Fifth Column : Whose Laughter Is It Anyway? (Issue 3)

More than 57 varieties but not as full protein as beans. It should be funny but it isn’t. What exactly is the purpose of ruining a perfectly good narrative with a falsified inducement to join in with taped, usually forced and definitely irritatingly repetitive forms of laughter?

Some cans even have a mix – remember the beans and sausage in a can?!- of applause and laughter as if it is spontaneous and discerning.
There are times I could swear the laughs are the same now as they were in the ‘fixities and ‘sixties, in fact all of the latter half of the 20th century. After all, would we  really notice.

Do we, when we watch a comedy programme, suspend our attention on the words, the preamble and the punchlines, to discern whether we’ve heard that same ridiculously over exuberant cackle before? We seem able to ignore -or is it the manufacturing entertainment industry that ignores us?- the canned laughter so noticing the recycling of such would go unobserved. Not me, I can’t ignore such invasive and insulting projects designed to coerce behaviours that justify mass mediocrity, by suggesting laughter -after all it’s contagious, like Dengue fever- at some of the most banal and dismally  unfunny scripts this specie has ever perpetrated.

Even those ‘comedies’ that claim to be filmed before a live studio audience are fake. Like situation comedy, light entertainment programmes that purport to comedy through a mix of activities meant to entertain whilst the host spews out inane cliched puns, the coercion to laugh and applaud is still the same. You must have at some point stopped rolling about in the aisles to notice when the camera pans out to show the live audiences, that the responses to the entertainment are significantly less than the canned variety.

The deafening hush at times would at least make an honest man, or woman, out of the punning character. Even they must know in their heart of hearts, when they see the audience responding very spasmodically with feeble laugh and embarrassed applause, that the deafening and raucous canned variety is a sham.Why must this disingenuousness be played out? Especially when it is supposed to be a laughing matter.

To create a healthy balance there should be canned heckling, canned derision, and canned booing. There might be an opportunity to market laughter and applause in a ring-pull can out of vending machines, or even peddle it in recyclable cartons with wing-pull opening so we can introduce it into those corpse conversation moments. You know the times I mean; when we say something and the listener is singularly unimpressed.

Perhaps at political rallies, authentic dissent could be drown out by using taped ovations. Manufactured laughter and applause as response to infotainment is more serious than you might think. Go on, complain, they want you to; after all, it’s only an e-mail or text away. It has never been easier to dissent, yet the agents get away with something as innocently insidious as persuading us to respond positively to untalented nobodies.

On top of this wholly unnecessary institutionalised deception, some of the ingredients of the cans are so inappropriately used as to actually drown out some of the might-be funny dialogue: counterproductive or what!

Of course, the term canned laughter is an old-fashioned term for what is an audience tape added to the soundtrack, or played in a studio. However, the point is that disregarding the modernity and so-called sophistication of the method, the project is still mass deception. It is to all intents and purposes a peacetime propaganda to promote a cult of personality and elitism that should have no part in an early 21st century so-called mature and highly developed democratic society.

For those marketing types that sell us dummies on DVD, I say they should offer us two products: one with the propagandist tittering and coercive fake response to the material that is more akin to so-called authoritarian regimes, and one without, so that us as so-called free individual citizen, consumers, can make up our own minds as to whether or not the material is funny and or entertaining.

My message to those dismal folk working in the mass deception industry to falsely promote funny is: CAN IT!

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