The Laughing Song, But Not That Laughing Song.
September 15, 2007 4:43 PM   Subscribe

This is one that's been bugging me forEVER. My guess is that it's just needledrop music, but it seems way too prevalent for that. But the song I'm looking for is the "ha ha ha ha ha ha ha/ho ho ho ho ho ho ho/hee hee hee hee hee hee hee/Haaa haaaa haaaa" one that seems to pop up a lot in Cartoons.

It appears, in, among others, John R. Dilworth's (creator of Courage the Cowardly Dog, if'n you're curious) "The Dirdy Birdy" short (which, is, well, to be said, only so-so as a cartoon).

And, oddly enough -- which makes me think it ISN'T needledrop -- a Spongebob episode used (to my ears) a sound alike. (not the best clip -- the music is mixed down rather far in these clips, but it kicks in about 58 seconds in... a bit of flitting around on YouTube couldn't find a better clip of the episode -- there's a much clearer version when the tickling belt is introduced)

Anyway -- this has been baffling me for years -- found lots of false leads from merely describing it (heard the OKeh Laughing Record, and even The Residents' "Laughing Song" as suggestions), but no dice.... (And, yes, this DID re-pique my curiosity.)
posted by Rev. Syung Myung Me to Media & Arts (15 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Yes! That song! I too have heard this many times, and now I must know.
posted by phrontist at 4:54 PM on September 15, 2007

The Laughing Policeman?
posted by EndsOfInvention at 4:55 PM on September 15, 2007

Response by poster: Nope, not the Laughing Policeman. (I even double-checked on that one, because the one I'm most familar with is the one by The Suspicions a/k/a The Flying Lizards, which takes an already kinda creepy song and makes it much more so.)

In this song, the laughing is much more melodic, the laughing is more like lyrics, than, well, laughter.
posted by Rev. Syung Myung Me at 4:58 PM on September 15, 2007

Best answer: Is it possible that it started with the Noel Coward song called Mad Dogs and Englishmen? He uses the same amounts of has and hos and whatnots but his cadence and tone is a bit different. Still, a possible starting point? The song was written in 1924. Listen to it on YouTube.

From the musical revue "The Third Little Show"

In Tropical climes there are certain times of day
When all the citizens retire to take their clothes off and perspire
It's one of those rules the greatest fools obey
Because the Sun is far too sultry and one must avoid its ultry-violet rays

The natives grieve when the White Men leave their huts
Because they're obviously....definitely....Nuts!

Mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun
The Japanese don't care to, the Chinese wouldn't dare to
Hindus and Argentines sleep firmly from twelve till one
But Englishmen detest-a siesta

In the Philipines they have lovely screens to protect you from the glare
In the Malay States there are hats like plates which the Britishers won't wear
At twelve noon the natives swoon and no further work is done
But mad dogs and Englismen go out in the midday sun

It's such a surprise for the Eastern eyes to see
That though the English are effete, they're quite impervious to heat
When the White Man rides, every native hides in glee
Because the simple creatures hope he will impale his solar toupee on a tree

It seems such a shame when the English claim the Earth
That they give rise to such hilarity and mirth
Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha
Ho ho ho ho ho ho ho
He he he he he he he
Hm hm hm

Mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun
The toughest Burmese bandit can never understand it
In Rangoon the heat of noon is just what the natives shun
They put their Scotch or Rye down and lie down

In a jungle town where the Sun beats down to the rage of man and beast
The English garb of the English Sahib merely gets a bit more creased
In Bangkok at twelve o'clock they foam at the mouth and run
But mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun

Mad dogs and Englshmen go out in the midday sun
The smallest Malay rabbit deplores this foolish habit
In Hong Kong they strike a gong and fire off a noonday gun
To reprimand each inmate, who's in late

In the mangorve swamps where the python romps there is peace from twelve till two
Even caribous lie around and snooze for there's nothing else to do
In Bengal to move at all is seldom if ever done
But mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday
Out in the midday sun
posted by iconomy at 5:10 PM on September 15, 2007 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Hm -- that does sound like a good starting point; the one I'm looking for might be sort of a pastiche? The amusing thing is that the rest of the song seems actually kind of similar in tone/feel to the Noel Coward record, too, sort of like the one I'm lookin' for would be a B-side to keep the single from warping, erm, if it were a straight-up pop record, I mean. But still...

(And, as an aside, I really dug that song; I think I'm gonna have to check out more Noel Coward; I'd never heard much of his stuff, though I'm a huge Bonzos fan, which I now realize that at least quite a bit of their stuff was on the same kind of track...)
posted by Rev. Syung Myung Me at 5:31 PM on September 15, 2007

I know exactly what you're talking about. Way back in the day (2001?) I posted this question on Google Answers. No one seemed to know what it was, which was frustrating, and there were no correct answers. But this song is EVERYWHERE (maybe it's a common stock song in TV production). I've heard this song everywhere from NBC's Bloopers and Practical Jokes to that Spongebob Episode where Spongebob used a remote-control laughter device against a nemesis.
posted by zek at 6:25 PM on September 15, 2007

Response by poster: That's what makes me wonder if it's needledrop. A while before that, even, I think 1996-7?, someone else asked this on, and no one seemed to know what it was either. (This is where a lot of folks mentioned OKeh and The Residents -- which ended up being one of the reasons I got into the Residents... checked out their "Laughing Song", realised it WASN'T what the answer was, but that it WAS pretty cool. Filed that info away mentally, then ended up later finding an mp3 of "Constantinople", which blew me away, read the old RzWeb cover to cover (metaphorically), and became a huge fan.)
posted by Rev. Syung Myung Me at 6:47 PM on September 15, 2007

The fact that the Dirty Birdy credits don't list the music strongly reinforces the idea that it's needledrop, btw.
posted by davejay at 9:45 PM on September 15, 2007

Meanwhile, here's one song that is most definitely not it.
posted by davejay at 9:47 PM on September 15, 2007

Best answer: I emailed John Dilworth and he answered me already. Part of his response:

I agree, the music on the DB is fun. The composer is Jorgen Schlachter. The title is, "HAHAHOHO THE BIG LAUGH". I licensed the rights from Associated Productions Music.

Thanks for your interest. All the best, John

He made a new fan tonight, that's for sure.
posted by iconomy at 10:51 PM on September 15, 2007 [2 favorites]

Rev. Syung Myung Me, if you like I can forward you the email.
posted by iconomy at 10:53 PM on September 15, 2007

I know we've already ruled out The Laughing Policeman, but here's a modern-day usage of the song. It's just so funny, makes me laugh every time.
posted by triggerfinger at 2:04 AM on September 16, 2007

Response by poster: Dude! AWESOME! THANK YOU! I'd been wondering about that forEVER. Thanks!
posted by Rev. Syung Myung Me at 12:10 PM on September 16, 2007

Best answer: My first thought upon seeing the "ha ha ha..." was that it was the theme song to the "Wallace & Ladmo Show" from waaaay back in the day in Phoenix, Arizona.

Audio Clip

Wallace & Ladmo Site
posted by davidmsc at 12:31 PM on September 16, 2007

Response by poster: That is an AWESOME song, actually. Even for a non-theme song! Thanks for sharing it with me!

Also, I just got this anonymous email:
I saw on MetaFilter you were looking for a laughing song. Is it - The Narcotic Suite: Claustrophobic Sting - by The Prodigy - on the album Music for the Jilted Generation??? I was gonna sign up to MetaFilter to answer you, but they want 5bux so I thought I'd try this way. I'll check back on MetaFilter to see if that's the right one. Hope you find it!
Here's a youtube video with the song
It's not the song (since it's already said up there), but it is kinda neat, and uses a laughing as percussion. Neato!
posted by Rev. Syung Myung Me at 5:54 PM on October 12, 2007

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