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Risible explores the forgotten history of laughter, from ancient Greece to the sitcom stages of Hollywood. Delia Casadei approaches laughter not as a phenomenon that can be accounted for by studies of humor and theories of comedy but rather as a technique of the human body, knowable by its repetitive, clipped, and proliferating sound and its enduring links to the capacity for language and reproduction. This buried genealogy of laughter re-emerges with explosive force thanks to the binding of laughter to sound reproduction technology in the late nineteenth century. Analyzing case studies ranging from the early global market for phonographic laughing songs to the McCarthy-era rise of prerecorded laugh tracks, Casadei convincingly demonstrates how laughter was central to the twentieth century’s development of the very category of sound as not-quite-human, unintelligible, reproductive, reproducible, and contagious.