A GREAT Laughter Exercise:
~~~~~ Gibberish Punchlines ~~~~~
The group is in a Circle (alternatively, in a mob, facing the "Teller").
One person steps forward, and becomes the Teller: They pretend to tell the last part of a joke - the "Punchline" - but in gibberish (so there is no pressure to be funny, new, or have good timing, etc.)
They say 4 or 5 gibberish words, as soon as they finish, everyone else cracks up like it was the funniest thing they ever heard in their whole life.
They can fall to the floor, roll around; applaud the Teller, give the Teller approval signs, worship at or even kiss the Teller's feet. They can lean into, or fall onto their friends, pretend to say "wasn't that hysterical" or "isn't she great"? or "She's MY friend, I taught her everything she knows!", etc. " (no real talking, of course).
NUANCE: When the Teller is delivering the punchline, everyone leans in attentively, full of anticipation: "Oboy, I know she tells great jokes, this one's gonna be a winner!" and then when the Punchline is done, they all burst forth in a huge laugh: "That was even better than I'd ever hoped possible!"
This can be a very vigorous laugh, so the Leader should select only 4 to 6 people to be the Tellers. After the last person in this small group delivers their “Punchline” (and the group laughs), the Leader would begin "Ho, ho, ha-ha-ha", or otherwise move on to another exercise.
(If everyone in a large group is invited to be the Teller, after 5 or 6 times the rest of the group can get tired - - - the later-Tellers only get a half-hearted response - - - so it is better to only have 5 or 6 "deliver" the punchline; then move on to other exercises. )
This Laughter Exercise offers one of the opportunities to invite everyone to "Have the Best Laugh of Your Whole Life," because the height and depth of their laugh clearly is not because of the joke - there IS no real joke - it is entirely up to the laugher to choose if they want to react with a gentle chortle or a huge, rolling-on-the-floor guffaw.
It is also great for self-esteem: the Teller can say as little as a simple, "Blah", and then they witness all the others having a rip-roaring good time, simply from them saying/doing virtually nothing. The Teller has an experience of being appreciated and enjoyed for absolutely no reason, other than making a contribution - they did not have to be clever, smart, good-looking, etc. All they had to do was some thing (even saying, "I pass!"), and everyone has a fantastic time laughing, thanks to their contribution.
AND, it is the ideal Laughter Exercise to address those pesky mental concerns of "What will people think of me, Laughing for No Reason?", because from a distance, “Gibberish Punchlines” looks like what most people associate with "Laughter for a Reason" (as a reaction to when someone tells a good joke, and then everyone else has a good time laughing at it).
Except with Gibberish Punchlines, EVERY joke is phenomenally wonderful - each joke better than the one before (if the participants choose to amplify their laugh each time).