Painting of thirty-five expressive heads.

Thirty-five Expressive Heads, by Louis-Léopold Boilly, c. 1825. Musee des Beaux-Arts, Tourcoing, France.

Comedy

Volume VII, Number 1 | winter 2014

Miscellany

A review of the sitcom The Hank McCune Show in a 1950 issue of Variety described the first known use of a laugh track on TV: “Although the show is lensed on film without a studio audience, there are chuckles and yucks dubbed in. Whether this induces a jovial mood in home viewers is still to be determined, but the practice may have unlimited possibilities if it’s spread to include canned peals of hilarity, thunderous ovations, and gasps of sympathy.”

Some things are privileged from jest—namely, religion, matters of state, great persons, all men’s present business of importance, and any case that deserves pity.

—Francis Bacon, 1597

Lapham’sDaily