Everything is funny as long as it’s happening to someone else.
– Will Rogers
I remember when I was about twelve years old, walking to the bus station with my best friend after school one day. It was winter, so it was dark and it was snowing.
We chatted away together, which made the freezing cold walk pass more quickly. Suddenly, my friend was no longer there!
I looked around, then down. She was flat on her back on the pavement, having slipped on some ice.
I burst out laughing! This was the funniest thing; the surprise of it; but mostly, that it hadn’t happened to me!
Of course, I helped her up and checked that she wasn’t seriously hurt: no bones broken (but you don’t break so easily when you’re young.) I was still laughing as I dusted the snow off her gabardine raincoat. She was cross, understandably, with falling in the first place, and with her best friend still laughing at her.
But I couldn’t help myself. I believe this is referred to as relief laughter. Or as Will Rogers says above, “Everything is funny as long as it’s happening to someone else!”