Just a really quick one today. I saw this article about people who have actually died from laughing (okay, it probably wasn't the laughing itself that killed them, but exhaustion, insufficient air flow, or heart problems that resulted from the laughing. Still). There are loads of them, but I'm only going to record the one that was nearest to the Victorian era (albeit 50+ years away):
'1782. Northhamptonshire resident Mrs. Fitzherbert, [died] after attending a Wednesday-night performance of John Gay's The Beggar's Opera. The "whimsical appearance" of the actor playing Polly made her laugh "without intermission until Friday morning, when she expired"'.
The Beggar's Opera must have been good, since it was (at the time of its original run) the second-longest running performance in theatre history, and has since been called 'the most popular play of the eighteenth century'. It spoofed Italian opera, using popular tunes with different lyrics (broadside ballads, hymns, folk songs, etc). It has since be re-adapted and turined into the (probably more well-known) Three-Penny Opera.