Forums: Comedy: Is the laugh track really necessary?

 
  • Avatar of Tiberius86

    Tiberius86

    [1]Jan 26, 2006
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    Do we still need to be told when to laugh? I've never understood how some conventions linger on. Seems to me shows that have gone without the laugh track are funnier. The more formulaic sitcoms rely on the track, while newer sitcoms like Malcolm in the Middle and Arrested Development are fine without it. Are shows funnier with or without it? You decide!
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  • Avatar of HelloStuart

    HelloStuart

    [2]Jan 26, 2006
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    Well, I wouldn't call "Malcolm in the Middle" newer per se...

    You do make a good point, though in a way you're preaching to the choir. There hardly is any canned laughter anymore; if you hear laughs on any current show, then it's obvious that it is taped before a studio audience.
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    ZugZug4

    [3]Jan 26, 2006
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    I only enjoyed it during Scooby-Doo.
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    JunaD

    [4]Jan 27, 2006
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    My kids watch The Suite Life of Zack and Cody and they play that laugh track every 10 seconds or less, I swear. It is annoying. Sometimes I just need to get out of the room. It really dumbs the show if played too often.

    I have recently watched old reruns of Seinfeld and I didn't even remember a laugh track, but there it was. I think if a show is really funny it doesn't need it. Monk is hilarous and it doesn't have it. Smart funny doesn't need it. Dumb, Potty humor can't be watched without it, and should even be watched in my opinion.
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    jekyll

    [5]Jan 27, 2006
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    Tiberius86 wrote:
    Do we still need to be told when to laugh? I've never understood how some conventions linger on. Seems to me shows that have gone without the laugh track are funnier. The more formulaic sitcoms rely on the track, while newer sitcoms like Malcolm in the Middle and Arrested Development are fine without it. Are shows funnier with or without it? You decide!
    Sadly, yes it is necessary. Unfortunately, most people don't think a show is as funny if they don't hear laughter. Your mentioning AD, is perfect, because in this interview with Will Arnett has him recounting talking about the show with an acquaintance, and them saying basically, "I get what you're doing; it's a show with dry comedy, but I'm busy, I've got laundry to fold, just give me a laugh track and tell me where to laugh"
    http://tv.zap2it.com/tveditorial/tve_main/1,1002,271%7C92957%7C1%7C,00.html
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    alsaker85

    [6]Jan 27, 2006
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    I've gotten where I can hardly stand the laugh track anymore. (The only show with a laugh track I watch these days is That 70s Show, mostly just because I always have, and I want to see how it ends).
    Anyway, I just feel like we're being talked down to, like the TV execs think we're too stupid to know when to laugh.
    Then again, According to Jim gets better ratings that Arrested Development, so maybe people ARE too dumb. That's sad.
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    BeefHonky

    [7]Jan 28, 2006
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    Laugh tracks to me are used as a crutch by writers who aren't funny. Puh-lease! If the laugh track weren't used I think we'd all be better humans.
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    thefatskinnyguy

    [8]Jan 28, 2006
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    If there were no laugh tracks there probably would't be that many comedy shows.
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  • Avatar of Sig12047

    Sig12047

    [9]Jan 28, 2006
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    You mean that stupid audience thing? Slowly but surely, I'm starting to hate it. It adds nothing, and it makes some things out to be funnier than they are.
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  • Avatar of spooked

    spooked

    [10]Jan 28, 2006
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    Shows do seem to be 'empty' without the laugh track but that's only because we're used to them.

    I'm all for getting rid of the laugh tracks!
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    seinfeld111690

    [11]Jan 28, 2006
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    The only show I like without a laugh track is Malcolm but otherwise you need a laugh track to contribute to the mood.
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    Hungry_Homer111

    [12]Jan 28, 2006
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    I don't really mind the laugh tracks. However, some times they really are used when something isn't funny.

    An example of when the laugh track really bothered me was in an episode of Frasier, he was starting to play the song "Great Balls Of Fire" on the piano. At first, he just pressed one or two keys, and you can't tell what he's going to play. And they have the laugh track start laughing. It was a very good moment, because he is not the kind of character who usually plays that kind of song. But come on! That really bothered me. Do they really expect us to believe that the audience finds the fact that he pressed two key on the piano funny?! What was funny came a couple seconds after those two notes!
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  • Avatar of IndianaMom

    IndianaMom

    [13]Jan 28, 2006
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    Hungry_Homer111 wrote:
    I don't really mind the laugh tracks. However, some times they really are used when something isn't funny.

    An example of when the laugh track really bothered me was in an episode of Frasier, he was starting to play the song "Great Balls Of Fire" on the piano. At first, he just pressed one or two keys, and you can't tell what he's going to play. And they have the laugh track start laughing. It was a very good moment, because he is not the kind of character who usually plays that kind of song. But come on! That really bothered me. Do they really expect us to believe that the audience finds the fact that he pressed two key on the piano funny?! What was funny came a couple seconds after those two notes!


    Wasn't Frasier taped in front of an audience? I'm not sure, but it seems like it.
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  • Avatar of IndianaMom

    IndianaMom

    [14]Jan 28, 2006
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    The smarter shows don't need it. Sports Night started out with a laugh track, but it was really annoying. They later did away with it.

    Some shows seem to need it. Hearing an audience laugh gives the show energy. If you didn't hear someone laughing the show would sound boring.

    That said, many shows overdo it.
    Edited on 01/28/2006 10:13pm
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  • Avatar of Hungry_Homer111

    Hungry_Homer111

    [15]Jan 29, 2006
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    IndianaMom wrote:
    Hungry_Homer111 wrote:
    I don't really mind the laugh tracks. However, some times they really are used when something isn't funny.

    An example of when the laugh track really bothered me was in an episode of Frasier, he was starting to play the song "Great Balls Of Fire" on the piano. At first, he just pressed one or two keys, and you can't tell what he's going to play. And they have the laugh track start laughing. It was a very good moment, because he is not the kind of character who usually plays that kind of song. But come on! That really bothered me. Do they really expect us to believe that the audience finds the fact that he pressed two key on the piano funny?! What was funny came a couple seconds after those two notes!


    Wasn't Frasier taped in front of an audience? I'm not sure, but it seems like it.


    ... Now that I think about it, I think you're right. But then why did they laugh at him playing those two notes?!
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    Gilmoregirls19

    [16]Jan 29, 2006
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    A think that a show with smart humor does not need it. I think some shows like Gilmore Girls are great and very funny without a laugh track. I think that it can help fill up some shows but I think they should use a live audience if they need laughter and not get a cheap laugh track.
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    ricoborgnia

    [17]Jan 29, 2006
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    those shows aren't funny, so the audience needs to know when to laugh at the lame jokes i guess. but yeah, i am way against laughtrack. shows usually only do it for one season then go without it.
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  • Avatar of hv05

    hv05

    [18]Jan 30, 2006
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    Im against laugh-tracks... Everybody Hates Chris works-- it doesn't have one.
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    sazzlefrazzle

    [19]Jan 30, 2006
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    I think the laugh track is so unnecessary!!! Those shows that would play the laugh track constantly get on my nerves! Usually, the ones without a laugh track or the ones that actually have a live audience that has a real laughter and not that cheezy laugh track is so much better.
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    crazyrhythm

    [20]Jan 30, 2006
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    HelloStuart wrote:
    Well, I wouldn't call "Malcolm in the Middle" newer per se...

    You do make a good point, though in a way you're preaching to the choir. There hardly is any canned laughter anymore; if you hear laughs on any current show, then it's obvious that it is taped before a studio audience.

    That "taped before a studio audience" stuff is a crock. All of those shows are "sweetened" in post-production.
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