I like to think I am quite the jokester. Making people laugh makes me really happy. That being said, there is that difference between making people laugh and getting laughed at.
In Africa, you have to get used to people LOLing (Laughing out loud) at you...more than with you.
We stand out for obvious reasons, like the color of our skin and the way we dress, but there are countless other, more subtle things, that give us away as outsiders as well.
I was walking home one night, and passed a group of Ghanaian students. Having made eye contact with each and every one of them, I said "hi" as I walked past. Several feet behind me, I heard a Ghanaian girl repeat back "hi" in an exaggeratedly high voice, amid fits of laughter from the group. Apparently the pitch of my voice when saying the word "hi" was lol-worthy. That material wouldn't have gotten me any laughs at home, but hey, I'll take it.
In one of our lectures today, my friend Kelly responded to a question posed by the professor. Her response was eloquent and correctly answered the question. Yet, Kelly was met with loud laughter from both the class and the professor. As she was putting herself out there and trying to participate in class discussion, that was a little disheartening for her.
Moral of the story? I think I could be a really successful comedian here... if success was measured by total laughter and not the direction of the laughs...LOL.