Some people say that they can tell all they need to know about a person by looking into his eyes. As shortcuts go, I think that’s not a terrible way to go. But the problem is, you still have to know what to look for in the eyes and, even then, it is easy--as Bush so ably demonstrated with Putin--to be misled. If our own eyes can play tricks on us, how much easier is it for the eyes of another--willfully or not--to trick us? That’s why, when shortcuts are all that are available to me, I depend more upon the laugh.
It’s very hard to lie in a laugh, just as it is difficult to suppress a laugh when it demands to be set free. We’ve all choked on tears and also (with much less success, I’ll wager) managed to smother chuckles. Whereas tears seem to come on with a thunder strike, they have a way of dissipating when put down--even if it is only until a more convenient time can be arranged for their release. A suppressed laugh, however, tends only to engorge the recesses of the soul--at least it has always been so for me. It, like a needy child or another of nature’s calls, demands attention. And if it cannot be set free, it will burn and tickle and play havoc with your comfort until you can release it.
Now, all laughs are not equally good--and some are simply not good at all. Some are wicked or just plain vicious and others are weak, limp and pathetic. Some laughs are vulgar or rude. Some are mechanical or forced. Others are melodic and sweet--but not particularly memorable. The best laughs, however, are a deep and expressive kind of soul kissing--particularly when they are shared with the people who mean the most to us and understand us the best. And, as the clip above richly shows, the disposition toward such soul-kissing laughter is a gift and it reveals itself early in life.
Whatever else they may be, laughs are telling both as to when they come and as to how they show themselves. The eyes of a laughing man do not lie as readily as those of a man who may appear to be grave or grief-stricken or circumspect and biting on his lower lip.
I’m no expert in the craft of acting, but I imagine that it must be easier to summon convincing tears on cue than it is to summon convincing laughter. I’d also guess that the laughter of most good actors is most often real (if not always in response to what is supposed to be funny in the production).