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The other laugh fest

By Guernsey LePelley / September 21, 1982



A four-day humor conference was recently held in Washington.

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We don't mean Congress. This was a separate conference at the Shoreham Hotel. Most of the congressmen were away, anyway. Either they were at home on television talking to farmers, or on an important government trip studying soil erosion, at places like the Riviera, the Greek islands, Waikiki Beach, or any warm unfortified area where sand meets with salt water.

Everyone who thought all the comedians have been absorbed into government by now will be relieved to learn there were about 4,000 more-or-less humorous people attending this International Conference on Humor. Also there were an undisclosed number who just came to laugh at the jokes. But they all came from some place other than the nation's capital.

The significance of this meeting is far-reaching. Even if it did not prove to be an earth- or stomach-shaking experience, it does indicate we still have a fund of laugh-getters out there to be tapped for future elections. And, of course, it also indicates there may still be something to laugh at outside of Washington.

That is one of the odd things about Washington. It is the place where something comic is going on all the time, but no one is laughing. Someone once described the Congressional Record as a comic-book horror story. A slight exaggeration, probably.

What do they talk about at a convention of humor? The theme was ''What Makes People Laugh?'' It was not announced if anything was settled one way or the other as to what makes people laugh, since most of the humor in Washington is unintentional. But no doubt some kind of survey will be made. A government committee is formed to study almost everything.

If a congressional study is made, we would be interested to know why all congressmen are against inflation and deflation but no one comes out in favor of just plain old flation these days.

One last thing. This column is not going to make a federal case out of it, but we weren't invited to the humor convention. Evidently we are not yet funny enough to be in Washington. We intend to keep on trying. But, even more mystifying than our own absence from the convention, there were no senators there either.