In sitcoms, even the guy who serves your coffee is a comedy genius. Every third line is a punchline, and every routine task turns into slapstick shenanigans. You can hear this reflected in the audience, who are rarely able to contain themselves in the face of such hilarity. It’s a world full of laughter and fun!
First, while we the viewers have the benefit of hearing the laugh track or live studio audience, the people actually living in the sitcom do not. They hear nothing but the endless silence of the void. You may have seen this clip in which the audience is removed from The Big Bang Theory. Without the canned guffaws, each quip is met with a dead silence oozing with bitter contempt:
Nobody here finds anybody else funny. Rajesh spends the clip making sexist demands at Penny, who is clearly not amused, and her justified denial results in the comeback, “Looks like somebody’s been taking bitchy pills.” Without the laughter you realize that’s not a joke – that’s just being an asshole.
Even the friends from Friends – ostensibly a show about six people who enjoy hanging out with each other – are revealed to be sad, miserable dicks without the laugh track.