A claqueur is a professional applauder. That’s right. They earned a living by attending operas, plays and ballets and clapping loudly. The position has appeared throughout history in some form wherever there were people whose large egos needed massaging, but it began to be formalized into an actual career in France during the Renaissance. By the 1800s, there were even professional organizations for them, and specialized skills: there were those hired to weep at tragedies, others who would laugh infectiously during comedies, and some guaranteed to cry out for encores. They could even extort money from popular performers with the threat of booing during their bows. So, who needs a claqueur today? Everyone! Imagine how much better life would be with someone guaranteed to find your jokes hilarious and your stories fascinating.