History Main / LaughTrack

9th May '16 9:29:41 AM skidoo23
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While some claim the reason for laugh tracks is ViewersAreMorons, in their defense laughing along with everyone else in a group is a very social phenomenon and watching TV can be a very solitary phenomenon. It's not polite to laugh at something that isn't funny, not everyone has a well defined sense of humor (and that doesn't mean they are a moron, either), so the cue can be helpful to some people.

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While some claim the reason for laugh tracks is ViewersAreMorons, in their defense laughing along with everyone else in a group is a very social phenomenon and watching TV can be a very solitary phenomenon. It's not polite to laugh at something that isn't funny, not everyone has a well defined sense of humor (and that doesn't mean they are a moron, either), so the cue can be helpful to some people.
people. One other criticism of laughter tracks is that it creates an enforced NoFourthWall scenario for every series that features one, continually reminding viewers that that are viewing a performance rather than allowing for immersion into the story and characters (see, for example, ''M*A*S*H'').


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* Most Hanna-Barbera animated series of the late 1950s and into the 1960s have laugh tracks. Justified somewhat with ''Series/TheFlintstones'' as it was intended to be an animated variant on live-action sitcoms such as ''Series/TheHoneymooners'' which were recorded in front of audiences at the time.
9th May '16 9:22:31 AM skidoo23
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In the early days of television, comedies were "traditionally" performed essentially as short plays in front of a live StudioAudience, broadcast live or with minimal editing (see ThreeCameras). However, as television production grew more sophisticated in the late 1940s and early 1950s, there was at least a partial shift away from live performances to productions that were filmed movie-style, with a single camera and on a closed sound stage. The latter gave the director more freedom in selecting shots and angles, as well as the luxury of multiple takes. However, there was no longer an audience to provide instant feedback on the humor.

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In the early days of television, comedies were "traditionally" performed essentially as short plays in front of a live StudioAudience, broadcast live or with minimal editing (see ThreeCameras). However, as television production grew more sophisticated in the late 1940s and early 1950s, there was at least a partial shift away from live performances to productions that were filmed movie-style, with a single camera and on a closed sound stage.stage or on location. The latter gave the director more freedom in selecting shots and angles, as well as the luxury of multiple takes. However, there was no longer an audience to provide instant feedback on the humor.
23rd Apr '16 5:51:37 PM OnGreenDolphinStreet
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Although it may not seem so, laugh tracks were surprisingly sophisticated systems at the height of their use. Rather than being just simple recordings of a laughing audience, they were actually carefully generated and mixed, with such discrete components as "the guy who gets the joke early" and "housewife giggles" and "the one who didn't get the joke but is laughing anyway" all precisely blended and reblended to create the illusion of a real audience responding to the show. Up until the late 1970's, these were all the work of one man, Charley Douglass, who used a mysterious machine of his own invention to create those imaginary audiences for hundreds of shows.

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Although it may not seem so, laugh tracks were surprisingly sophisticated systems at the height of their use. Rather than being just simple recordings of a laughing audience, they were actually carefully generated and mixed, with such discrete components as "the guy who gets the joke early" and "housewife giggles" and "the one who didn't get the joke but is laughing anyway" all precisely blended and reblended to create the illusion of a real audience responding to the show. Up until the late 1970's, these were all the work of one man, company, owned by Charley Douglass, who which used a mysterious machine of his own invention to create those imaginary audiences for hundreds of shows.
23rd Apr '16 5:08:09 PM OnGreenDolphinStreet
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** The pantomime segments from ''The Red Skeleton Show'' are also rumored to be a source for canned laughter.
23rd Apr '16 4:58:35 PM OnGreenDolphinStreet
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Although it may not seem so, laugh tracks were surprisingly sophisticated systems at the height of their use. Rather than being just simple recordings of a laughing audience, they were actually carefully generated and mixed, with such discrete components as "the guy who gets the joke early" and "housewife giggles" and "the one who didn't get the joke but is laughing anyway" all precisely blended and reblended to create the illusion of a real audience responding to the show.

to:

Although it may not seem so, laugh tracks were surprisingly sophisticated systems at the height of their use. Rather than being just simple recordings of a laughing audience, they were actually carefully generated and mixed, with such discrete components as "the guy who gets the joke early" and "housewife giggles" and "the one who didn't get the joke but is laughing anyway" all precisely blended and reblended to create the illusion of a real audience responding to the show.
show. Up until the late 1970's, these were all the work of one man, Charley Douglass, who used a mysterious machine of his own invention to create those imaginary audiences for hundreds of shows.


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** Interestingly, Creator/{{CBS}} used this show as part of an experiment to see if comedies fared better with a laugh track than without. The pilot episode was screened to test audiences in two versions: one with laughter and one without. The first one fared better than the second one, supposedly due to the cerebral nature of the show's humor.
13th Apr '16 3:29:44 PM OnGreenDolphinStreet
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* Creator/RankinBass, following [[Creator/HannaBarbera Hanna-Barbera]]'s lead, also created a "bootleg" laugh track using samples from the Douglass library for two of their shows: ''[[WesternAnimation/TheJackson5ive The Jackson 5ive]]'' and ''The Osmonds''. The tracks were initially of poor quality, with loud laughter at every joke, sometimes in mid-sentence, but the sound engineers improved their craft by the time ''The Osmonds'' went on the air and were able to at least slightly surpass the Hanna-Barbera laugh track in quality.
11th Apr '16 8:54:10 PM OnGreenDolphinStreet
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* Creator/HannaBarbera is perhaps the biggest offender. Almost all of its ''animated'' series have laugh tracks, firing at more or less random times.

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* Creator/HannaBarbera is perhaps the biggest offender. Almost all of its ''animated'' series have laugh tracks, firing at more or less random times. It doesn't help that by 1971, instead of using the more sophisticated and costly Douglass laugh track services, the company was using a "bootleg" laugh track machine that recycled the same five laughs over and over in a very obvious fashion.
8th Apr '16 10:48:09 AM CaptainCrawdad
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* The DVD of ''[[Creator/SeltzerAndFriedberg Epic Movie]]'' actually comes with an optional laugh track.
** As does ''Date Movie'' -- It actually makes them [[SoBadItsGood somewhat tolerable]], if only by virtue of being [[WhatDoYouMeanItWasntMadeOnDrugs completely surreal]].
* This is also mentioned in the Creator/AndyKaufman {{Biopic}} ''Film/ManOnTheMoon'', when Andy explains why he is not interested in doing a [[Series/{{Taxi}} sitcom]]: "It's just stupid jokes and canned laughter! And you don't know why it's there, but it's there! And it's dead people laughing, did you know that? Those people are dead!" (Interestingly, this rant may have been [[ThrowItIn improvised]] by Creator/JimCarrey since only the first line appeared in the script.)

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* The DVD [=DVDs=] of ''[[Creator/SeltzerAndFriedberg Epic Movie]]'' actually comes with an optional laugh track.
** As does
and ''Date Movie'' -- It actually makes them [[SoBadItsGood somewhat tolerable]], if only by virtue of being [[WhatDoYouMeanItWasntMadeOnDrugs completely surreal]].
come with an optional laugh track.
* This is also mentioned in the Creator/AndyKaufman {{Biopic}} ''Film/ManOnTheMoon'', when Andy explains why he is not interested in doing a [[Series/{{Taxi}} sitcom]]: "It's just stupid jokes and canned laughter! And you don't know why it's there, but it's there! And it's dead people laughing, did you know that? Those people are dead!" (Interestingly, Interestingly, this rant may have been [[ThrowItIn improvised]] by Creator/JimCarrey since only the first line appeared in the script.)



* The first laugh track was used in 1950 on NBC's ''TheHankMcCuneShow''.

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* The first laugh track was used in 1950 on NBC's ''TheHankMcCuneShow''.''Series/TheHankMcCuneShow''.



* See also ''Series/IDreamOfJeannie'', ''Series/{{Bewitched}}'' and other contemporaneous [[SitCom sitcoms]].
** Although the Latin American dub mercifully removed it from both shows.

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* See also ''Series/IDreamOfJeannie'', ''Series/{{Bewitched}}'' and other contemporaneous [[SitCom sitcoms]].
**
sitcoms]]. Although the Latin American dub mercifully removed it from both shows.



* ''Series/ThatsSoRaven'' and ''Series/WizardsOfWaverlyPlace'' are also glaringly obvious because the shows are filled with special effects that could not possibly have been shown to any live audience. It's pretty bad when even the 9 year old wonders how the audience could react on the spot to Raven having her visions or when Alex gave one of her spells.
** According to the site audiencesunlimited.com, ''Wizards of Waverly Place'' '''does''' use a live audience. The special effects scenes may be pre-taped and shown to the audience.
** ''That's So Raven'' actually did use a live audience, but it's difficult to tell due to the fact that the canned laughter almost always drowns them out. [[http://www.tv.com/shows/thats-so-raven/forums/tapings-5090-173991/ This forum]] explains how Raven's visions were handled during the tapings.
** Oddly, these shows and every Creator/DisneyChannel show was [[FollowTheLeader inspired by]] ''Series/LizzieMcGuire'', which did not have a laugh track.
*** ''Series/ZekeAndLuther'' is the only Disney show that averts, and sadly its cancelled. Maybe that's why they use it so much else.
** ''Series/ANTFarm'', ''Series/GoodLuckCharlie'', ''Series/ShakeItUp'', and ''Series/AustinAndAlly'', to name a few, make a good effort to use the laugh track button. And YMMV, but none of the shows seem use it as much as Nick shows, which also seem to be louder than Disney's.
* The laughter in the standup scenes in ''Series/{{Seinfeld}}'' sounds rather jarringly fake compared to the audience response in the rest of the show, presumably because they got a handful of actors in to play the standup patrons. Could also be that it was the "warm-up" to the show, shown before the start.
** It doesn't help that the show itself was ''much'' funnier than the fairly tired jokes used for the standup scenes. Remember, SeinfeldIsUnfunny.

to:

* ''Series/ThatsSoRaven'' and ''Series/WizardsOfWaverlyPlace'' are also glaringly obvious because the shows are filled with special effects that could not possibly have been shown to any live audience. It's pretty bad when even the 9 year old wonders how the audience could react on the spot to Raven having her visions or when Alex gave one of her spells.
** According to the site audiencesunlimited.com, ''Wizards of Waverly Place'' '''does''' use a live audience. The special effects scenes may be pre-taped and shown to the audience.
** ''That's So Raven'' actually did use a live audience, but it's difficult to tell due to the fact that the canned laughter almost always drowns them out. [[http://www.tv.com/shows/thats-so-raven/forums/tapings-5090-173991/ This forum]] explains how Raven's visions were handled during the tapings.
** Oddly, these shows and every
Creator/DisneyChannel show was [[FollowTheLeader inspired by]] ''Series/LizzieMcGuire'', which did not have a laugh track.
*** ''Series/ZekeAndLuther'' is the only Disney show that averts, and sadly its cancelled. Maybe that's why they use it so much else.
**
''Series/ANTFarm'', ''Series/GoodLuckCharlie'', ''Series/ShakeItUp'', and ''Series/AustinAndAlly'', to name a few, make a good effort to use the laugh track button. And YMMV, but none of the shows seem use it as much as Nick shows, which also seem to be louder than Disney's.
button.
* ''Series/{{Seinfeld}}''
**
The laughter in the standup scenes in ''Series/{{Seinfeld}}'' sounds rather jarringly fake compared to the audience response in the rest of the show, presumably because they got a handful of actors in to play the standup patrons. Could also be that it was the "warm-up" to the show, shown before the start.
** It doesn't help that the show itself was ''much'' funnier than the fairly tired jokes used for the standup scenes. Remember, SeinfeldIsUnfunny.
start.
23rd Mar '16 11:38:44 AM nombretomado
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* The short-lived ComedyCentral sitcom ''Big Lake'' featured a laugh track, but its presence was for ironic and sarcastic purposes - the stuff that it triggered on were often [[CringeComedy very uncomfortable]] or [[BlackComedy dark]] situations - essentially mocking the laugh track by using it incorrectly.

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* The short-lived ComedyCentral Creator/ComedyCentral sitcom ''Big Lake'' featured a laugh track, but its presence was for ironic and sarcastic purposes - the stuff that it triggered on were often [[CringeComedy very uncomfortable]] or [[BlackComedy dark]] situations - essentially mocking the laugh track by using it incorrectly.
18th Mar '16 10:16:31 PM Hossmeister
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http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/article_history.php?article=Main.LaughTrack