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Encyclopedia > Laugh track

A laugh track, laughter track or canned laughter is a separate soundtrack with the artificial sound of audience laughter, made to be inserted into TV comedy shows and sitcoms, mostly in the United States. The first television show to incorporate a laugh track was The Hank McCune Show in 1950.[1] // In film formats, the sound track is the physical area of the film which records the synchronized sound. ... Sound is a disturbance of mechanical energy that propagates through matter as a longitudinal wave, and therefore is a mechanical wave. ... An audience is a group of people who participate in an experience or encounter a work of art, literature, theatre, music or academics in any medium. ... A young child laughing Laughter is an expression or appearance of merriment or amusement. ... For other uses, see Television (disambiguation). ... Comedy has a classical meaning (comical theatre) and a popular one (the use of humour with an intent to provoke[[ laughter in general). ... A sitcom or situation comedy is a genre of comedy performance originally devised for radio but today typically found on television. ... The Hank McCune Show was an American television comedy notable for apparently being the first show to incorporate a laugh track. ... Year 1950 (MCML) was a common year starting on Sunday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ...

Contents

History and usage

Before television, audiences often experienced comedy, whether performed live on stage, on radio, or in a movie, in the presence of other audience members. Television producers attempted to recreate this atmosphere in its early days by introducing the sound of laughter or other crowd reactions into the soundtrack of television programs.


Sweetening is a tool in comedy or awards programs that uses a laugh track if there was a lesser reaction than desired. Sweetening is extremely common in Teen Choice Awards and Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards. The Kids' Choice Awards heavily uses laugh tracks that feature adults despite the audience are actually pre-teens.[citation needed] Laugh tracks are used extensively in Disney Channel Original Series sitcoms such as That's So Raven, The Suite Life of Zack and Cody, Hannah Montana,and Cory in the House.[citation needed] This is also true for Disney's top competitor, Nickelodeon, which is now forced to use laugh tracks on shows such as Just Jordan and Drake and Josh due to their decision to do away with their now-defunct original studios. Sweetening is a term in television that refers to the use of a laugh track in addition to a live studio audience. ... The Teen Choice Awards is an awards show that has been annually televised on FOX and on Global TV in Canada[1] since the summer of 1999. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... Disney Channel is known for its original series. ... Thats So Raven is an American sitcom television series broadcast on the Disney Channel. ... The Suite Life of Zack and Cody, is an American childrens television series that airs on the Disney Channel. ... Hannah Montana can refer to: Hannah Montana (TV series), the Disney Channel Original Series Hannah Montana (album), the soundtrack to the first season of the show Hannah Montana 2: Meet Miley Cyrus the soundtrack to the second season of the show Hannah Montana (video game), a title for the Nintendo... Cory in the House is an American childrens television series on the Disney Channel and a spin-off from the hit Disney Channel Original Series Thats So Raven. ... This article needs additional references or sources for verification. ... Just Jordan is a Nickelodeon TV series starring Lil JJ that premiered on January 7, 2007. ... (From the Left) Josh Peck, Miranda Cosgrove and Drake Bell. ... Opening Day, June 1990 Nickelodeon Studios (opened June 7, 1990 – closed April 30, 2005) was an attraction at Universal Studios Florida. ...


Laugh tracks have been used in some traditionally animated television series, which do not have live audiences. The Flintstones and The Jetsons originally aired with laugh tracks, but later aired with the laugh track removed.[citation needed] Other cartoons that at least originally had laugh tracks include The Pink Panther Show, Scooby-Doo, and the very first episodes of Rocky and His Friends.[citation needed] Traditional animation, also referred to as classical animation, cel animation, or hand-drawn animation, is the oldest and historically the most popular form of animation. ... An animated series or cartoon series is a television series produced by means of animation. ... The Flintstones is an American animated television series produced by Hanna-Barbera Productions. ... The Jetsons was a prime-time animated television series produced by Hanna-Barbera Productions, and aired on Sunday nights on ABC from September 23, 1962 to March 3, 1963. ... The Pink Panther Show is a showcase of United Artists animated cartoons from the 1960s and 1970s. ... Scooby-doo is also British naval divers slang for civilian sport scuba diver. Scooby-Doo is an important character in animation up to this day Scooby-Doo is a long-running animated series produced for television by Hanna-Barbera Productions from 1969 to 1986, 1988 to 1991, and from 2002... The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show (also known as Rocky and His Friends and The Bullwinkle Show) was a television animated series created and produced in the USA by Jay Ward. ...


In East Asia, laugh tracks are often loud and exaggerated in comedy-variety shows despite it being filmed with a small live audience. Hong Kong is infamous for using only one laugh track that is known to be exaggerated and dated. Geographic East Asia. ...


A well-known gag often used in satirical comedy is the use of a laughter track which cuts off unnaturally abruptly after each burst of laughter or applause, emphasizing its artifice and therefore its implied insincerity. Shows such as Monty Python's Flying Circus pioneered this gag. Sitcoms such as Friends use this gag in bizarre situations. A visual gag is a joke that relies on a physical object or action. ... 1867 edition of the satirical magazine Punch, a British satirical magazine, ground-breaking on popular literature satire. ... This article discusses the series itself. ... This article needs additional references or sources for verification. ...


In some cases, laugh tracks are used as a source of humor in themselves. For example, one video game, Mystical Ninja Starring Goemon, features a laugh track after certain lines of text dialog used for humorous effect, particularly since there being a live audience would be impossible for a video game. Mystical Ninja Starring Goemon Ganbare Goemon ~New Dance of the Peach Mountain Shogunate~) is a video game released by Konami for the Nintendo 64 on August 7, 1997 in Japan and April 16, 1998 in North America. ...


Laugh-track-free production

Larry Gelbart, creator of the TV series M*A*S*H, has said that he initially wanted the show to air entirely without a laugh track ("Just like the actual Korean War", he is said to have remarked dryly). However, CBS rejected the idea. Eventually a compromise was reached, and the producers of the series were not required to include a laugh track on operating room scenes on the show. As a result few scenes in the operating room contain canned laughter. Some syndicated and international versions omitted the laugh track completely, and the DVD release gives the viewer a choice of laughing or non-laughing soundtracks. [2] Gelbart wasn't the first producer to refuse to use a laugh track on a CBS show, however. When he created The Alvin Show in 1961, Ross Bagdasarian refused to use a laugh track, reasoning that if the show was funny, the viewers would laugh without being prompted. The show was cancelled after one season. Larry Gelbart (b. ... A television program is the content of television broadcasting. ... M*A*S*H is an American television series developed by Larry Gelbart, inspired by the 1968 Richard Hooker (penname for H. Richard Hornberger) novel M*A*S*H: A Novel About Three Army Doctors and its sequels, but primarily by the 1970 film MASH, and influenced by the 1961... CBS is one of the largest radio and television networks in the United States. ... This article or section seems not to be written in the formal tone expected of an encyclopedia entry. ... Ross Bagdasarian (January 27, 1919 – January 16, 1972) was an American pianist, songwriter, actor, and record producer of Armenian ethnic descent, born in Fresno, California. ...


In a similar case, Sports Night premiered with a laugh track, against the wishes of show creator Aaron Sorkin, but the laugh track became more subtle as the season progressed and was completely removed at the start of the second season.[citation needed] In some cases a laugh track was needed to maintain continuity, as portions of each episode were filmed in front of a live audience, the remainder being filmed without an audience present.[citation needed] This article is about the American television series. ... Aaron Benjamin Sorkin (born on June 9, 1961 in New York City) is an American screenwriter, producer and playwright. ...


Alan Spencer's Sledge Hammer! aired with a laugh track for the first 12 episodes including the pilot, but Spencer was not impressed by ABC editing the episodes. Later on, the video releases had all the laugh tracks removed.[3] Sledge Hammer! was a satirical police sitcom that ran for two seasons on ABC from 1986 to 1988. ... The American Broadcasting Company ( oftenly known as ABC) operates television and radio networks in the United States and is also shown on basic cable in Canada. ...


Though the use of canned laughter reached its peak in the 1960s, the trend began to reverse with the 1971 debut of All in the Family. As proclaimed over the closing credits each week ("All in the Family was filmed before a live studio audience") the sitcom relied solely on live, unprompted audience response. This changed, however, by the 1974 season, when some canned laughter was inserted (most notably a distinguishable female laugh which could be heard in many episodes). Towards the end of the show's run, All in the Family was heavily "sweetened."[citation needed] The 1960s decade refers to the years from January 1, 1960 to December 31, 1969, inclusive. ... Year 1971 (MCMLXXI) was a common year starting on Friday (link will display full calendar) of the 1971 Gregorian calendar. ... This article needs additional references or sources for verification. ... This article needs additional references or sources for verification. ...


Laugh-track-free production has been gaining ground in the US. Such shows are often produced in the more expensive "drama style," using on-location shooting and high production values, as opposed to the standard multi-camera sitcom sound stage. Recent live action American sitcoms that adopted this style include Arrested Development, Malcolm in the Middle, Curb Your Enthusiasm, My Name Is Earl, The Bernie Mac Show, The Office, Scrubs, 30 Rock, and It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. Motto: (traditional) In God We Trust (official, 1956–present) Anthem: The Star-Spangled Banner Capital Washington, D.C. Largest city New York City Official language(s) None at the federal level; English de facto Government Federal Republic  - President George W. Bush (R)  - Vice President Dick Cheney (R) Independence - Declared - Recognized... A sound stage is a hangar-like structure, building or room, that is soundproof for the production of theatrical motion pictures and television, usually inside a movie studio. ... Wikipedia does not yet have an article with this exact name. ... Malcolm in the Middle is a seven-time Emmy,[1] Grammy-winning[1] and seven time-nominated Golden Globe[1] American sitcom created by Linwood Boomer for the Fox Network. ... This section has been identified as trivia. ... My Name Is Earl is an Emmy Award-winning American sitcom created by Greg Garcia. ... The Bernie Mac Show was an half-hour American sitcom featuring the comedic antics of comedian Bernie Mac. ... The Office is an Emmy Award and Peabody Award-winning[1] American television comedy that debuted on NBC as a midseason replacement on March 24, 2005. ... Scrubs is an Emmy- and Peabody Award-winning American situation comedy/dramedy that premiered on October 2, 2001 on NBC. It was created by Bill Lawrence, who also co-created Spin City. ... 30 Rock is a Golden Globe Award-winning NBC sitcom that debuted in the United States on October 11, 2006. ... Its Always Sunny in Philadelphia is an FX sitcom created by Rob McElhenney about four friends (played by McElhenney, Charlie Day, Glenn Howerton and Kaitlin Olson) who run an Irish bar, Paddys Pub, in Philadelphia. ...


In the United Kingdom prior to the 2000s most sitcoms were taped before live audiences to provide natural laughter. Other comedies, such as the The Royle Family and The Office which are presented in the mode of cinema verite rather than in the format of a traditional sitcom, do not contain a laugh track. The Royle Family is a popular BBC television situation comedy (sitcom) that ran for three series between 1998 and 2000. ... The Office is a British television comedy series, created, written and directed by Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant, and first aired in the UK on BBC Two on July 9, 2001. ... Cin ma V is the first album by an alternative rock group Dramarama, released in November 1985. ...


The League of Gentlemen was originally broadcast with a laughter track, but after the first two series this was dropped.[4] The pilot episode of the satirical series Spitting Image was also broadcast with a laughter track. This idea was quickly dropped as it was felt that the series worked better without one.[citation needed] Some later editions, in 1992 (Election Special) and 1993 (two episodes) did use a studio audience, and therefore a laughter track, as the format of these editions included a spoof Question Time.[citation needed] The League of Gentlemen is a troupe of British comedy performers, and the name of their stage, radio, and latterly television series. ... Spitting Image was a satirical puppet show that ran on the United Kingdoms ITV television network from 1984 to 1996. ... Year 1992 (MCMXCII) was a leap year starting on Wednesday (link will display full 1992 Gregorian calendar). ... Year 1993 (MCMXCIII) was a common year starting on Friday (link will display full 1993 Gregorian calendar). ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ...


Although some contemporary Canadian sitcoms are laugh track-free (e.g., "The Newsroom", Corner Gas, etc.), many still rely on laugh tracks in some form (Air Farce and The Red Green Show both tape in front of a live audience, but rely heavily on canned laughter).[citation needed] The Newsroom is an award winning Canadian television comedy series which ran on CBC Television in the 1996-1997, 2003-2004 and 2004-2005 seasons. ... Corner Gas is an award-winning Canadian situation comedy which has aired on CTV and The Comedy Network since 2004. ... Royal Canadian Air Farce is a Canadian radio and television show, broadcast on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. ... The Red Green Show is a television comedy that aired on CBC Television in Canada and on PBS in the United States from 1991 until the series finale April 7, 2006 on CBC. Reruns currently air on CBC Television, CBC Country Canada, The Comedy Network, and various PBS stations. ...


There is an "in-between" category, where there is a separate "laugh track," but of "genuine" laughter. For example, many scenes of Yorkshire's Last of the Summer Wine are filmed outdoors, and even in indoor scenes the cast are clearly not reacting to audience laughter.[citation needed] However, the shows' producers, while confirming that the show is filmed without an audience, insist that the laughter track is not "manufactured" but instead is a recording of the genuine response of a studio audience to whom the completed episode is shown. Look up Yorkshire in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Last of the Summer Wine, written by Roy Clarke, is a British television sitcom. ...


Criticism

Laugh tracks have been derided by some critics as insulting to the intelligence of the viewers of a show, because it seems to tell the audience when they should laugh. Some also feel that laugh track placement and intensity serve as strong suggestions as to how certain real-life situations should be viewed and handled. The ability to tailor specific audible elements within a laugh track, as well as careful placement and timing, are viewed by some as subliminal messages that relate to the subject matter being used.


Praise

Executive producer for Sid and Marty Krofft, Si Rose convinced the Kroffts to use laugh tracks on their puppet shows such as H.R. Pufnstuf, The Bugaloos, Lidsville, and others. In a recent interview, he states "The laugh track was a big debate, they (the Kroffts) said they didn't want to do it, but with my experience with night-timers, night-time started using laugh tracks, and it becomes a staple, because see a show and there's a big laugh everytime because of the laugh track, and then when you see a show that's funny and there's no laugh because of no laugh track, it becomes a handicap, so I convinced them of that. Good or bad." H.R. Pufnstuf was a childrens television series produced by Sid and Marty Krofft in the United States. ... The Bugaloos from left to right: Joy, Harmony, I.Q., Sparky, and Courage A U.S. Saturday morning television show, The Bugaloos were a four-piece musical group of friends who lived in idyllic Tranquility Forest. ... Lidsville was Sid and Marty Kroffts third television show following H.R. Pufnstuf and The Bugaloos. ...


See also

A report in The Etude of July 1931 on the Vienna Opera House banning claquing Claque (French for clapping) is, in its origin, a term which refers to an organized body of professional applauders in French theatres. ... Here is a list of non-animated TV comedy shows without laugh tracks: 30 Rock Arrested Development Corner Gas Curb Your Enthusiasm Everybody Hates Chris Its Always Sunny in Philadelphia Malcolm in the Middle My Name Is Earl Police Squad Reno 911 Scrubs Sledge Hammer! (second season; first season...

Sources

  • TVParty.com - The Laugh Track
  • Straight Dope - laugh track

References

  1. ^ Pollick, Michael: What is a Laugh Track?, Retrieved on May 31, 2007
  2. ^ http://www.avrev.com/dvd/revs/mash3.shtml
  3. ^ SHOW HISTORY, Retrieved on May 31, 2007
  4. ^ Andrews, Scott: Review - The League of Gentlemen's Apocalypse, Retrieved on May 31, 2007

  Results from FactBites:
 
TVparty: the laugh track (1445 words)
Early uses of the laugh track are quaint by today's standards: 'The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet' used only one laugh throughout its half-hour running time, and 'The Abbott and Costello Show' used an uproarious laugh track which ran continuously, regardless of the action on screen.
The engineer "orchestrates" the laugh track by using the keyboard to select the type, sex, and age of the laugh, while playing the foot pedal to determine each reaction's length.
The laugh machine remains in use, but few "laugh men" (as they are known in the post-production industry) have come forward to acknowledge or discuss their work.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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