Meet The Man Who Created The 1980s Laugh Track

Pratt’s company became responsible for providing about 80% of laugh tracks to all US sitcoms.

Sitcoms are fun and easy watches, and most of us probably don’t think twice about the laughter that we hear in the background. However, there is such a thing as a laugh track, something that was added to TV shows back in the 80s.

There is a classic documentary from this era which specifically gives an in-depth look at laugh tracks and how they came about.

Photo: YouTube/TV Crew Guy

According to the documentary, the laugh track is the invention of sound engineer, Carroll Pratt. Pratt was the one who helped to come up with the “laff box” of the late 1950s, alongside fellow sound engineer, Charley Douglass.

Photo: YouTube/TV Crew Guy

It wasn’t until the 1980s that Pratt and his brother began the Sound One Studios, which specifically added a laugh track to a lot of US sitcoms.

Photo: YouTube/TV Crew Guy

Well before this he’d already been doing something similar. In the late 1950s, Pratt and Douglass started doing something called “laugh sweetening.” This pre-recorded laughter really took off in the 1980s, and Pratt’s company became responsible for providing about 80% of laugh tracks to all US sitcoms.

Quite fascinating, right? Check out the video below:

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