• Switzerland's news in English
 
app_header_v3
President goes viral with sombre speech about laughter
Johann Schneider-Ammann shows he's a laugh-a-minute. Photo: Emmanuel Dunand/AFP

President goes viral with sombre speech about laughter

The Local · 8 Mar 2016, 11:55

Published: 08 Mar 2016 11:55 GMT+01:00

The film, shown by Swiss broadcaster RTS on Sunday, sees a sombrely-dressed Schneider-Ammann advise us about the therapeutic effects of laughing, without once cracking a smile himself.

The speech aimed to promote the annual Tag der Kranken – or ill-health day – a Swiss initiative which this year has the theme of laughter.

“The therapeutic benefits of humour are well-known,” says the president in all seriousness.

The contrast between the message of the video and the president’s funereal delivery has certainly made people laugh – but perhaps not in the way organizers wished.

“Mission accomplished: you certainly feel better after listening to this,” said Belgian broadcaster RTBF, one of the many media outlets around Europe that mocked the speech.

“Gaze fixed on the prompter, serious manner, monotone voice... The president seems very depressed,” worried the French Huffington Post.

French TV channel Canal+ also waded in, mocking the president’s choice of message.

“A cynical laugh that aims to deride someone is not good laughter, in my opinion,” says Schneider-Ammann in a particular clip picked up by Canal+ news programme Le Petit Journal.

“S**t. That’s exactly what we are doing,” says presenter Yann Barthès, to laughter in the studio.

“He doesn’t realize that he’s made the funniest speech in the history of Switzerland,” adds Barthès.

The video also amused many on Twitter, who called for the president to make more speeches.

“I hope that Johann Schneider-Ammann has prepared a little sketch for International Women’s Day!” said one tweeter.

Another, Martin Grandjean, tweeted: “Ladies, gentlemen, the president of the confederation (he’s also available for weddings, baptisms and other festivals)”.

A Swiss initiative, the Tag der Kranken – or ill-health day – was founded in 1939 by a tuberculosis specialist with the aim of furthering understanding of certain illnesses and promote understanding between ill people and caregivers.

Each year it focuses on a particular theme.

“Laughter unites, it communicates, it brings moments of happiness,” said the organization on its website.

In this case it certainly has.

Story continues below…

“Despite your suffering, keep smiling,” Schneider-Ammann says in conclusion – without even a glimmer of a smile himself.

 

For more news from Switzerland, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

The Local (news@thelocal.ch)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Prison for woman who faked Swiss airport bomb threat
Geneva airport. Photo: eGuide Travel

The 41-year-old French mother of four provoked a massive security scare at Geneva airport.

Hot weather causes forest fire fears in Valais
Bonfires are traditionally lit to celebrate Swiss National Day. Photo: Marcus Gyger/Swiss Tourism

National Day fireworks and bonfires should be staged with caution, says the canton.

Swiss National Day: five traditions all expats should try
Want to learn to play the alphorn? File photo: Christof Sonderegger/Swiss Tourism

Celebrate Swiss National Day on August 1st by learning these proud Swiss traditions.

Swiss bank bounces back from losses
File photo: Emmanuel Dunand

Credit Suisse is back in profit following a first quarter dip.

Man falls to his death over dropped ski pole
The site of the accident. Photo: Valais cantonal police

Frenchman dies after he went to pick up a dropped ski pole and fell 200 metres down a mountain.

Young migrant injured after jumping from window
The girl was staying in a centre for asylum seekers in Zweisimmen. Photo: Vasile Cotovanu

A 15-year-old girl due to be deported from Switzerland is in hospital after jumping from a window.

Woman faked airport bomb threat over marital tiff
The bomb threat caused a big security alert at Geneva airport. File photo: Richard Juilliart

Wednesday's bomb threat was invented by a woman who wanted to get revenge on her husband’s mistress.

Bencic joins Federer in opting out of Rio

The Swiss is the latest top 20 tennis star to pull out of Olympics.

Swiss sports court heads to Rio Olympics
CAS has relocated from Lausanne (pictured) to Rio to deal with doping matters. Photo: CAS

The Lausanne-based Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has temporarily relocated to Rio so it can make rulings over Olympic doping from the scene.

Police step up security at Geneva airport after tip-off
File photo: eGuide Travel

UPDATE: Police gradually withdraw security measures put in place this morning after an unspecified threat against the building.

File photo: Chase Elliott Clark
Lifestyle
Study: a fifth of Swiss spy on neighbours
Photo: Katwarn.de
National
Switzerland mulls alarm text message service
Photo: The Local
National
Study: grazing cows are worse for the environment
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Photo: Kecko
National
Terror fears trigger Swiss run on guns
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Photo: Commune d'Ayent
National
Spectacular Valais ‘bisse’ to feature on new banknote
Photo: Swiss Post
National
Swiss Post moves to accept debit cards – sometimes
Photo: Chris Marquardt
Lifestyle
Police break up dispute over late-night laundry
Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
Photo: Grand Tours Project
Features
Why you should get on your bike in Switzerland
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
Photo: The Local
Society
Swiss village tells landlords: don’t rent homes to refugees
Photo: Rolf Krahl/Christophe G
International
Survey: world willing to pay more for ‘Swissness’
Photo: The Local
International
Chaos in Como after Swiss send back refugees
Photo: AFP/The Local
Lifestyle
Nine top celebrity hotspots in Switzerland
Photo: Graubunden police
National
World-class Swiss climber Norbert Joos dies on ‘home mountain’
Photo: Kathleen Waters
Society
Italian ‘ignored’ by Swiss schools in language wars
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Photo: Whitepod
Features
The quirkiest places to stay in Switzerland
International
Migrant busted trying to sneak into Switzerland in a suitcase
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
Photo: Jonathan Kos-Read
National
Basel suffers wettest six months for 150 years
Photo: Georges Gobet/AFP
Technology
Why Swiss science could suffer badly from Brexit fallout
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Photo: Robert Valencia
International
Swiss couple in Nicaragua told to give back adopted daughter
Photo: Zurich cantonal police
National
Police hunt prisoner on the run in Zurich murder case
Photo: Christoph G
Politics
Switzerland sets out law on expelling foreign criminals
Photo: Bernacqua
Lifestyle
Drone shocks nudists at Swiss waterpark
Photo: Basel Justice and Security Dept
Lifestyle
New signs lay down law and order for Basel prostitutes
4,556
jobs available