CHUCK LORRE PRODUCTIONS, #499
I've been around sitcoms for almost thirty years. During that time I've heard a lot of laughter from studio audiences, writers, actors, directors, studio executives, cameramen and myself. But not all laughter is created equal. There are the lonely guffaws of nervous writers and directors anxious to fill the silence that trails behind some jokes like toilet paper on a shoe. And then there's the grimacing, head-bob throat chuckle of network executives. For years I took this strangled, tepid response personally. Now I know it for what it is - the sound of fear. Sometimes studio audiences will try and help a show with what we in the business call "a mercy laugh." There's no mistaking this one. It's the sound of two hundred people who just want to go home. And finally, there's the true, out loud, involuntary explosion of laughter. It's a beautiful, contagious sound. For comedy writers, it makes you feel like your life has value. That all your neurotic suffering is worthwhile. Actors have told me it makes them feel like they're surfing a wave of pure happiness... and that they can keep their kids in private school. Network executives tell me they're not sure how they feel until the results from the focus group comes in. Regardless, in a troubled world, real laughter, that spontaneous outburst of humanness, has to be taken as seriously as a wet fart in white pants.
1st Aired: 30 April 2015