Local Man Nearly Dies Laughing

Fake News written by Marybeth Niederkorn on Sunday, August 3, 2003

from the calling-all-lawyers dept.

CAPE GIRARDEAU -- Disaster struck today as George Klein, 45, literally split his sides laughing.

"You hear the stories," he said, between the respirator's forced breaths. "You hear about people hearing a joke so funny they died laughing, or about some comedian slaying them or how they really killed the audience.

"I never took that seriously...until now."

According to the statement Klein filed, he was watching an episode of the popular sitcom Everybody Loves Raymond when "unexpectedly, [the character] Robert [played by Brad Garrett] said 'Oh yeah, eeeeeeeevrybody loves Raymond...' and then I just lost it."

Lost more than he bargained for, as it turns out. As he was laughing, he began to feel pressure on his ribcage, and says that the studio audience's reaction put him under a kind of trance that forced him to continue laughing until his sides literally split.

"I was ashamed," he says. "I mean, how do you call 9-1-1 and say your sides split? They'd just laugh at me and then where would I be?

"So I told them I fell down some stairs."

Not accepting this story readily, hospital officials called the police, who managed to drag the actual story from a humiliated Klein.

"I didn't want to tell them," he says. "I knew I'd never live it down. I'd be a laughingstock. And then it hit me! Why not sue 'em? Fat people are suing McDonald's -- why can't I sue these guys?"

And not just the powerhouse team behind Raymond. He plans to sue the entire comedy industry, from the struggling stand-up comedians of Los Angeles and New York to moguls like Garry Marshall and Mel Brooks, for emotional stress and for the payment of his hospital bills.

"I expect at least a two-year recovery time," says his physician, Dr. Abalone. "And that money has to come from somewhere."

"Besides," Klein added, "I think there's malice and deliberate intent to cause physical harm here. All comedians do is try to catch people off guard, and isn't that what criminals do right before an assault? At least that's what my lawyer said."

Eventually, Klein hopes to have comedy outlawed. "At least that will prevent more mishaps like mine."