There are some innovations on television that have overstayed their welcome by a long shot and need to go away. I was reminded of one of these innovations recently when I read a harsh critique of the new Zoey Deschanel sitcom, New Girl. One of the reasons the author gave to hate the show was the lack of a laugh track in the show.
I attended a taping of The Colbert Report recently and had an excellent time. There was one aspect of the experience that bothered me just a little and I felt that I needed to report about it here. You may be wondering what could have possibly gone wrong in an experience where I got completely free tickets to see one of the funniest political comedians do his show in front of an audience of maybe one hundred people, if that. It was nothing to do with the show itself but rather something that happened during the the preparation time before the show that set me off.
Can laughter be aggressive and hostile? Have you ever met someone who “over-laughs” at something that wasn’t particularly funny?
Is it possible that someone who laughs inappropriately is actually using their laughter as an obnoxious form of attention-getting or bitter tension release?
Is laughter a socially acceptable way of venting rage and shyness for those who are incapable of the direct expression of proper emotion?
What is the correct way to handle these laughers?
Do you confront them by saying, “That’s not funny.” Or do you stab deeper and say, “I understand you’re nervous, but laughing isn’t the right response.” Or do you just ignore the behavior and try to move away from the subject?
by Marshall Jamison
Trumpets screamed a triumphant message
In her brain
But she lay quietly as her heart beat
With joy and thankful relief of pain.
Her new son slept beside her, in the peace
Of quiet exhaustion
She called him Isaac because she liked the name –
Her first born son. Her wise nurse then
Told her, according to the Bible, the name
So there in the dark, she held laughter
To her breast, with Joy.