Arnon Grunberg



Today I thought of the Russian writer Daniil Kharms.
I came across his name in a Dutch newspaper.
My first unpublished stories were heavily influenced by Kharms.
I would say that to a certain degree I remained faithful to his worldview. Perhaps there are two sorts of people on this world: those who understand Kharms and those who don’t.

This is an essay by Kharms in English translation:

“On Laughter

  1. Advice to humourous performers I have noticed that it is very important to determine the point at which laughter can be induced. If you want the auditorium to laugh, come out on to the stage and stand there in silence until someone bursts out laughing. Then wait a little bit longer until someone else starts laughing, and in such a way that everyone can hear. However, this laughter must be genuine. When all this has taken place, then the point at which laughter can be induced has been reached. After this you may proceed to your programme of humour and, rest assured, success is guaranteed.
  2. Where are several sorts of laughter.
    There is the average sort of laughter, when the whole hall laughs, but not at full volume. There is the strong sort of laughter, when just one part of the hall or another laughs, but at full volume, and the other part of the hall remains silent as, in this case, the laughter doesn't get to it at all. The former sort of laughter requires vaudeville delivery from a vaudeville actor, but the latter sort is better. The morons don't have to laugh.


(Click here for more on Kharms.)

Morons don't have to laugh. Please, keep that in mind.