As the common saying goes, “laughter is the best medicine”. For many tv shows, laugh tracks have become an essential part of the sitcoms. However, there are some TV shows that ditched the laugh track altogether.
Reddit users in this thread listed a number of the best tv shows that didn’t rely on a laugh track. Most tv shows have shown that they can still be popular even though they didn’t include a laugh track. Instead, they relied on natural comedic timing, clever writing, and lovable characters to generate laughter in their audiences.
10 ’30 Rock’ (2006 – 2013)
Winning multiple awards including Primetime Emmy Awards, and Golden Globe Awards, 30 Rock is considered one of the greatest sitcoms of all time. It followed the daily chaos of a sketch comedy show starring Tracy Jordan (Tracy Morgan), which was run by Liz, the head writer (Tina Fey), and the show’s executive producer Jack (Alec Baldwin).
Reddit usersnamed 30 Rock as a great show without laugh tracks. With its clever writing and impeccable comedic timing, 30 Rock did not need to rely on laugh tracks for audiences to laugh until they cry. The actors’ performances and the excellent comedic writing were enough to win viewers’ hearts.
9 ‘Happy Endings’ (2011 – 2013)
Even though Happy Endings got canceled after only three seasons, fans view the show as a beloved cult classic where they appreciated its smart and fast-paced humor. Fans also fell in love with the show’s ensemble cast who brought together a unique dynamic and energy.
That is why Reddit users named Happy Endings as one of the good shows that didn’t need to use laugh tracks. The show already had a natural and sophisticated comedic style that generated laughter. On top of that, Happy Endings was also able to explore more complex themes and topics in greater depth which connected with the audience even more.
8 ‘Malcolm in the Middle’ (2000 – 2006)
Malcolm in the Middle followed the lives of the chaotic family, the Wilkersons,including the main character Malcolm (Frankie Muniz). Not only was Malcolm In The Middle popular because of its iconic characters and creative storytelling, but it also had inventive camera work that gave the show a more documentary-style feeling.
Reddit user u/neutralvoice said that Malcolm in the Middle is easily one of the best comedies ever made. After all, the show’s features of breaking the fourth wall on top of their innovative camera work allowed the audience to feel immersed in the Wilkersons’ world. Hence, no laugh tracks were needed for the audience to have a pleasant viewing experience while watching Malcolm in the Middle.
7 ‘Silicon Valley’ (2014 – 2019)
Airing from 2014 to 2019, Silicon Valley captured the world of the tech industry and the Silicon Valley culture. One of the reasons why it became popular was because of its biting commentary and spot-on depictions of the tech industry and toxic tech culture.
All these elements made Silicon Valley a success even though it didn’t have laugh tracks. It allowed the audience to appreciate the show’s intelligent humor and laugh at the well-crafted jokes without the cues. Ultimately, the show’s ensemble cast including Zach Woods, Martin Starr, Kumail Najiani, and T.J Miller elevated the show beyond its creative writing.
6 ‘New Girl’ (2011 – 2018)
Starring Zooey Deschanel as Jessica Day, New Girl became popular because of its relatable characters and clever comedy writing that kept fans laughing throughout its run. Even though the show is a comedy, it still tackled relatable themes including relationships and career struggles that connected with audiences on a deeper level.
That is why New Girl was still a great show without laugh tracks. The show in itself already had witty writing, smart dialogue, and situational comedy that generated laughs. All of this flowed naturally for viewers, so they never needed a laugh track to know when it was time to laugh.
5 ‘Modern Family’ (2009 – 2020)
A great TV show with more than 10 seasons, viewers of Modern Family got to follow the lives of the Pritchett-Dunphy-Tucker clan. Using a mockumentary format, the show explored the challenges and joys of family life, while also making viewers laugh with its well-crafted humor and witty banter.
Reddit users named Modern Family as one of the best TV comedies without laugh tracks. Throughout the show’s eleven seasons, explored a range of emotions from heartfelt and emotional family moments to over-the-top physical comedy. If Modern Family used a laugh track, it would’ve disrupted the unique and distinctive tone they brought out.
4 ‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine’ (2013 – 2021)
Unlike typical police shows, Brooklyn Nine-Nine was more of a light-hearted comedy that had its unique blend of humor and heart. The show followed the detectives of the 99th precinct in the NYPD, with both their personal and professional lives. All these elements made Brooklyn Nine-Nine a popular show to watch for fans.
One of the reasons why the show didn’t need a laugh track for fans to love it was because Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s talented and diverse cast brought out excellent performances with comedic timing. On top of that, by having no laugh track, the show is able to maintain a realistic tone which is important since it’s set in a police precinct.
3 ‘Parks and Recreation’ (2009 – 2015)
Starring Amy Poehler as Leslie Knope, Parks and Recreation grew in popularity because of their most wholesome characters. Each character had their own distinct quirks and personalities which worked well with the show’s clever writing.
All these aspects of Parks and Recreation made the show a standout comedy that didn’t need a laugh track. Fans loved the show because of its character-driven humor and did not need to be prompted by a laugh track to enjoy those moments.
Community won the heart of many fans due to its unique blend of humor and pop-culture references. Set at a community college, viewers followed along with the various challenges that the characters faced and tried to navigate.
Ultimately, the show used various comedic tools that did not need a laugh track. Many fans already enjoy the subtle humor and clever wordplay, as well as the awkward moments of silence the characters sometimes had. That’s why a laugh track would’ve completely changed the unique style and rhythm of the show that fans know and love.
1 ‘The Office’ (2005 – 2013)
Even though it could be a cringe comedy series, The Office gained a lot of loyal fans who loved watching the show. As the show used a documentary format, frequently broke the fourth wall, and addressed the audience directly, fans felt more connected to the characters.
On top of that, fans loved The Office’s remarkable blend of cringe humor, deadpan delivery, and hilarious social interactions that made fans laugh. Without a laugh track, the show was able to utilize those comedic effects and create excellent comedic timing.
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