Corpsing

corpsecorpsesavoid breaking up in laughter and ruining the takebreakingbreaking characterbreaking up laughing and ruining the sketchbroke charactercorpses from movingcracked uphaving difficulty in not laughing
Corpsing is British theatrical slang for unintentionally laughing during a non-humorous performance.wikipedia
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Breaking character

break characterbreaks characterbroke character
In North American TV and film, this is commonly referred to as breaking character or simply "breaking".
If the breaking of character is particularly serious, it is considered corpsing, which in film or television would normally result in an abandonment of that take.

Not Only... But Also

Not Only But AlsoNot Only ... But AlsoNot Only, But Also
During the "Pete and Dud" sketches in the BBC comedy series Not Only... But Also, Peter Cook would ad lib in an attempt to make Dudley Moore corpse, and often succeeded.
The series – in particular the "Pete and Dud" segments – allowed Cook the chance to adlib and both, but most famously Moore, were often reduced to helpless laughter, or "corpsing".

Dudley Moore

Dudley Moore TrioDudley Stuart John Moore
During the "Pete and Dud" sketches in the BBC comedy series Not Only... But Also, Peter Cook would ad lib in an attempt to make Dudley Moore corpse, and often succeeded.
Moore was famous for "corpsing" so as the programmes often went out live Cook would deliberately make him laugh in order to get an even bigger reaction from the studio audience.

Carnac the Magnificent

For example, during a Carnac the Magnificent sketch, Carson read the punchline "Three Dog Night", but started laughing when delivering the question ("What's a bad night for a tree?").
The longest laugh ever recorded was given to "Sis Boom Bah," which was the answer to "Describe the sound made when a sheep explodes" and resulted in both Carson and McMahon breaking character to laugh as well.

Mork & Mindy

Mork and MindyMorkBehind the Camera: The Unauthorized Story of 'Mork & Mindy
Similarly, during production of Mork and Mindy, Pam Dawber often found it impossible to maintain the proper composure in character at the sight of co-star Robin Williams's antic comic improvisations during filming, and her amused reaction is visible on aired episodes.
Pam Dawber found him so funny that she had to bite her lip in many scenes to avoid breaking up in laughter and ruining the take, often a difficult task with Williams' talent.

Pam Dawber

Similarly, during production of Mork and Mindy, Pam Dawber often found it impossible to maintain the proper composure in character at the sight of co-star Robin Williams's antic comic improvisations during filming, and her amused reaction is visible on aired episodes.
The only major difficulty for her on set was that she often found it impossible to maintain the proper composure in character in the face of her co-star's comedic talent.

Stefon

Jimmy Fallon is also known for breaking character by laughing on Saturday Night Live. Examples of this are the appearances of Bill Hader as the "City Correspondent" Stefon on SNL's "Weekend Update".
Often Hader can be seen suppressing fits of laughter (known as breaking), as some of the more outlandish descriptions are new to him.

Debbie Downer

The Saturday Night Live sketches featuring Debbie Downer (Rachel Dratch) are also notable for corpsing.
In this sketch, everyone on camera cracked up because of both the "wah-wah" sound effect and Dratch flubbing a line early on and correcting herself.

Mrs. Brown's Boys

Mrs Brown's BoysAgnes BrownMrs Brown
The Irish sitcom Mrs. Brown's Boys regularly features Agnes Brown (Brendan O'Carroll) ad libbing lines to make the other cast members corpse.
The show takes a more irregular concept as bloopers such as characters getting lines wrong or corpsing; and set, camera, and prop faults are not edited out of the episodes.

Slang

slang termSlang termsinformal
Corpsing is British theatrical slang for unintentionally laughing during a non-humorous performance.

Peter Cook

Derek and ClivePeter Cook & CoPeter Edward Cook
During the "Pete and Dud" sketches in the BBC comedy series Not Only... But Also, Peter Cook would ad lib in an attempt to make Dudley Moore corpse, and often succeeded.

Johnny Carson

CarsonJackie CarsonJohn W. "Johnny" Carson
Johnny Carson frequently corpsed during sketches on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.

The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson

The Tonight ShowThe Tonight Show with Johnny CarsonTonight Show
Johnny Carson frequently corpsed during sketches on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.

Teresa Ganzel

Carson and Matinee Lady Teresa Ganzel's comical attempts to reattach the mustache eventually caused them to openly burst out laughing.

Test Match Special

Adam MountfordTMSball-by-ball commentaries
A widely reproduced example occurred on the cricket programme Test Match Special in 1991, when Jonathan Agnew commented that a batsman "didn't quite get his leg over", causing Brian Johnston to break into helpless laughter.

Jonathan Agnew

Jonathan Philip Agnew
A widely reproduced example occurred on the cricket programme Test Match Special in 1991, when Jonathan Agnew commented that a batsman "didn't quite get his leg over", causing Brian Johnston to break into helpless laughter.

Brian Johnston

Brian Alexander JohnstonBrian Johnston Memorial Trust
A widely reproduced example occurred on the cricket programme Test Match Special in 1991, when Jonathan Agnew commented that a batsman "didn't quite get his leg over", causing Brian Johnston to break into helpless laughter.

Fawlty Towers

Miss Abitha TibbsFawlty Towers: Re-OpenedMiss Tibbs
In the final scene of the Fawlty Towers episode "Gourmet Night", when Basil (John Cleese) delves into the trifle with his hands and pulls it apart, actress Prunella Scales, who plays his wife Sybil, can clearly be seen in the background trying to suppress her laughter.

John Cleese

Cynthia CleeseJohnCleese
In the final scene of the Fawlty Towers episode "Gourmet Night", when Basil (John Cleese) delves into the trifle with his hands and pulls it apart, actress Prunella Scales, who plays his wife Sybil, can clearly be seen in the background trying to suppress her laughter.

Prunella Scales

In the final scene of the Fawlty Towers episode "Gourmet Night", when Basil (John Cleese) delves into the trifle with his hands and pulls it apart, actress Prunella Scales, who plays his wife Sybil, can clearly be seen in the background trying to suppress her laughter.

Monty Python

PythonesquePythonPythons
In the Monty Python film Life of Brian, there is a scene where Michael Palin (as Pontius Pilate) talks about a friend with the name Biggus Dickus, which causes several actors playing Roman soldiers to crack up.

Monty Python's Life of Brian

Life of BrianThe Life of BrianMonty Python’s Life of Brian
In the Monty Python film Life of Brian, there is a scene where Michael Palin (as Pontius Pilate) talks about a friend with the name Biggus Dickus, which causes several actors playing Roman soldiers to crack up.

Michael Palin

Sir Michael PalinMichael Edward PalinPalin
In the Monty Python film Life of Brian, there is a scene where Michael Palin (as Pontius Pilate) talks about a friend with the name Biggus Dickus, which causes several actors playing Roman soldiers to crack up.

Pontius Pilate

PilatePontius PilatusPilates
In the Monty Python film Life of Brian, there is a scene where Michael Palin (as Pontius Pilate) talks about a friend with the name Biggus Dickus, which causes several actors playing Roman soldiers to crack up.

Monty Python Live at the Hollywood Bowl

Hollywood BowlLive at the Hollywood Bowlconcert film
The "Church Police" sketch in Monty Python Live at the Hollywood Bowl contains a considerable amount of corpsing, particularly from Eric Idle and Terry Jones.