“I’m officially the funniest woman in the world − it’s fine, guys, you can touch me,” joked Katerina Vrana, thanking everyone who voted for her in a triumphant video that ended with the phrase “I’ll have to go inside, or else I’ll die”.

She wasn’t exaggerating − much. She was standing in the freezing cold, in Lapland, where the final of the Laugh Factory international comedy competition was being held. People were skiing behind her, while she was thanking her fans, wearing a T-shirt.

“I don’t know why I’m doing this, I thought it would be really funny — I’m freezing”, she laughed.

For all the freezing environment, Katerina Vrana is hot in the comedy world and this distinction serves as proof. Held by the US chain of comedy clubs, Laugh Factory (a colossal enterprise in the comedy universe, comprising of numerous venues, a magazine, and website), the international comedy competition saw 89 participants from 56 countries engaging in irreverent, hilarious wordplay.

Australia was represented by Celia Pacquola and Michael Shafar, who apparently didn’t make it past the first round. Apart from crowning “the best comedian in the world”, the purpose of the competition was to showcase the diverse nature of comedy and celebrate the art form as a tool for diplomacy. “Laughter brings people closer, succeeding where diplomacy and democracy have failed. It is a universal language. This event highlights an alternative ambassador − the kind that brings diplomacy through a belly laugh,” stated the website.

For the record, this ambassadorship (and the $100,000 that goes with it) went to Harith Iskander from Malaysia. But for Greeks all over the world, it’s the person who came third that is important, winning the world with her hilarious account of her experience of being a Greek in the UK (and the culture clash that ensues).