I never really liked the movie Natural Born Killers, but there was always one scene I thoroughly enjoyed.
I thought the I Love Mallory segment with a very inappropriate laugh track was a brilliant segment, and the laugh track going off at very sick, unfunny moments gave the scene even more dramatic gravity.
I also recall seeing an old seventies comedy called Tunnel Vision about television of the future, and it also had a similar sick sitcom where the audience burst out laughing at every inappropriate moment imaginable.
So searching around on YouTube, I found several other homemade versions of this idea that were pretty funny, including the third Friday the 13th movie, which was in 3D by the way, with a laugh track. The humor in the film is really dumb (it’s a mad slasher movie, what did you expect, Jackie Gleason?), but the laugh track makes it very funny, like watching a really bad sitcom instead of a horror film.
As we’ve seen with really bad TV shows, a laugh track is usually a strained attempt to make you laugh at something that’s not really funny to begin with, except here painfully unfunny turns out pretty funny. Then Entertainment Weekly reminded me there’s also laugh tracks that have been added to The Dark Knight scenes with The Joker, which adds to the irony of his character, and makes his jokes even darker.
Apparently these clips were put up on YouTube back in 2009, but apparently the latest Dark Knight movie has prompted renewed interest.
I don’t know who started all this on YouTube, or where the initial inspiration came from, but it’s definitely interesting to see how the tone of a movie can change just by tweaking a few elements here and there. Having seen this being done years before, I like how a laugh track, which usually tries to bring lame comedy to life, can make a movie darker and add a lot of interesting irony to the proceedings.