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Sorkin's show Sports Night, whats w the laugh track?

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Sorkin's show Sports Night, whats w the laugh track?

Old 09-03-13, 10:18 PM
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Sorkin's show Sports Night, whats w the laugh track?

Figured i'd give it a shot as i'm a fan of The Newsroom, as theyre re airing the series on FXX. the laugh track sounds forced. Also this seems more like a drama with comedic elements
Old 09-03-13, 11:54 PM
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Re: Sorkin's show Sports Night, whats w the laugh track?

Aaron Sorkin would agree with you. ABC, however, felt differently.
Old 09-04-13, 12:53 AM
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Re: Sorkin's show Sports Night, whats w the laugh track?

was it that bad in the 90s where a "sitcom" without a laugh track was considered risky
Old 09-04-13, 01:21 AM
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Re: Sorkin's show Sports Night, whats w the laugh track?

It goes away for the second season.
Old 09-04-13, 01:43 AM
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Re: Sorkin's show Sports Night, whats w the laugh track?

I find I can't stand to watch shows with a laugh track anymore. I tried watching the pilot episode of Mad About Me for old times sake on FXX and was immediately turned off by the horrible laugh track.

I guess we tolerated it back in the 90s because there were no other options.

I wish more TV shows on DVD would offer a laugh track free option for the sit-coms. As far as I know MASH is the only one so far to come out like that.


Which made me think of this

<iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/CtZpo89mmJo" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
Old 09-04-13, 02:03 AM
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Re: Sorkin's show Sports Night, whats w the laugh track?

Originally Posted by Rypro 525 View Post
was it that bad in the 90s where a "sitcom" without a laugh track was considered risky
It actually was that unusual at the time... I think it was the only 30-minute single-camera comedic show (dramedy, if you prefer) of its time other than The Larry Sanders Show, which was on HBO so it doesn't count the same. The flourishing of single-camera sitcoms without laugh tracks all came after Sports Night.
Old 09-04-13, 01:57 PM
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Re: Sorkin's show Sports Night, whats w the laugh track?

Originally Posted by calhoun07 View Post
I find I can't stand to watch shows with a laugh track anymore. I tried watching the pilot episode of Mad About Me for old times sake on FXX and was immediately turned off by the horrible laugh track.
Just a nitpick, but Mad About You did not have a laugh track; it was filmed in front of a live studio audience. Here's an interview where Paul Reiser talks about it:
http://www.examiner.com/article/paul...ul-reiser-show

A "laugh track" is canned laughter added after filming. For shows with live audiences, the laughter is recorded on set during filming.

I don't mind shows with live audiences, as I view it as a particular format choice, and it's genuine people's responses to the material (although these tracks notoriously could be "sweetened" by adding in canned laughter).

Originally Posted by calhoun07 View Post
I wish more TV shows on DVD would offer a laugh track free option for the sit-coms. As far as I know MASH is the only one so far to come out like that.
Sledge Hammer! was released laugh-track free on DVD; in fact, I think the laugh-track version wasn't available on the DVDs. Get a Life has some episodes available with laugh-track free audio, although you occasionally here laughter from the crew since they didn't bother to keep quiet due to knowing the laugh track would be added later.

For shows recorded in front of a live audience, removing the laughter is close to impossible, since while they may have specific mics for the audience, the laughter is also going to be picked up on the actors' mics. Doing so would also interrupt the flow of the show, as the actors naturally pause for the audience laughter, which would appear awkward if there wasn't any laughter present.
Old 09-04-13, 02:59 PM
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Re: Sorkin's show Sports Night, whats w the laugh track?

Originally Posted by Jay G. View Post
Just a nitpick, but Mad About You did not have a laugh track; it was filmed in front of a live studio audience. H
Just a nitpick, but the show he mentioned was Mad About Me.
Old 09-04-13, 03:03 PM
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Re: Sorkin's show Sports Night, whats w the laugh track?

Originally Posted by TheMadMonk View Post
Just a nitpick, but the show he mentioned was Mad About Me.
Just a nitipick, but there's no show called "Mad About Me" (I googled the title before I posted). FXX is currently showing reruns of "Mad About You" though, so I assumed it was a typo.
http://www.examiner.com/article/new-...-tv-highlights
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FXX#Syndicated_repeats
Old 09-04-13, 03:42 PM
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Re: Sorkin's show Sports Night, whats w the laugh track?

Originally Posted by marginal View Post
It actually was that unusual at the time... I think it was the only 30-minute single-camera comedic show (dramedy, if you prefer) of its time other than The Larry Sanders Show, which was on HBO so it doesn't count the same. The flourishing of single-camera sitcoms without laugh tracks all came after Sports Night.
Feel the need to mention that "The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd", "Hooperman" and "The Wonder Years" all pre-dated "Sports Night." All network shows. Of course, the first two lasted maybe two seasons on the networks and I believe I may have been the only person watching those shows.

"Molly Dodd" went to some cable channel that I didn't get when I was a kid. Why is a kid watching "Molly Dodd"? I have no idea. I was a kid raised on TV and watched everything.....
Old 09-04-13, 03:51 PM
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Re: Sorkin's show Sports Night, whats w the laugh track?

I find myself completely dismissing new sitcoms if they have laugh tracks/live audiences. I just can't stand them. The laughing is all I hear.

Ironically, though, sitcoms from yesteryear I have no problem with: All in the Family, Three's Company, Jeffersons. Even Seinfeld.

But for modern comedies, I can't stand it.
Old 09-04-13, 03:55 PM
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Re: Sorkin's show Sports Night, whats w the laugh track?

I couldn't watch Sports Night because of that ridiculous laugh track. Laugh-tracks work on sit-coms because it is like watching a recording of a play, the actors deliver more broadly, they play to the audience, they pause for laugh times. Sports Night was like watching a movie that had random laughter dubbed into the audio track. Too bad, it looks like an interesting show, but I gave up, figuring I'd go back and watch if it was ever released sans laughter.

Has it?
Old 09-04-13, 04:09 PM
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Re: Sorkin's show Sports Night, whats w the laugh track?

Originally Posted by Laertes View Post
Feel the need to mention that "The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd", "Hooperman" and "The Wonder Years" all pre-dated "Sports Night." All network shows. Of course, the first two lasted maybe two seasons on the networks and I believe I may have been the only person watching those shows.

"Molly Dodd" went to some cable channel that I didn't get when I was a kid. Why is a kid watching "Molly Dodd"? I have no idea. I was a kid raised on TV and watched everything.....
I was there with you watching Molly Dodd. I know a few other people who watched at least some of it, all of whom hated it.

Was "Mad About Me" an early title for Buffalo Bill?
Old 09-04-13, 04:14 PM
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Re: Sorkin's show Sports Night, whats w the laugh track?

Originally Posted by Laertes View Post
Feel the need to mention that "The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd", "Hooperman" and "The Wonder Years" all pre-dated "Sports Night." All network shows. Of course, the first two lasted maybe two seasons on the networks and I believe I may have been the only person watching those shows.

"Molly Dodd" went to some cable channel that I didn't get when I was a kid. Why is a kid watching "Molly Dodd"? I have no idea. I was a kid raised on TV and watched everything.....
Molly Dodd moved to Lifetime, where it ran for another 3 seasons, for a total of 5. Hooperman lasted 2 seasons. Dream On was another HBO comedy that was laugh-track free at this time.

The Wonder Years is an example of a show that was both successful and laugh-track free on a major network, but those shows were the exception.

Here's an interesting article about Sports Night and the fight against the laugh track:
http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,284963,00.html

An interesting quote:
''Laugh tracks have become much more obtrusive,'' concedes Tony Jonas, president of Warner Bros. Television. But, he adds, ''the TV industry has made a science of this...it'll be around for a long time.''
While people seem to chafe against even live audience laughter in sitcoms nowadays, a few standards like talk shows and SNL still use live audiences without much complaint.
Old 09-04-13, 06:11 PM
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Re: Sorkin's show Sports Night, whats w the laugh track?

Originally Posted by Laertes View Post
Feel the need to mention that "The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd", "Hooperman" and "The Wonder Years" all pre-dated "Sports Night." All network shows. Of course, the first two lasted maybe two seasons on the networks and I believe I may have been the only person watching those shows.

"Molly Dodd" went to some cable channel that I didn't get when I was a kid. Why is a kid watching "Molly Dodd"? I have no idea. I was a kid raised on TV and watched everything.....
Sure, but Molly Dodd, Hooperman, and the Wonder Years were long gone by the time Sports Night was on, which is why I said it was the only one "of its time." There were certainly half-hour single-camera shows with no laugh track before, going way back, but they were always the outliers from the 1970s onward. The explosion of single-camera, no-laugh-track comedies came right after Sports Night, and I would probably even argue that Sports Night was the catalyst. (There was quite a lot of discussion about it at the time, I remember.)

I also was a fan of Molly Dodd as a kid. Seriously, why? I have no idea. I was also watching thirtysomething as a kid.
Old 09-04-13, 10:49 PM
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Re: Sorkin's show Sports Night, whats w the laugh track?

Originally Posted by Jay G. View Post
Just a nitpick, but Mad About You did not have a laugh track; it was filmed in front of a live studio audience. Here's an interview where Paul Reiser talks about it:
http://www.examiner.com/article/paul...ul-reiser-show

A "laugh track" is canned laughter added after filming. For shows with live audiences, the laughter is recorded on set during filming.

I don't mind shows with live audiences, as I view it as a particular format choice, and it's genuine people's responses to the material (although these tracks notoriously could be "sweetened" by adding in canned laughter).


Sledge Hammer! was released laugh-track free on DVD; in fact, I think the laugh-track version wasn't available on the DVDs. Get a Life has some episodes available with laugh-track free audio, although you occasionally here laughter from the crew since they didn't bother to keep quiet due to knowing the laugh track would be added later.

For shows recorded in front of a live audience, removing the laughter is close to impossible, since while they may have specific mics for the audience, the laughter is also going to be picked up on the actors' mics. Doing so would also interrupt the flow of the show, as the actors naturally pause for the audience laughter, which would appear awkward if there wasn't any laughter present.

Even in some of the live before a studio audience shows the laughter sometimes sounds force. I wonder if they add in canned laughter for effect in editing or if they just play "laugh" signs like "applause" signs. Anybody here ever attend a live taping to divulge any behind the scenes secrets?

Now Get a Life was kind of making fun of the sit-com genre to begin with, so the laugh tracks in there seem to work for the format of the show. Kind of like the recent Futurama episode with Nixon and the cartoons and the laugh track in the Scooby segment...it works in those situations for what it is because it's poking fun at the conventional canned ones.
Old 09-04-13, 10:51 PM
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Re: Sorkin's show Sports Night, whats w the laugh track?

Molly Dodd, by the way, was awesome. I wish Shout Factory would get the episodes on a complete series set.

I seem to recall it was sold to me (not sure if it was an ad or in an article about the show) that it was made with sensibility of a British sit-com, which I ADORED Brit-Coms in my teen years on late night PBS stations. So watching Molly Dodd felt like an extension of watching my favorite Brit-Coms.
Old 09-04-13, 11:12 PM
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Re: Sorkin's show Sports Night, whats w the laugh track?

Originally Posted by calhoun07 View Post
Even in some of the live before a studio audience shows the laughter sometimes sounds force. I wonder if they add in canned laughter for effect in editing or if they just play "laugh" signs like "applause" signs. Anybody here ever attend a live taping to divulge any behind the scenes secrets?

Now Get a Life was kind of making fun of the sit-com genre to begin with, so the laugh tracks in there seem to work for the format of the show. Kind of like the recent Futurama episode with Nixon and the cartoons and the laugh track in the Scooby segment...it works in those situations for what it is because it's poking fun at the conventional canned ones.
I've been to a couple, and it's not really any big secret how they work. I saw a show about 20 years ago called Monty, it was on FOX and starred Henry Winkler as a Rush Limbaugh type TV show host, and a pre-Friends David Schwimmer as his son. I don't think there were applause signs for that show, there might have been, but only to get you to clap at the start and end of the show. They usually want a natural reaction during the taping.

I've also been to a taping of The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, which used the Applause signs much more. But it's a talk show, so timing of audience reactions is far more important. Really the signs are more to tell you when to shut up than when to clap. Plus, they don't really have the time to sweeten the audience for this, as the show is taped 3 hours before it airs back east.

Finally, I went to a taping of The Man Show, which was FAR different than the other two, since they actually handed out beer to the crowd, and we were supposed to be rowdy.

They can (and do) use canned laugh tracks to "sweeten" actual live tracks. In fact, I'm pretty sure they can replace the entire live track these days without much of a problem.
Old 09-05-13, 12:30 AM
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Re: Sorkin's show Sports Night, whats w the laugh track?

Originally Posted by Crocker Jarmen View Post
I couldn't watch Sports Night because of that ridiculous laugh track. Laugh-tracks work on sit-coms because it is like watching a recording of a play, the actors deliver more broadly, they play to the audience, they pause for laugh times. Sports Night was like watching a movie that had random laughter dubbed into the audio track. Too bad, it looks like an interesting show, but I gave up, figuring I'd go back and watch if it was ever released sans laughter.

Has it?
someone mentioned that in they dropped the laugh track completly in season 2
Old 09-05-13, 01:47 AM
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Re: Sorkin's show Sports Night, whats w the laugh track?

Before onscreen network logos, laugh tracks were one of the big things I hated about TV. Even when they're done in front of a real audience, they're being told when to laugh so if a joke really doesn't work they laugh anyways. I used to watch Molly Dodd also- before that, in 1983 there was a short-lived TV series of the movie "The Four Seasons" which was the first sitcom I remember not having a laugh track. It was put on hiatus for a few weeks, then when it came back- it had a fucking laugh track and I turned it off right away.
Old 09-05-13, 07:40 AM
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Re: Sorkin's show Sports Night, whats w the laugh track?

The laugh track fades as season 1 progresses and is completely gone by the finale. The show is great enough to tolerate it. It's way quiter and less frequent than on other laugh track sitcoms anyway.
Old 09-05-13, 11:43 AM
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Re: Sorkin's show Sports Night, whats w the laugh track?

There was a live audience present when Sports Night was filmed, so it's not a laugh track. The crowd of overweight tourists followed the actors around and laughed at all the sophisticated humor.
Old 09-05-13, 11:43 AM
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Re: Sorkin's show Sports Night, whats w the laugh track?

Originally Posted by Alan Smithee View Post
Before onscreen network logos, laugh tracks were one of the big things I hated about TV. Even when they're done in front of a real audience, they're being told when to laugh so if a joke really doesn't work they laugh anyways. I used to watch Molly Dodd also- before that, in 1983 there was a short-lived TV series of the movie "The Four Seasons" which was the first sitcom I remember not having a laugh track. It was put on hiatus for a few weeks, then when it came back- it had a fucking laugh track and I turned it off right away.
You must hate watching stand-up comedy.
Old 09-05-13, 01:58 PM
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Re: Sorkin's show Sports Night, whats w the laugh track?

If memory serves the original Bill Cosby show from the late 60s early 70s was a single camera, laugh track free shot on film show.

I appreciate studio audience three camera shows. There's kind of a snobbish bias against them, but it's a different animal and difficult to pull off well. There's an easy short hand that more cinematic looking shows are "better" but that's like saying a movie is inherently of higher quality than a play. It's two totally different things.
Old 09-05-13, 02:38 PM
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Re: Sorkin's show Sports Night, whats w the laugh track?

Originally Posted by ben12 View Post
There was a live audience present when Sports Night was filmed, so it's not a laugh track. The crowd of overweight tourists followed the actors around and laughed at all the sophisticated humor.
Yeah but that was just the pilot right?

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