Sitcom Veteran Wayne Knight Defends the Laugh Track
You’ll likely recognize Wayne Knight while flipping the channels at night, or even when passing an ad for his new comedy The Exes. And you’re also likely to squint your eyes and whisper, "Newman." The role of Jerry’s nemesis is definitely Knight’s more regonizable characters, but those unfamiliar with Seinfeld (and who are you?) will remember him from his other famous role as the nebbish computer programmer Dennis Nedry in Jurassic Park. You know, he gets spit on and then eaten by a dinosaur.
Knight’s new show The Exes is another multi-camera sitcom just like Seinfeld. In the age of single-camera, closed-studio shows like 30 Rock and The Office, there seems to be a lot of TV fans who are rejecting the sounds of laughter from a studio audience (or, more likely a laugh track assembled from the loudest guffaws from a mostly bored audience). But Knight thinks that the aversion to multi-camera shows, which come packaged with audible cues indicating when the home audience should laugh, is actually silly! He tells Vulture:
There are people being born every day who actually have no idea that there aren’t real people laughing. You know, there’s a whole new crop of young people who really need a laugh track. You cynically put down the laugh track, but there are people who have no laughs in their lives unless they’re false laughs. God bless them….I have a laugh track at home in my bathroom, which I use frequently. It makes me comfortable. I like to punch up moments in my life that I feel are just a little thin, you know?
Ugh, I don’t think I want to live in a world where Newman is dropping truth bombs left and right. Having said that, multi-camera sitcoms like Cheers, Soap, Friends, Roseanne–and countless others!–still remain ridiculously funny. Would those classic comedies be as funny without the laugh tracks? Should we all get off our Community-loving high horses and embrace the return of the laugh track?