I remember hearing this expression when people were referring to the worst people in their line of work. My dad said this lazy co-worker of his was considered to be the laughing stock among insurance salesman. He wore old-fashioned suits and a bow tie, and he sounded like a traveling salesman from the 1940s. Very few people took him seriously when he went from door to door.
Personally, I'd hate being thought of as the laughing stock of anything. If I ever found out I was the butt of other people's jokes, I'd be extremely upset at both them and myself. I've heard of people going from laughing stock to champion through hard work, though.