As unreliable as Wikipedia may be for research, it can be entertaining for casual purposes.
Before television, audiences often experienced comedy, whether performed live on stage, on radio, or in a movie, in the presence of other audience members. Television producers attempted to recreate this atmosphere in its early days by introducing the sound of laughter or other crowd reactions into the soundtrack of television programs.
Historically, live audiences could not be relied upon to laugh at the correct moment. Other times, the audiences could laugh too long or too loud, sounding unnatural and forced or throwing off the performers' rhythms…
Douglass used a keyboard to select the style, gender and age of the laugh as well as a foot pedal to time the length of the reaction. Inside the padlocked concoction was an endless array of recorded chuckles, yocks, and belly laughs; exactly 320 laughs on 32 tape loops, 10 to a loop. Each loop contained 10 individual audience laughs spliced end-to-end, whirling around simultaneously waiting to be cued up.
…in algebraic chess notation with "!?" showing an interesting move that may not be the best, and "?!" showing a dubious move that may be difficult to justify.
Speckter solicited possible names for the new character from readers. Contenders included rhet, exclarotive, and exclamaquest, but he settled on interrobang.
… A reverse and upside down interrobang suitable for starting phrases in Spanish, Galician and Asturian is called by some a gnaborretni (interrobang backwards).
(The irony mark should also be in wider use – it would save many misunderstandings on the internet. I also love
In Japanese, BTW, the exclamation point is called the “surprise mark.” But they only use it when referring to English, and in the language itself they use sentence-ending particles – “ka” for a question, “yo” for emphasis, “ne” to request confirmation, and a bunch that are only used by males. One of my problems reading simple Japanese novels is the lack of punctuation or quotation marks, so it looks like rather impersonal.
It’s been deleted, but there was an entry on the Motif of harmful sensation:
a recurring idea in literature: physical or mental damage that a person suffers merely by experiencing what should normally be a benign sensation.
examples being Semele being destroyed by the true form of Zeus, the shrieking of a mandrake plant, Douglas Adams’ Vogon Poetry, Kate Bush’s song Experiment IV: