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Remember how I found you there,

Alone in your electric chair?

I told you dirty jokes until you smiled

You were lonely for a man

I said "Take me as I am,

'Cause you might enjoy some madness for a while."
Billy Joel, - "You May Be Right"
You know I'm hilarious. And I'm not going to quit until I get you to smile.
Beast Boy, referring to Raven

He's the joker of the group. She's the Emotionless Girl or perhaps the Tsundere, maybe both. He makes it his mission in life to make her let out one of the most powerful emotional responses. It's a matter of personal pride. If he can break through her shell, he can brag about it for years.

Said girl's friends will wonder why she puts up with it. Don't expect his jokes to actually be funny. The comedy really comes from her reaction, or lack thereof.

This is often played as romantic interest. After all, guys like girls that laugh at their jokes. And, although she doesn't laugh, she does at least listen. If it's meant to become a romantic relationship, don't expect them to resolve it anytime soon.

Most of the time, what finally makes her laugh wasn't even intended to be funny.

Can result in a When She Smiles moment, where the guy falls even harder for her when he finally sees her radiant smile.

Examples of Must Make Her Laugh include:


Anime & Manga

 Pearl: "A HA! You just laughed, didn't you?!"

Platinum: "No I didn't."

Pearl: "You SO did too, I'm sure of it!"

Platinum: "No I didn't. Don't be a pest."

    • It's more like he's trying to force her to admit she has her unlady-like moments whenever she does something.
  • Rurouni Kenshin A gender inverted version occurs, where Misao swears that she'll make her crush Aoshi smile no matter what.
  • Galaxy Angel did a story like this, where this group of guys followed Vanilla around, trying to make her laugh. Apparently she finally did, but her laughter wasn't shown or heard in the actual anime, it was just implied that she finally did.
  • Stellvia of the Universe Joey wins Akira's heart via this method.
  • Kodomo no Omocha: Gender inverted, Sana always tries to make Hayama laugh, or at the very least smile.
  • This is subverted near the beginning of Ranma ½, when Akane is feeling down because of her unrequited feelings for Dr. Tofu. Because she's sad, she doesn't react violently to anything. You'd think Ranma would try to make her laugh, but he doesn't. Instead, he tries to make her angry again, since he's so used to her Tsundere side.
    • Played straight in other instances.

 Akane: Surely you don't expect me to believe that you came to cheer me up?

Ranma: And why shouldn't you believe it?

Comic Books

  • Tank Girl has a Les Yay example. Tank Girl and Jet Girl are in prison. Jet Girl has been very serious in Tank Girl's company up to now.

 Jet Girl: You don't understand. The better you behave, the more they leave you alone. And the more they leave you alone, the better off you are.

Tank Girl: Well, that's a bore! There's nothin' to be scared of. You just gotta think about it like the first time you got laid. You just gotta go: "Daddy, are you sure this is right?"

Jet Girl: [giggles] You're sick.


Fan Fiction

 If he can't make her laugh, how will she know he can make her happy?


Folklore

  • A Norweigan folk tale involves a king who offers his daughter's hand to anyone who can make the all-too-serious girl laugh. A peasant boy is nice to one of those ubiquitous old ladies, and is rewarded with a goose that can trap anyone who touches it (or touches anything already trapped) if he says "Hang on if you want to come along!" He uses it to catch the entire palace staff, and the princess falls over laughing when she sees it.
    • A similar plot device also shows up in the Grimm Brothers fairy tale The Golden Goose.
  • In Australian Aboriginal mythology, a giant frog named Tiddalik drank up all the rivers and lakes. The other animals tried to get him to laugh and spill the water, unsuccessfully, until Tiddalik saw the eel desperately searching for water and laughed at him, releasing it.


Literature


Live Action TV

  • Star Trek: Voyager has an interesting take on this: (male) Neelix tries to make the (male) Vulcan, Tuvok, laugh. Becomes a Reverse Funny Aneurysm when a transporter accident makes the two of them into one in a later episode. I think I need Brain Bleach for even thinking that.
  • Zoey 101 One episode has Michael determined to get Quinn to laugh at one of his jokes. The only problem is, she doesn't find his jokes funny at all. In the end, she ends up laughing at a pun he makes just to shut him up.
  • Faerie Tale Theatre has the episode "The Princess Who Had Never Laughed," based on a variation of the Norwegian folk tale above: Howie Mandell plays the peasant, who gets the princess to laugh by pointing out the sheer ridiculousness of the people she sees every day of her life, with the punch-line, "and she says 'Bring me someone who can make me laugh.'"


Video Games

  • Castlevania Judgment Grant occasionally makes it his goal to get an emotional reaction out of Alucard. This example isn't romantic. No, it isn't.
  • Dragon Quest IV Subverted where a King will only give a special piece of equipment needed to defeat the Big Bad to someone who can make him laugh. ("For the good of the kingdom.") Your party hires a comedian and everything and then...the comedian scolds the king because your party is trying to save the world and nobody will ever laugh again if they don't. And it works!
  • Elite Beat Agents Leo's episode is about his efforts to get the Emotionless Girl Lisa to smile, and thus inspire artwork. In the good ending, the "special tunnel" finally does the trick.
    • By the way, that's Leonardo da Vinci and the subject of the Mona Lisa.
  • Valkyria Chronicles Ted Ustinov tried to do this with Marina Wulfstan, but he failed at it even after the war. She's just really like that.


Visual Novels

  • Fate/stay night gender inverted. Tohsaka realizes that she never sees Shirou laugh and that he rarely smiles. It makes her mad because while he likes making others happy he never actually enjoys himself. Ayako also notes this early on. Tohsaka decides they'll take a day off to make him enjoy himself. With good reason, because as a person who never lives for himself, after he turns into Archer he becomes bitterly resentful of his life. She likes Archer, but doesn't want Shirou to become like him.
  • Kanon Yuichi often does this to Mai, claiming that getting any kind of reaction from her at all is like winning a medal.


Western Animation

  • Teen Titans does this with Beast Boy and Raven. It turns out in the Prequel episode "Go!" that he got her to laugh during their first meeting, and he's been trying to replicate that ever since. He's succeeded three times: said prequel episode, an encounter with her "happy side" during a Journey to the Center of the Mind episode, and when he had a cold and lost control of his powers every time he sneezed. Notably, her happy side told Beast Boy that she always finds his jokes funny; her mildly irritated, Deadpan Snarker reactions to his jokes may be more about maintaining her emotional reserve than being genuinely annoyed.


Real Life

  • Ancient China - One of the last emperors of Zhou had a concubine who didn't like to smile. He discovered, quite by accident, that Crying Wolf by sending fake Epic Hails so his troops would mobilize, caused her to laugh. So he kept doing it. Of course, by the time real barbarians decided to sweep in, the disgruntled troops told the emperor to go pound sand. Capital sacked, emperor killed, concubine carried off into captivity.
  • In 1907, a New York theater offered a "performance" by Sober Sue, a woman who allegedly never laughed. A cash prize was offered to anyone who could get her to do so; many of the city's best comedians made the attempt, but in vain. It's known that this was set up by her manager as a way to trick comedians into performing for free, and strongly suspected that Sue's facial muscles were paralyzed in a way that guaranteed she couldn't laugh or smile.
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