Chuck Lorre, sans laugh track.
"If it's not funny in front of 200 human beings, it's probably not funny at home," says sitcom guru Chuck Lorre.
It’s official. Chuck Lorre doesn’t like laugh tracks.
The man behind Two and a Half Men, The Big Bang Theory and the upcoming Mike & Molly isn’t using them (and presumably no ‘sweetening’ either).
Lorre, whose work also includes Roseanne, Grace Under Fire, Cybill, Dharma & Greg, “I didn’t use one on Roseanne 20 years ago, and I’m not doing it now. I have a live audience that comes in to watch the show. If they don’t laugh, in the silence you can hear your career going by. We rewrite the material on the spot or cut it. If it’s not funny in front of 200 human beings, it’s probably not funny at home.”
Amongst his other tips on the key to sitcoms are:
Make the story small.
“Stories should be about these characters trying to make it through the day. The obstacles in [their] path — that’s where the comedy comes from. You can start any story with the seven deadly sins. We all fall prey to those.”
Humor is secondary.
“If you start with a joke, it never can rise above glib.”
“We do 24 shows a year and actors are going to ad-lib their way to success? I don’t think so.”
“The job is about guessing and hoping you’re making the right guess. How the f*** do I know what the audience wants? Because I spoke to a guy on a train? Does that guy represent 15 million people? I doubt it.”
Get the rights props.
“You have to keep a ukulele on your desk when you write sitcoms. It’s important so people respect you.”