… recorded live television?
The inspiration for today’s post came again from Sheila Stewart who sent me off to a blog post from David Truss about laugh tracks.
I think we all have our favourite shows and David makes reference to a couple of show that I’m not a fan of! I think they’re just silly and not worth my time. These days, I’d rather while my time watching a good drama but who could forget the classics like …
I know that it’s a certain time era, but hey!
Who could forget shows like
- Of course, Cheers but
- The Jeffersons
- All in the Family
- Three’s Company
- The Odd Couple
- Are You Being Served?
and I’m sure that you could name more. (and why don’t you in the comments below)
It seems to me that these shows were so successful for a couple of reasons. First, they had terrific writers with all kinds of great lines, characters, and enough innuendo that you would pick up on things no matter how many times you watched them. What worked for them was a limited cast of characters, story lines that could be really worked, and all were shot in a single setting. So, it’s easy to see that a television studio could set up a stage and then work the stories around it and play it before a live audience.
We benefited because any laughter that was caught was real laughter made by real people watching it as it happened.
It’s easy to see that shows like M*A*S*H which has to be amongst the greatest comedy ever couldn’t fit into that setting because different episodes were in different locations. Recording live also means that the actors and actresses had to know their stuff because there wasn’t an option to retake and reshoot. If something was intended to be funny, they had to make it funny.
As David notes, you don’t necessarily have to get that reaction from an audience if you’re using a laugh track. You just edit the laughs in later. Laugh clips are easily found – here’s a nice collection – https://www.soundboard.com/sb/iolaughtrack. We’re becoming so used to being able to edit things afterwards today with social media; how many Instagram or TikTok videos are shot once and not edited?
So, for a Sunday, let’s have you check in with your thoughts.
- Do you have any great favourite comedys? Was it recorded live?
- Have you ever seen a show where a laugh track was added in during the wrong spot?
- Do you teach students how to edit video?
- Comedies, of course, aren’t the only shows recorded live – there are many talk shows with live audiences that are encouraged to interact – do you have a favourite?
- Are there any comedies today that are recorded in front of a live audience?
And, a bit of trivia…
Please share your thoughts for Sheila and me to enjoy in the comments below.
This is a regular Sunday morning post. You can check them all out here. And, if you have an idea like Sheila did, just reach out and share it with me. I’d appreciate it.