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Try Not to Laugh

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Try Not to Laugh challenges are an old idea that’s made a big comeback recently. Of course, the genius of trying not to laugh is that the harder you try, the more likely you are to laugh despite your best intentions — which makes this a great activity for family dinners! On especially busy or stressful nights, a try not to laugh challenge is a quick and easy way to break any tension.

There are a few different ways you could play:

  1. Classic Try Not to Laugh
    In this version of the game, two people face off against each other. One of them is the “jester” and has to try to make the other person laugh with silly faces, noises and gestures. The “straight man” is the person who has to try not to smile or laugh, no matter what the “jester” does.
  2. Group Variation
    You could play the Classic game, but allow the whole group to try to make one person laugh!
  3. Jokes Only Version
    In the jokes only version, family members take turns telling jokes or reading from a joke book, and either one person or the whole family has to keep from laughing or smiling.
  4. Tech at the Table Version
    If you’re up to it, you could allow the use of devices at the table to show funny videos and memes for your challenge. There are even “Try Not to Laugh” compilations online — just make sure to search for “clean” or “kid-friendly” compilations and preview them if you’re concerned about content.

We recommend having a time limit for your challenges. If you can’t get another person to laugh in 1-2 minutes, the challenge is over and it’s time for someone else to give it a try!