'Good Morning America's' Laughathon

N E W   Y O R K, July 19, 2001 -- So you think you're the next Jerry Seinfeld?

Good Morning America is putting amateur comedians to the test, as the show continues its "All Night Long" series with a 24-hour laughathon in New York City's Times Square.

On Thursday morning, Good Morning America transformed Times Square into a comedy club, where the fun lasts all night long. And because we know how much

you love to laugh, we'll broadcast the funniest acts on the show.

Good Morning America's weatherman Tony Perkins, a former stand-up comic, hosts "Make Us Laugh … All Night Long." During the laughathon, amateur comics will try to keep New York City's Times Square in stitches all night.

After a night of a thousand laughs, Good Morning America's judges will choose the funniest five comics and those finalists will perform on Friday's show.

Then viewers get to choose the winner on ABCNEWS.com. They will vote for the funniest finalist all day Friday on Good Morning America's Web site. The comic with the most online votes will steal the spotlight on Monday's show for their Broadway performance.

Bare Essentials

Unlike television sitcoms, stand-up comedy strips humor down to its bare essentials: a comic, a stage and a microphone. And hopefully, laughter follows.

But doing stand-up comedy is a notoriously tough way to make a living. The crowd may clap, chuckle or even double over laughing. But the sound of silence scares even professional comics.

"I didn't want to be just standing there if the audience wasn't laughing," Steven Wright said in an interview with Back Stage magazine. "That's why I tell like five jokes a minute — the silence makes me too nervous."

Judy Carter, author of The Comedy Bible appeared on Good Morning America with the following tips for comics:

Make fun of yourself.

Be authentic.

Get material from bad things that happen.

Keep it short.

Naughty but nice.

Carter also says you can also quantitatively measure how funny a comic is in laughs per minute. Phyllis Diller is in the Guinness Book of World Records as having the most laughs per minute.

A laugh is measured by:

5 points if everyone is laughing and applauding

4 points if everyone is laughing and there's a smattering of applause

3 points if everyone laughs but there's no applause

2 points if some people are laughing

1 point for a titter or giggle