Oh, That Was a Joke

I was watching a 1980’s skit the other day on Comedy Central.  The comedian was sitting behind a desk and talking about politics.  I thought I had the wrong channel.  The main reason was because there were no laugh tracks.

We are not a stupid nation by far.  We only have some morons who live among us.  You know the ones you have to explain the jokes.

But, laugh tracks give us a clue that something is being done for a joke.  I really didn’t find the guy all that funny and then the memorable Comedy Central theme music came on and I knew I was on the right channel.  I watched for two minutes and then switched the channel.  The guy wasn’t funny.  So, he should use laugh tracks everywhere he goes.

I always thought laugh tracks were a waste of time.  I thought they were demeaning to the audience, but I had no idea what psychological value they added to the show.  A guy who isn’t funny can come off as a boring speaker on the wrong channel if he doesn’t have laugh tracks.  Laugh tracks let me know that the guy is attempting to be funny.

It also lets you know that what a comedian is saying is a joke.  Sometimes, comedians can fool the audience with statements that stop us in our tracks.  We don’t know if the comedian is being serious.  Then, the laugh track gives us the clue we need.

I guess that’s why lol is so popular.  People don’t know who they are talking to enough to know if they are going to get their joke.  I was in that situation one day.  I was cracking jokes left and right, but the person I was talking to just wasn’t getting a thing I was saying.  She thought I was being rude.

I had to explain it to her and then I said, “I should have been using lol all along huh?”

I thought lol was a demeaning expression to use because it implies that your audience isn’t smart enough to get what you’re saying.  But, now I know.  Sometimes they’re not.


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Michael Allen is the author of the newly released novel The Deeper Dark - When Haven Kayd returns home after being a POW for years, he returns to a world that has moved on without him. As he's playing catchup, the truth comes out about a scheme he was unknowingly the poster boy for and he learns about a hidden world that threatens everything he cares about. Available now at Amazon!

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The Deeper Dark

the deeper darkMichael Allen’s latest novel…

The Deeper Dark is the story of a fighter pilot who spends a few years in a POW camp. When he returns to civilization, he realizes how much has changed as life just seemed to move on without him. His wife remarried and his daughter learned how to grow up without her father around. When he finds out there’s more to the story the day his jet went down, he finds himself in the middle of unimaginable corruption. Trying to keep their secrets hidden, his invisible enemies threaten the one person he has left in this world. But they have no idea how far he’s willing to go to save her life.

Available in print and on Kindle: The Deeper Dark