I listened to the Comcast representative call on soundcloud recently, and although it was infuriating, I couldn't help but start laughing out of sheer disbelief. Other things that seriously aggravate me may lead to me laughing in exasperation, but I don't think of "exasperation" as necessarily including laughter. Is there a word for this kind of laughter, or for anger that is so intense that it causes laughter?

  • I think the laughter comes from a sudden appreciation of the absurdity of the situation—and absurd things can strike us as being comical even when we're angry. The term I suggest for this phenomenon is Sisyphean laughter, after Camus's famous observation that "we must imagine Sisyphus happy"—to which I would add, we must imagine Sisyphus laughing when subjected to ridiculous and futile interactions with incompetent and/or intransigent customer service reps.
    – Sven Yargs
    Jul 29, 2015 at 22:22

3 Answers 3


This could be a form of manic laughter, which happens when someone is just too revved up that the laughter spills out of them.

If the exasperation that boils over into laughter is scornful or mocking, it could be called sardonic laughter.

But when it’s the kind of thing you see in cartoon caricatures of evil characters, then it’s maniacal laughter.

  • Thank you, it's probably sardonic. It's kind of a mix between incredulous and irritated, and it doesn't leave me with a very high opinion of whatever I'm reading.
    – Alice
    Aug 5, 2014 at 4:28

Hysterical laughter. You are beyond yourself at such a moment, presumably.


For anyone else who decides to look this up; the laughter could be called

scornful incredulous scoff derision

Look up Genesis 18:12 for when Sarah laughed to get another example...Comcast they will make anyone laugh lol...

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