It's a well-known fact that the majority of contemporary traditional American sitcoms are pure dreck. For every standout ('30 Rock,' 'The Office,' 'Curb Your Enthusiasm'), there are roughly a dozen other shows that parlay hackneyed jokes and predictable one-liners into syndicated success. The connecting thread among these programs is, of course, the laugh track. Born exclusively from the medium of the sitcom, the tool was utilized by producers in the 1950s to bestow upon the audience a visceral connection to experiencing live theater, and although its presence has waned in the decades following, the laugh track has, nevertheless, remained present on your TV screen. From 'Alf' to 'Friends' to 'According To Jim,' canned laughter has provided a patronizing signal indicating to the viewer that it is, indeed, time to laugh (and what could be funnier than when someone essentially alerts you to the fact?). The practice is often groan-inducing, and as such, has found its way into meme territory among those eager to subvert the form and see it go viral.

Below are some of our favorite clips of material from television, edited in fine form to showcase how laugh tracks (or a show itself) can prove to be severely out of touch with reality, entertainment or both.

  • 1. 'The Wire'


  • 2. 'To Catch A Predator'


  • 3.'Your World With Neil Cavuto'


  • 4. 'Star Trek'