Sunderland has emerged as the laughter capital of the UK, according to The Hilarity Report, a new scientific study released today, commissioned by BEANO comic, which reveals residents of the North Eastern city laugh 33 times a day, 43% more than the national average.
The new in-depth study identifies the places, and family members that laugh like no other in the UK – and reveals how some local accents might help some comedians, such as John Bishop and Susan Calman, succeed over others.
The report by the BEANO, the world’s longest-running humour comic, co-authored with neuroscientist and laughter expert Professor Sophie Scott, also reveals the professions which give Brits the most LOLs.
As part of the research, 2000 British adults were polled and evaluated by Professor Sophie Scott to mark Beano’s nationwide search to find Britain’s Funniest Class.
The competition, open to all schools across the UK, offers free curriculum-linked lesson plans to help Primary school children write their very best original jokes. Teachers can then submit these to BEANO for their class to be named this year’s winner.
According to the findings, the average Brit laughs 23 times a day, with an average of 25 minutes spent laughing each day.
The research reveals that those in Derry laugh the least, at just 13 times a day. The Welsh town of Wrexham came in second with the city of Bath in third spot and Dundee – home to the BEANO itself – taking fourth.
When it comes to the four nations of the UK, the research shows those in Wales like to laugh the most, chuckling up to 24 times a day… and the people of Wales laugh over 700 times more a year than the English.
There’s a significant North/South divide in the UK, with people in the North laughing for a solid seven minutes more a week than in the South of the UK.
Findings from the report also reveals that the average British adult laughs 23 times a day clocking up 175 minutes of pure laughter a week. 84% of British adults say they laughed more each day as children with previous research in Psychology Today showing the children laughs up to 300 times a day.
The infectious laughter of kids has a knock-on effect on their parents as British adults cite their children as making them laugh the most (31%) ahead of their partner (24%) and close friends (18%).
Findings of the study show that a ‘Laughter Gap’ also exists between men and women with men laughing an average of 14 more times than women over the course of a week and a whopping 730 times a year. However, although the research found that women laugh less, their laughter lasts longer equalling typically 3 minutes more than men per day.
The research also found that accents can add to the comedic delivery of jokes with the London Cockney accent being named top (51%) followed by Scouse (50%) and Glaswegian (48%). Received Pronunciation or the Queen’s English (6%) was found to add the least to punchlines.
Cockney comedians such as Mickey Flannagan and Rob Beckett are among those who can thank their accent in potentially helping their success. John Bishop’s Scouse roots would also pay testament to that, while one of Britain’s best loved comedians, Billy Connolly, would certify the power of the Glaswegian accent when it comes to comedy, as would Susan Calman, of Glaswegian fame.
British adults also said that they go out of their way to make other people laugh 17 times a day. Everyday life (39%) was cited as the most popular subject to joke about, followed by classically British self-deprecating funnies (17%), Family (12%) and Friends (10%).
Internet memes (29%) have been keeping the nation laughing the most over the last year alongside taking pleasure witnessing bad DIY haircuts (18%) and Zoom fails and funnies (18%).
According to Brits, actors (49%) and taxi drivers (42%) were named far and away as the professionals with ability to make us laugh the most, with builders (33%) and hairdressers (33%) next. Teachers also made the top five with a third of the vote.
The Laughter Report reveals that the funniest professionals link into the complex social role for laughter and humour. The top ‘funny’ professions (taxi drivers, teachers and hairdressers) are jobs where people have to interact frequently with the public where a well-developed sense of humour and laughter can help them succeed.
The study was specially commissioned by BEANO, which is on the hunt to find Britain’s Funniest Class. The competition in partnership with YoungMinds, the children and young people’s mental health charity, aims to lift classroom spirits, tickle funny-bones and find the funniest class in Britain 2021. Classes can submit their jokes at beano.com/schools until 20th May 2021.
The jokes will be shortlisted by a panel of BEANO gag makers and the ten finalists will be revealed on Beano.com at the end of May. The nation will then have the deciding vote on Beano.com on who will ultimately be Britain’s Funniest Class 2021.
The winning class will be turned into characters and feature in the iconic Beano comic, as well as winning comic subscriptions and Beano books courtesy of Studio Press for the whole class. The winning class will also enjoy a special VIP Beano assembly for their whole school and will receive an official Beano trophy crowning them Britain’s Funniest Class.
Mike Stirling, Head of Beano Studios, said: “At Beano we’ve always known the power of laughter and the findings of our new Hilarity Report shows the nation really does have a funny bone. We know it’s been a very tough year across the country, so we’d love to give something back to teachers and help bring the laughter back to classrooms. We are already giggling in anticipation of the entries for this year’s Britain’s Funniest Class competition!”
Professor Sophie Scott said: “When we think about laughter and humour, we often think about jokes and comedy, but most of the time we laugh, we are laughing because of social reasons – who we are with or where we are. Although laughter is innate, it is also a behaviour we learn to use to communicate, to aid our work, to show who our friends are and to help make new friends, to deal with stress, to put people at their ease and to defuse difficult situations.”
The founder of downthetubes, which he established in 1998. John works as a comics and magazine editor, writer, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. He is currently editor of Star Trek Explorer, published by Titan – his third tour of duty on the title originally titled Star Trek Magazine.
Working in British comics publishing since the 1980s, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Babylon 5 Magazine, and more. He also edited the comics anthology STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War” and “Dan Dare”.
He’s the writer of “Pilgrim: Secrets and Lies” for B7 Comics; “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood.