Why do people laugh

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I listen to the radio sometimes, and a comedian is on, saying "....Wisconsin, I love you very much, I want to marry you, traditionally...." Then people laugh, I don't know why ?
 

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  • #2
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I think that the state of Wisconsin recognizes same-sex marriages. So the "traditionally" part in the joke tries to indicate the comedian is not gay and/or poke fun at the state or it's people for their views. It's a stupid joke, you shouldn't feel bad for not laughing.
 
  • #3
Danger
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It's canned laughter, the same as on all Yank sitcoms. Someone says something inane, and then a recording of idiots laughing is played to make it seem as if something humourous occurred.
 
  • #4
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It's canned laughter, the same as on all Yank sitcoms. Someone says something inane, and then a recording of idiots laughing is played to make it seem as if something humourous occurred.
Does anyone know when this irritating trend of canned laughter started ?
It is as if the creators of the show are instructing the audience when to laugh.
 
  • #5
Danger
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Does anyone know when this irritating trend of canned laughter started ?
It is as if the creators of the show are instructing the audience when to laugh.
That is exactly what they were doing in the first place. The laugh track is a more controllable outgrowth of the signage system that they used for live TV. There were large signs over the stage with instructions such as "LAUGH", "BOO", "CHEER", etc. printed on them. When one was lit up, the audience was expected to obey. Once they began videotaping the shows for later airing, as opposed to the filming of live broadcasts, all sorts of editing became available, including the addition of laugh tracks.
 
  • #6
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Most people are too busy to laugh so they pay professionals to laugh for them and record the sounds. At the same time, no one can afford to pay funny script writers either. What could be more natural then, to write a comedy series without a single funny line it it and add in a sound track of people watching someone fall down a flight of stairs.
 
  • #7
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Like most sound effects canned laughter dates back to the early days of radio. Bottom line is its a cheap trick that works. No different then a million other shortcuts other people might take in any line of work they might do. They could use only live audiences to produce similar results, but that's expensive and unreliable. Red meat is often dyed red, get over it.
 
  • #8
Danger
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I was unaware of its use in early radio. Thanks for the info.
And yes, it's a fact of human psychology that laughter is infectious. Hearing it prompts your own laugh response, even if there is no humour involved. (It is my personal opinion, though, that for most allegedly funny shows, a "yawn track" would be more appropriate.)
 
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  • #9
Pythagorean
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There has to be some point associated with the laughter. There's plenty of moments in any given sit com where canned laughter would just be awkward or annoying and not evoke humor.
 
  • #10
Danger
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There has to be some point associated with the laughter. There's plenty of moments in any given sit com where canned laughter would just be awkward or annoying and not evoke humor.
It is most frequently just annoying.
I honestly think that this thread is going to end up in one of the sub-forums more attuned to anthropology or sociology, since laughter (and even smiling) are older than recorded civilization and deal with group bonding.
 
  • #11
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Hi Dange-er, :shy:
Now that people are making the shows on the streets they are getting lots of noise from the crowds... " I LIVE here, let me go in." "I Am NOT going three blocks out of my way to the market because you can't afford a studio. " "Get a room!"
 
  • #12
Danger
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Hi Dange-er, :shy:
Now that people are making the shows on the streets they are getting lots of noise from the crowds... " I LIVE here, let me go in." "I Am NOT going three blocks out of my way to the market because you can't afford a studio. " "Get a room!"
:rofl:

Hi, honey.
 
  • #13
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There has to be some point associated with the laughter. There's plenty of moments in any given sit com where canned laughter would just be awkward or annoying and not evoke humor.
These days its called "sweetening" and its a science as well as an art. It used to be they used just any generic background of belly laughter that usually started and ended abruptly, but now they can add even the distinctive laughter of individuals who might get a punchline later then the rest of the crowd. Usually they test such things on theater audiences to find out what general rules to apply to mixing.

My favorite meditation album, Environments "Atlantic and Pacific" was developed that way. Its an entirely synthetic album made by mixing white noise to approximate the sound of the surf with a few seagulls thrown in. Instead of waiting for someone to record the perfect 30 minutes of surf they simply generated it digitally and tested the results on theater audiences, tweaked it some more, and tested some more until they got the final results so good it became a best seller.
 
  • #14
Curious3141
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One of my favourite Calvin and Hobbes strips deals with the sense of humour:

6.+Sense+of+Humor.gif
 
  • #15
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:rofl:

Hi, honey.
Hey Bubbles!
Laughter is the release of light in the (looking for word that will not get me a infraction)... head. Like in Calvin there. Between two extremes.
Love that mid point. What do you scientists call that point?
 
  • #16
Danger
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What do you scientists call that point?
I'll wait fora scientist to answer that. I ain't one. :redface:
 
  • #17
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I've watched hundreds of episodes of Gilligan's Island yet I can't remember if there were canned laugh tracks. I really want to say there were but I'm not hearing them in my memory.

The Munsters were brimming with them. Made Herman Munster about 100 times funnier than he otherwise would have been.
 
  • #18
Apparently, I’m not very funny but I crack myself up. :approve:

I prefer the pattern recognition theory and I too, feel that “Americans don't do irony."

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/magazine/3433375.stm
Alastair Clarke advances this theory as "an evolutionary and cognitive explanation of how and why any individual finds anything funny. Effectively, it explains that humour occurs when the brain recognises a pattern that surprises it, and that recognition of this sort is rewarded with the experience of the humorous response, an element of which is broadcast as laughter." The theory further identifies the importance of pattern recognition in human evolution: "An ability to recognise patterns instantly and unconsciously has proved a fundamental weapon in the cognitive arsenal of human beings. The humorous reward has encouraged the development of such faculties, leading to the unique perceptual and intellectual abilities of our species.”
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theories_of_humor
 
  • #19
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Humor is a topic in catastrophe theory. Here's a joke you may already know. Three people walk into a bar. The first one sets a pattern. The second one reinforces that pattern. The third one breaks the pattern. Get's 'em every time.
 
  • #20
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My own theory is laughter is nature's way of preventing the brain from crashing like a computer running a badly written program. It has elements of expressions of both joy and sorrow as if we can't quite decide whether to be happy or sad. If worst comes to worst, we just laugh until the system is prompted to reset itself by the sheer physical strain.
 
  • #21
Ivan Seeking
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Humor is a topic in catastrophe theory.
Well, maybe when it comes to your jokes!
 
  • #22
Ivan Seeking
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My own theory is laughter is nature's way of preventing the brain from crashing like a computer running a badly written program. It has elements of expressions of both joy and sorrow as if we can't quite decide whether to be happy or sad. If worst comes to worst, we just laugh until the system is prompted to reset itself by the sheer physical strain.
Sounds like a promising new feature for Windows 9. Instead displaying of the blue screen of death, your computer starts laughing hysterically.
 
  • #23
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Sounds like a promising new feature for Windows 9. Instead displaying of the blue screen of death, your computer starts laughing hysterically.
It's hard to say how popular it would be. Some people will no doubt prefer the blue screen of death to their computer laughing at them and saying things like, "You want me to do what!" However, with advancements like IBM's new neuromorphic chip it may become a necessity for robots at least and we'll probably end up paying through the noise for designer robots with a less crude sense of humor.
 
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  • #24
Rajput9572
That sound of laughing is nothing but only recorded one and there are some jokes which don't have any relation with laughs.
 
  • #25
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Humor is a topic in catastrophe theory. Here's a joke you may already know. Three people walk into a bar. The first one sets a pattern. The second one reinforces that pattern. The third one breaks the pattern. Get's 'em every time.
ergo:
TheCatastophicHumorist said:
Three guys walk into a bar. Bartender says, "What'll you have?" First guy says "Beer". Second guy says "Beer". Third guy says "Scotch n' soda".
You're RIGHT! It's HYSTERICAL!!!!!
 

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