Well, where to start?
Some 10 years ago, I stopped writing a weekly column for nearly 100 newspapers across the country. My genre was satirical humor, which I managed to do week after week for over 25 years. For those of you without a calculator this is over 1,300 weekly efforts. Why my website (pearyperry.com) has all of my old columns dated on November 14, 2017, I’ll never know. Makes no difference to me.
But, after so long and so many words, I finally ran out of humor. In short my mojo got broke. I managed to create one a couple of times a year, but that seemed to get old. I suppose your concept of humor evolves or changes over time, doesn’t it? I mean, go back and look at some of the comedy programs from years past. They seem pretty stale now, don’t they? Nothing in them seems funny any longer.
Another thing that didn’t seem to bother us in years past, was canned laughter. Now it just irritates me to hear it and it sounds so phony. Which it is.
So let’s look at that.
I am fairly certain the folks in the media, television, movies, radio etc. keep a copy of their work for use in securing a new job somewhere, right? I mean I think Brad Pitt has a portfolio of his appearances in movies or television to show to new producers what kind of actor he really is and how he comes across when he is acting.
So, I have to think that there are people in this world who actually make a living out of laughing for money. Come to think of it, my ex-wife used to do that to me on several occasions. I don’t think it was complimentary however.
Anyway, picture this. A guy walks into the offices of some television producer or casting director (I don’t know who they would see, so bear with me here) pulls out a recorder and starts playing assorted soundtracks of laughs that they have generated (and for which he hopes to be paid).
“No, no, no…..that will never do, we need a more sinister laugh to go with this piece.”
“Ok, that’s much better but it needs to be a few seconds longer, this was his best joke.”
“Can we get this with a British woman’s voice?”
“We need a much larger audience, it’s for a politician.”
So the poor guy runs back to his/her studio and tries to generate something that will work for this customer. Stays up all night long laughing and laughing until he gets it correct. Calls all of his friends and co-workers to come to the studio post-haste so he can crank this out in time.
Year after year.
You know the term…’busman’s holiday’? It refers to the concept that when a bus driver gets a chance to go on vacation, he just wants to sit somewhere and not drive. I would imagine a laugh sound track guy would be the same. He doesn’t want to hear anyone laugh about anything. He wants silence.
They probably have an International Laugh Producer Association. They get together and share new techniques or new laughs in breakout sessions at their annual conferences in Las Vegas or maybe Omaha, no never Omaha. One of them probably wrote a best seller entitled ”laughing All the Way to the Bank.” They probably discuss things like “The 10 most believable laughs in history”. And put down people they don’t like….”I cannot believe he thinks that sounds like real laughter.” “She sounds like a hyena to me.”
So where are those artists of yesterday? I would think that computers generate this stuff now, not some group of actual humans, wouldn’t you? Where did they go after they got laid off from Laughs R Us?
What a life, but someone got paid to do it didn’t they?
Ok…so you see what happens with my stories? I get started on one thought and then get sidetracked into something totally different, but this is what kept people reading week after week for those 25 years.