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April 1994


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Jeff Lowell <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Mon, 18 Apr 1994 19:27:40 -0700
text/plain (33 lines)
>From: Bill Shute, San Antonio College
>In regards to sitcoms/variety shows shot in front of a live audience...
>I have attended tapings of a number of sitcoms and a few Tonight Shows,
>and my experience is that the actual response of the audience is
>"sweetened" with canned laughter and that the mix is usually about
>40% real and 60% canned. I have a very distinctive laugh and can
>thus recognize myself on the soundtrack, and I remember jokes that
>only got light laughter suddenly sounding full when the show aired,
>with my guffaw surrounded by a sea of laughter that wasn't there live.
>However, the "real" response was always used as a foundation for
>the sweetening, much like a basic track is then added to with overdubs
>in the recording industry.
The reason you may not have heard your laugh, or heard a laugh bigger than
the one you remembered, is that sitcoms are usually taped two to three
times -- sometimes more. Usually, shows have two different audiences in,
and for the later crowd, they shoot scenes twice unless it's absolutely
perfect in the first try.
They do "cheat" on the laughs, but they usually cheat in a fairly honorable
way: they might steal the laugh a joke got the first time it was told, and
put it with the scene that was shot later, if the actors were better. They
do try to match laughs to the jokes they came from... there aren't many
shows that completely cheat and just use fake canned laughter.
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