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Two perspectives on laugh tracks

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Stan The Caddy

PostPosted: July 23, 2003 4:54 PM 

In a previous blog entry, I talked about the laugh tracks used in sitcoms, Seinfeld included. After posting that entry, I received two emails on the subject, each offering a different perspective. The first was from a psychology major who has studied research on laugh tracks: "There have been a number of studies in which researchers found that people rate something as funnier when it is accompanied by a laugh track than when it is not." The second email was from a woman who has been deaf for over 20 years, who watches television with closed captioning. Despite never hearing the laugh track, she said Seinfeld has always made her laugh: "However I have now seen every episode about 10 times and I still laugh til I cry. My point being is that I dont think their needs to be a laugh track- if a show is funny, its funny!!" Very interesting perspectives on the matter.

Curb Your Enthusiasm doesn't have a laugh track, and I think it's pretty hilarious.


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PostPosted: August 1, 2003 3:29 PM 

Interesting thoughts.

Most of the time, I'm not disturbed by them. But as soon as I start to think about how ridicilous (spelling?) it is, I get frustraded.

Hey, I now wat's funny by myself! Like I need any guidanse.

Anyway. Mabye I'm way of here, but I actually thought I heard Jerrys laugh in the laugh track in one episode... don't remember wich one thoug. But somewhere around episode 40 i think.

So don't forget to listen.

Kavorka, Sweden


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PostPosted: September 23, 2004 2:55 AM 

Please someone find HARD evidence for my foreign ( and naive ) friend who seems unabvle to accept that the canned laughter on Seinfeld is canned.

His name is

Cockeyed Optimist

Posts: 537

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PostPosted: September 25, 2004 1:08 PM 

Interesting, and true.

Assistant to the Traveling Secretary

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PostPosted: October 19, 2004 3:16 AM 

Really interesting topic. I've thougth about this a lot, especially since I was first exposed to "Curb Your Enthusiasm," which has no laugh track. I think the issue is comfort. When there is a laugh track, you feel more comfotably laughing, because you hear others laughing. It's just group mentality. Though you would find it just as funny without the laugh track, you're more likely to laugh out loud with the laugh track. It's the same thing with watching a comedy with friends as opposed to watching it alone. Personally, I laugh more when I watch it with friends, just because they're laughing too, and I get more caught up in the humor.

I often feel more comfortable watching a show with a laugh track, for those reasons, but you're right -- when I stop to think about it, it seems really strange.

Assistant to the Traveling Secretary

Posts: 133

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PostPosted: October 19, 2004 3:18 AM 

Actually, this reminds me of a question I've had for a while. Seinfeld was filmed in front of a live studio audience, wasn't it? If so, does anyone know how much of the laughter is real (live), and how much is a recorded laugh track?

Teddy Padillac

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PostPosted: November 10, 2004 11:27 AM 

"You know, those are dead people laughing?"


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PostPosted: January 28, 2005 5:47 PM 

i watch seinfeld here and there and some of it is funny ..but i dont need a laugh track to tell me when i should find something ammusing

every show that has one usually has 98% unfunny crappy jokes based on situational obviousness repeated over the generations to where anybody that has watched tv for more than a month can see whats coming

STOP USING LAUGH TRACKS, basically corporate america thinks youre too stupid to realise a joke so they decide to laugh for you

whats worse is when actors pause as if there is an actaul audience laughing at their non-funny material

the solution? no laugh track funny shows will live on ..ones that just plain suck will have to give up using the boring overplayed humor and get the hell off the air

want examples? look at cartoons

simpsons, futurama, family guy etc..

smart humor

the same people that fall into laugh track jokes are the ones that find the jew-bashing and poop toliet humor of south park funny

damn them to hell

Cockeyed Optimist

Posts: 537

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PostPosted: January 31, 2005 8:08 AM 

Some people need it to laugh and some don't. Didn't They taped Seinfeld in front of an live audiance? So there are real laughers.


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PostPosted: March 10, 2005 7:58 PM 

My 2 cents: I loathe laugh tracks. I mean I &@#$ing HATE laugh tracks (and therefore 99% of most sitcoms).

It's one of the reasons I've always had a hard time watching most sitcoms. Seinfeld included. I have this really close friend who has spent years practically bending over backwards just to get me into the show, but I never really could. Sure, I recognize the exemplary writing (Larry David rocks), and appreciate the fine performances, but I simply cannot get over the canned laughter.

I'm sorry for being elitist here, but I can't imagine anyone with half a brain feeling "more comfortable" laughing simply because they hear a canned laugh track. That's kind of like feeling more comfortable eating simply because there's a plate of wax fruit in front of you.

Evil or Very Mad

Bad Breaker Upper

Posts: 3306

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PostPosted: March 22, 2005 10:15 AM 

It's more like people who watch Seinfeld don't need a laugh track. But the network puts them in all sitcoms anyway so that drooling, single-digit IQ idiots like you will know when to laugh...But even that doesn't help someone as mentally-deficient as you, since you don't get any of it....oh, well, we tried.

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