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I'm gonna tell you a joke you can't refuse...

I’m gonna tell you a joke you can’t refuse…

It’s official! You CAN die laughing. It can take anything from 10-25 minutes of non-stop laughing before your heart stops, your lungs collapse and your brain dies.

Fortunately, it’s quite rare. In the UK only 183 people died laughing last year. Although the population of America is five times greater than the UK, only 87 people died laughing because the Americans don’t understand irony.

Across Europe as a whole, excluding the UK, 237 people died laughing. This figure was greatly reduced by the inclusion of Belgium where only one person died laughing and he was a tourist who laughed himself to death when presented with a restaurant bill.

However, deaths from laughing are on the increase, up 17% year on year over the last seven years. America has seen the biggest jump from no reported incidents in 2012 to the current 87 level.

Experts believe this is due to hitmen swapping guns for jokes. “After all,” said one researcher. “It’s not illegal to tell a joke. At least not yet!”

Benny “the quip” Cupaldi told us: “I like a gun – you just point, pull the trigger and bam! But the boss says we gotta move with the times and even if we get caught, there ain’t no law against telling jokes.

“Of course, it’s not easy making a mark laugh when he’s tied to a chair in a basement but them’s the apples.”

It’s also rumoured that some professional comedians are turning to this as a sideline in between gigs.

One famous Scottish comedian who asked not to be named confessed: “I only do jobs I believe in, like for really bad people. I’d really like more politicians and bankers but I take what I can get.”

He admitted he toned his act down during live performances so as not to kill any of the audience. “It’s a fine line you have to tread as a comedian,” he added.

So, yes, you CAN die laughing, but the general public should have nothing to worry about – unless you’re a really, really bad person.

You’ll be perfectly safe going to a Michael McIntyre show.

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