Chuck Lorre (born Charles Michael Levine, October 18, 1952) is an American television writer and executive producer/director with an extensive resume. Basically, if the show has a laugh track, it's possible Lorre has something to do with it.
Just a few of the series Lorre has created include:
- Heathcliff & the Catillac Cats (co-developed with Jean Chalopin & Alan Swayze, 1984-86)
- Grace Under Fire (1993-1998)
- Cybill (1995-1998)
- Dharma & Greg (1997-2002)
- Two and a Half Men (2003-2015)
- The Big Bang Theory (2007-2019)
- Mom (2013-2021)
- Young Sheldon (2017-)
- Disjointed (co-created with David Javerbaum, 2017-2018)
- Bob Hearts Abishola (co-developed with Eddie Gorodetsky, Al Higgins, and Gina Yashere, 2019-)
- B Positive (co-developed with Marco Pennette, 2020-22)
Lorre is also well-known for his production logo, used near-continuously since Dharma and Greg, which usually shows a lengthy essay written in a small font and is on screen for usually under two seconds, requiring the viewer to pause itnote in order to read it. In 2012, Lorre published the book What Doesn't Kill Us Makes Us Bitter, which compiles several of his essays. All of his cards can be found at his website.
Although most tropes associated with Lorre's work may be found on the corresponding show pages, here are a few consistencies in his work:
- As Himself: He made an uncredited appearance in the series finale for Two and a Half Men.
- Actor Allusion: In this case, creator allusion. A few shows have used the theme song for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1987) as an in-joke. Lorre wrote the tune.
- Production Posse: Often, Lorre will use actors he's worked with before on current programs.
- Running Gag: Lorre's title cards.
- Self-Deprecation: Most of his characters make fun of their own appearances.
- Studio Audience: Lorre is one of the few remaining sitcom producers to still shoot his shows in front of a live audience. However, he makes it a point not to use a "sweetened" Laugh Track, insisting on always using the audience's honest reactions (although he does avoid using excessive cheering or hooting).
- Take That!: One of Lorre's less savory traits is the fact that, if someone he worked with previously ended up having some form of disagreement with him, odds are he'll take a shot at him in one of his other works, and the man really won't let go of his grudges. Notably, after Charlie Sheen was fired from Two and a Half Men, Lorre retroactively had Sheen's character turned from a Jerk with a Heart of Gold into a Jerk with a Heart of Jerk, while the jokes at Sheen's expense got progressively more mean-spirited. This kept up all the way until the series finale, which aired a full four years after Sheen's departure. To add insult to injury, he even mocked Sheen in the finale's post-episode vanity card.
- Write What You Know: Alluding to the above jingle composition, Charlie on Two and a Half Men was a jingle writer.