Joaquin Phoenix’s chilling uncontrollable laughter in Joker might have creeped you out. What if we tell you that there is someone out there who lives with a pathological laughing disorder much like the villain Arthur Fleck.
A 47-year-old man in Virginia, USA, has the same pathological laughing disorder, called the pseudobulbar affect (or PBA), which is a symptom of his multiple sclerosis. The condition leaves him to have uncontrollable laughing episodes that can last up to 10 minutes.
In a recent interview with a UK-based social publisher, Scott Lotan explained how scary and painful these episodes are — they not only land him up in uncomfortable and weird situations, but also leave him exhausted.
He also recalled incidents when he was not served in a restaurant or was asked to leave because waiters felt uncomfortable around him. He also recalled how during his outings with friends, people with low self-esteem would end up fighting with him assuming that he is laughing at them.
Lotan added that he tries to be fully aware of himself in public and understand that his condition is beyond his control. But knowing that others usually think of him as a freak, he ends up explaining to people that he isn’t an emotionally void psychopath.
Due to his condition, Lotan understands the plight of Fleck in the movie Joker. The movie has shone a spotlight on the broadly misunderstood disorder.
He feels Phoenix did a phenomenal job in depicting the condition, where he is unable to stop laughing irrespective of the circumstances. Lotan also found similarities between the bus scene in the movie and his real-life incidences, where he feels a deep sense of rejection. Just like Arthur, he also has to deal with misunderstandings and isolation on a regular basis because of something he literally has no control over.