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I'm gonna do something really bad.
~ Laugher as he prepares to set Phoebe and Mike on fire.

Laugher (real name unknown) is the secondary antagonist of the 2015 action comedy film American Ultra. He is a former mental patient whom corrupt CIA agent Adrian Yates uses as an assassin in his attempt to kill rogue "asset" Mike Howell.

He was portrayed by Walton Goggins, who also portrayed Billy Crash in Django Unchained, Shane Vendrell in The Shield, Lee Russell in Vice Principals, Sonny Burch in Ant-Man and the Wasp, El Cameleón in Machete Kills, and Mathias Vogel in Lara Croft: Tomb Raider.


Laugher was one of the subjects of a secret CIA operation called "Toughguy", in which young men with criminal records were put through intensive training and a regime of mind-altering drugs in an effort to turn them into perfect killing machines. The program is unsuccessful, however, warping the subjects' minds and leaving them completely insane. The CIA had the subjects' memories erased and committed them to psychiatric hospitals to prevent anyone finding out about the failed operation. As a result of the psychological abuse he went through, Laugher laughs maniacally at virtually everything, hence his code name.

American Ultra

Years later, corrupt CIA agent Adrian Yates frees Laughter to use him to eliminate Mike Howell, a test subject of another mind control operation, "Wiseman", who survived the program with his mind intact, albeit with no conscious memory of what he went through.

Agent Victoria Lasseter tries to save Howell to activating his training with a series of code phrases, which results in Howell and his girlfriend/CIA handler Phoebe Larson being arrested. Laugher and another Toughguy subject, Crane, storm the jail and kill the police inside, but Howell manages to kill Crane, knock Laugher's front teeth out, and escape with Larsen.

Laugher catches up with them and once again attacks Howell, who now knows about his past with the Wiseman program. He traps Howell inside Larsen's car, and makes Larsen watch as he sets in on fire. He then takes Larsen to Yates, unaware that Lasseter saved Howell before the car exploded. As Yates gloats about his plan to kill Howell and cover it up by killing everyone in the town and making it look like a drone misfire, Laugher has a brief moment of remorse.

After the drone strike is foiled, Yates has Laugher lead a group of fellow Toughguy subjects into a grocery store to kill Howell and Larsen. Howell quickly dispatches all but Laughter, who engages him in brutal hand-to-hand combat that leaves them both severely wounded. As Laugher slumps to the floor, defeated, Howell prepares to kill him, but ultimately takes pity on him and simply sits beside him. Laugher tells Howell that he was made the way he is, and asks whose voice is in Howell's head telling him what to do. When Howell replies, "No one," Laughter says, "Must be nice.".

While Laugher's ultimate fate is not explicitly revealed, it is implied that he dies of his injuries.