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Canned laughter is so not funny

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    Posted: 12 Jul 2015 at 9:13pm
I was watching Reba (out of boredom might change the channel) and I noticed how fake and canned the so called "laughter" is. I hate laugh tracks! They're so fake. Now compare this to a show like Here's Lucy where people are actually laughing their asses off at something really funny. That's GENUINE LAUGHTER! I miss that laughter! The only thing that comes close to that is The Daily Show and The Nighttly Show and maybe late night shows!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Donathan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Jul 2015 at 11:14pm
I agree. Canned laughter is creepy.....
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Thor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Jul 2015 at 1:48am

Some comedies work better with a laughtrack. Others don't. There's a lot of factors to consider. I have nothing against them.



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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Donathan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Jul 2015 at 2:30am
A lot of recent and current comedy TV shows have ditched the canned laughter (Everybody Hates Chris, For Better Or Worse, and Modern Family are three good examples), and sometimes rely on musical cues to make viewers laugh.

For example, when usually soft spoken Chris suddenly launches into a shouting tirade rant when his Dad offers to let irresponsible babysitter babysit him, his brother and sister again, the musical cues is playfully dramatic. Rather than have a laugh track laugh at Chris's out of character tirade, the producers made the music funny.....
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote tvpirate05 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Jul 2015 at 4:47am
I remember watching Reba years ago, and someone in the "audience" kept clapping a couple of times after every single joke to emphasize how funny the joke was supposed to be. Got really irritating.

I know laugh tracks are nothing new, but they sound so generic nowadays.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote MrTim Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Jul 2015 at 5:54am
Saw something on PBS where they showed the actual 'canned laughter' machine.  The people that built it compiled laugh tracks from live audiences, and licensed them out to shows.  If you think about it, the same tracks (from the 40's & 50's) are probably still being used today, which means new shows are using laughter from people who are dead now.  Still, I'd rather have canned laughter than the 'dead air' style some shows use (though some of them should really use crickets or boos... LOL )
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Thor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Jul 2015 at 10:51am

If a show has a lot of one-liners and quick jokes (Big Bang Theory), laughtracks work well as they give you a second to absorb the joke and laugh at it without interfering with the next line. But if a show is supposed to be more realistic, or has fast-paced dialogue (The Middle), a laughtrack might not work as well.


As far as live laughter versus canned laughter, if a show has a lot of outdoor scenes and real locations that can't be set up on a stage inside a theater, you can't realistically have a live audience.


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Jimbo Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Jul 2015 at 12:25pm

There's only one kind of "canned laughter" as far as I'm concerned...






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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote aka ron Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Jul 2015 at 12:35pm
^LOL
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Darthhillbilly Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Jul 2015 at 12:45pm
Originally posted by Thor Thor wrote:


Some comedies work better with a laughtrack. Others don't. There's a lot of factors to consider. I have nothing against them.


Originally posted by Donathan Donathan wrote:

A lot of recent and current comedy TV shows have ditched the canned laughter (Everybody Hates Chris, For Better Or Worse, and Modern Family are three good examples), and sometimes rely on musical cues to make viewers laugh.

For example, when usually soft spoken Chris suddenly launches into a shouting tirade rant when his Dad offers to let irresponsible babysitter babysit him, his brother and sister again, the musical cues is playfully dramatic. Rather than have a laugh track laugh at Chris's out of character tirade, the producers made the music funny.....

I have no use for either "prompt", canned laughter or cue music, and both tend to put me off of most comedies. It's like Larry the Cable Guy telling you "that's funny right there, I don't care who you are"... Much like someone telling me that they're sexy, you telling me that it's so makes it even less so to me. 

Either it was funny or it wasn't. If I laughed, it was funny TO ME... if I didn't, it wasn't. You telling me where the joke is... even though most jokes in today's comedies can be seen coming from a mile away... isn't going to make me suddenly laugh. It's borderline insulting. "You're too stupid to figure out the joke, so we'll highlight it for you".
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Jimbo Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Jul 2015 at 2:10pm
I think the laugh track is more about "setting the mood" than it is about telling viewer where to laugh.

I'm guessing that from a psychological standpoint, the sound of other people laughing makes one more receptive to whatever it is that's causing the laughter & thus, makes one more prone to, if not laugh out loud along with them, at least accept that whatever it is, must be funny.

You'll notice they don't use laugh tracks in movies. That's probably at least in part, due to the fact that because movies are shown in theaters full of people, there's no need for the sound of a laughing crowd. The audience is the laughing crowd.

Probably also why you're more likely to find a comedy movie funnier if you watch it in a movie theater as opposed to at home by yourself.




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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Darthhillbilly Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Jul 2015 at 2:14pm
Originally posted by Jimbo Jimbo wrote:

I think the laugh track is more about "setting the mood" than it is about telling viewer where to laugh.

I'm guessing that from a psychological standpoint, the sound of other people laughing makes one more receptive to whatever it is that's causing the laughter & thus, makes one more prone to, if not laugh out loud along with them, at least accept that whatever it is, must be funny.

You'll notice they don't use laugh tracks in movies. That's probably at least in part, due to the fact that because movies are shown in theaters full of people, there's no need for the sound of a laughing crowd. The audience is the laughing crowd.

Probably also why you're more likely to find a comedy movie funnier if you watch it in a movie theater as opposed to at home by yourself.





And that's NOT a cue... how?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Jimbo Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Jul 2015 at 2:18pm
Originally posted by Darthhillbilly Darthhillbilly wrote:

Originally posted by Jimbo Jimbo wrote:

I think the laugh track is more about "setting the mood" than it is about telling viewer where to laugh.

I'm guessing that from a psychological standpoint, the sound of other people laughing makes one more receptive to whatever it is that's causing the laughter & thus, makes one more prone to, if not laugh out loud along with them, at least accept that whatever it is, must be funny.

You'll notice they don't use laugh tracks in movies. That's probably at least in part, due to the fact that because movies are shown in theaters full of people, there's no need for the sound of a laughing crowd. The audience is the laughing crowd.

Probably also why you're more likely to find a comedy movie funnier if you watch it in a movie theater as opposed to at home by yourself.


And that's NOT a cue... how?


I didn't say it wasn't a cue. I said it was more about setting a funny mood. I assume there is some element of the cue in there too, but I just don't think it's the main reason for it.

Or at least not the only reason for it.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Darthhillbilly Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Jul 2015 at 2:39pm
Originally posted by Jimbo Jimbo wrote:

Originally posted by Darthhillbilly Darthhillbilly wrote:

Originally posted by Jimbo Jimbo wrote:

I think the laugh track is more about "setting the mood" than it is about telling viewer where to laugh.

I'm guessing that from a psychological standpoint, the sound of other people laughing makes one more receptive to whatever it is that's causing the laughter & thus, makes one more prone to, if not laugh out loud along with them, at least accept that whatever it is, must be funny.

You'll notice they don't use laugh tracks in movies. That's probably at least in part, due to the fact that because movies are shown in theaters full of people, there's no need for the sound of a laughing crowd. The audience is the laughing crowd.

Probably also why you're more likely to find a comedy movie funnier if you watch it in a movie theater as opposed to at home by yourself.


And that's NOT a cue... how?


I didn't say it wasn't a cue. I said it was more about setting a funny mood. I assume there is some element of the cue in there too, but I just don't think it's the main reason for it.

Or at least not the only reason for it.


Fair enough.  Wink
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Papa Lazarou Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Jul 2015 at 4:49pm
I think it started out as part of an immersive element.

At the dawn of entertainment technology, there had only been plays; things you watch with a large audience and the reaction is large and hefty.

Radio did comedies, talk shows, and sometimes even semi-dramatic in front of an audience, recording the reactions alongside the show.

So television shows most likely tried to encapsulate that same feeling of watching an immersive 30-minute play performed on set while you watch with an invisible audience. It especially seems accurate if you look at how theatric the filming was (Lots of static cameras on obvious sets, similar to how early films were before they understood the full potential)

After some point I imagine it became more traditional than intentional.

Of course, I think that part of the issue is simply advancing technology.

All U.K. sitcoms, especially by the BBC are recorded in front of an actual live audience (TV Licence payers can go to the BBC recording studio and get tickets to watch the recordings).

I imagine that - whereas before they had to sort of wait for the audience to calm down (A lot of this happens on I Love Lucy), now they can control the volume of the actual recording of the show and the audience recording, so what might make it seemed like "canned laughter" is actually a lot of over-editing to a genuine audience reaction.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote crainbebo Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Jul 2015 at 5:34pm
I believe Big Bang Theory still has a real, live laugh track as they are taping. Seinfeld did for the regular scenes inside the apartment, the other scenes were canned. And of course, Cheers was a live audience as well.
Some shows that have a blooper/gag reel have really wild laughter. I have seen this on Seinfeld reels, when it's not canned.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Darthhillbilly Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Jul 2015 at 5:42pm
I don't have a problem with a genuine audience reaction, edited or otherwise, and it's pretty easy to tell the difference. Actual human laughter would sound a little different each time... the higher-pitched laughter starting a half-second behind the lower pitch after this joke, but simultaneously on the next joke, and so on. It would almost never, if ever, sound exactly the same 2 or more times in a row.

I'm talking about the blatantly obvious laugh track... the one with zero variation, always the exact same tones, in the exact same sequence. At least that's what I mean when I say "canned laughter".


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Papa Lazarou Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Jul 2015 at 5:43pm
^Interesting on the Seinfeld bit.

In BBC shows, outdoor scenes are shown on screens and the audience still reacts in real time. Probably extra good for costume changes and minor set alterations..which I think kind of boosts the point of the theatrics of it all.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote aka ron Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Jul 2015 at 5:58pm
Home Improvement also had a live studio audience.
 
I heard somewhere that you can hear Desi Arnez laughing in the laugh track for I Love Lucy.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Papa Lazarou Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Jul 2015 at 6:09pm
I heard a rumour that you could hear Harvey Korman laughing in the Carol Burnett Show...I think it's bogus, though...
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Erick Cartman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 Jul 2015 at 11:29pm
Anyone producer with even a shred of dignity would only tape his Comedies in front of a live studio audience, and let those real people be the judge of what's funny and what's not funny. The laughter would sound miles better coming from real people and not a machine.
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