Getty Images youtube.com/Warner Bros. Entertainment
Getty Images youtube.com/Warner Bros. Entertainment

What Led to Ray Liotta’s Laugh in ‘Goodfellas’? The Actor’s Facial Expression Became a Memorable Meme

Dayna Remus
May 27, 2022
04:40 P.M.

Ray Liotta is remembered through his outstanding performances, connections to some of the most fantastic cinema, and of course, memes.


On May 26, 2022, at 67 years old, Emmy Award-winning actor Ray Liotta was in the Dominican Republic when he passed away. Beyond his prolific status as an actor, Liotta has become an online internet sensation.

Liotta was the subject of a widely-known meme of him laughing from his still-most famous role as mobster Henry Hill in "Goodfellas." This scene in which the meme stems is seen as one of the most memorable in the mafia subgenre.

Ray Liotta talking with Willie Geist on “Sunday Today” on September 26, 2026. | Source:  Getty Images

Ray Liotta talking with Willie Geist on “Sunday Today” on September 26, 2026. | Source: Getty Images


Liotta's character Henry laughs with several men in this iconic scene as they all share funny anecdotes. Henry then tells Tommy DeVito, played by Joe Pesci, that he thinks he is funny.


Suddenly, tension arises as Tommy defensively asks him, "Funny how?" and an awkward exchange occurs between the two.

Eventually, the tension is released when they realize Tommy is still joking. This leaves everyone in an uproar again, with Liotta's memorable laugh coming back into the picture.


While Henry certainly comes across as a rugged individual in the film, the actor himself said that his personality is entirely different.

He explained that he had never engaged in any fight with another person. The only surprising similarity he and Henry have is that this character's laugh was also his own genuine laugh – or at least partially.

While memes of this laugh are circulating the internet now, it has been a consistent staple online. Comedian Eddie Pozos shared it last year on Twitter, writing, "The Ray Liotta laugh is legendary #SopranosNewark]."



While many people associate Liotta with "Goodfellas," he has played mountains of notable roles. True to his criminal drama genre, the actor starred alongside Johnny Depp in the 2001 film, "Blow," where he played a drug smuggler's dad.

There was also 2002's "Narc," where he played one partner of a police detective duo on the hunt for a cop killer. Jason Patric portrayed his partner.


This actor also played corrupt detective, Peter Deluca, opposite Bradley Cooper in yet another crime drama. This character was written specifically for Liotta.

One more recent movie he acted in was the highly acclaimed "Marriage Story" as the lawyer to Adam Driver's character who wants to divorce his wife, played by Scarlett Johansson.



Now Liotta is passing the stick down to the next generation with his daughter Karsen Liotta walking in his well-worn and oversized shoes.

The actress, Michelle Grace, is her mom, and so with both of her parents working in this industry, it is unsurprising that she has followed suit.

Twenty-three-year-old Karsen Liotta has always loved acting and has a natural knack for the craft. So far, she has played in multiple films such as "Teenage Badass" and "Hubie Halloween." She also acted alongside her dad in the TV show, "Shades of Blue."

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