “loves being silly,” leads the UCLA group through 20 or so minutes of exercises that combine laughter, movement and a bit of imagination.

One exercise has participants making believe they’re pouring tea into a gigantic cup, then belting it down with a great flourish. In another, club members laugh while patting each other’s hands, first slowly and then with increasing speed, until they’re patting and laughing at a frantic pace. The meeting ends with an exercise in which participants gather all their psychological “stuff,” pack it into the shape of a big ball and heave it into the stratosphere, laughing all the way.

Michael Brown, a fourth-year major in design | media arts, says laughing for no particular reason is like “emotional yoga.”

“I’m able to open up and break through barriers,” Brown says. “It’s cathartic.”

by Judy Lin

2005 The Regents of the University of California