General Question

pezz's avatar

Canned "laughter" is it funny?

Asked by pezz (1291points) July 10th, 2009

When I’m watching a “sitcom”, even if it’s funny, after I’ve noticed the badly timed, fake laughing, I find that I’m put off by the whole thing, does anyone else suffer this?

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17 Answers

Fyrius's avatar

I’ve got used to it. I hardly notice the laughing any more. I guess it’s like that for most people.

I still think it’s a bizarre phenomenon, though. Do they think we wouldn’t know when they’ve made a joke unless they indicate that that was funny just now?
It’s a bit like hearing the producers laugh at their own jokes.
There are comedy shows without canned laughter in them too, like Family Guy. And I for one don’t miss it at all.

When I was a kid I used to think it meant there was an actual audience following the show while it was being filmed.

Harp's avatar

I remember when I was a kid, the TV series M.A.S.H. ran for awhile without canned laughter, and then at some point they started using it. It ruined the show for me. Canned laughter is manipulative; it relies on a cheap psychological trick rather than the quality of the humor to wring a reaction from the viewer.

Saturated_Brain's avatar

@Fyrius Now that’s an amusing though. A whole crowd of people jostling by to see the action and laughing every time a joke is cracked.

But no. Canned laughter isn’t funny. But I think there’s a reason for it. It’s not so much to tell people that there’s a joke and that it’s a cue for them to laugh, but more to make them laugh.

Have you ever heard a joke, was the only one to get it, and laugh only to shut your mouth in embarrassment? It’s something like that. Or have you ever laughed and laughed with somebody about something until the point where almost anything at all can be a trigger for laughs (oh I hate and love those moments)?

Laughter’s contagious. That’s proven. That’s why (as @Harp has said before me), it’s something psychologically used to induce laughter.

Would you really laugh at a standup comedian’s jokes so much if there weren’t a huge audience laughing along with you?

Cardinal's avatar

Yes, canned laughter is an insult.

MissAnthrope's avatar

I think canned laughter is dumb and it lessens my enjoyment of a show. If I don’t find a joke funny, but the laughter plays anyway, I’m kind of like, ugh. I also find it somewhat insulting that they are trying to tell me when I should laugh, like I don’t have enough of a sense of humor to know. :P

pezz's avatar

@Harp M*A*S*H, good call

CMaz's avatar

I have used it plenty in my business.
It is not that it is funny. It injects a greater sense of humor into a “funny” situation.
People are more apt to clap when someone claps, or laugh when someone else laughs.
Ever been at an event where someone says something or appears on stage. Then people start to stand up and applaud. You not wanting to stand, stands anyway because that is the movement of the crowd?

That’s why we use canned laughter. Before you know it you are laughing too. And our ratings go up.
Manipulation and mind control. psychology is part of a successful show, or product you see on TV. ;-)

CMaz's avatar

Oh yes! And, you like!

jfos's avatar

Canned laughter is stupid. Different people find different things funny; it is condescending to indicate where the jokes are in a show.

shrubbery's avatar

@Saturated_Brain, I disagree. I will laugh at a joke if I get it no matter whether other people are laughing or not. I will sit at home and watch a comedy DVD and laugh my ass off to the point where someone will come into my room and ask me what I’m laughing about. I don’t need an audience laughing along with me.
I do agree with you on the laughing to the point that you don’t remember what you were laughing about though… great for your tummy muscles!
I don’t like the canned laughter at all really.

Tink's avatar

Yes I’ve noticed, especially after watching Scrubs or Seinfied

Saturated_Brain's avatar

@shrubbery Okay that is true too.. Maybe it’s just different people having different reactions to different situations….

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

No, but then, neither are canned sheep brains in mushroom sauce. Fresh is always better.

CMaz's avatar

I do like the snake in a can. That is funny.

loser's avatar

I think it’s funny that it’s still used.

Fyrius's avatar

Maybe it’s even different people having different reactions to the same situations. ;)

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