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The demise of the laugh track

I watched an interesting video on YouTube about the demise of the laugh track.

Some of you may be too young to remember laugh tracks, bless ya souls.

A mf like me tho?

I grew up with ‘em.

If you’re somehow unfamiliar, laugh tracks are fake laughs that show writers insert into sitcoms, so the audience knows when they’re supposed to laugh.

Shows like the Big Bang Theory use laugh tracks to a disgusting degree. Like anytime a nerd says something science-y (which happens to a painful degree).

But then shows like The Office, Parks and Rec, and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia (my personal favorite) came out and changed the paradigm:

Since they were actually funny, they didn’t need to rely on a laugh track for their audience to know where to laugh.

Now, you’re probably thinking…

“Cool story John. But what in the actual F does laugh tracks have to do with writing copy?”

Well, you’re wrong to doubt me, cully.

Here’s the point:

Using comedy in your copy.

Sprinkling a few jokes and comedic setups in your copy can help you foster the “KLT” (know-like-trust) factor I’ve rambled on about before.

Comedy also disengages people’s natural position to hate being sold to. (But remember: they love buying.)

Plus, it gets wild engagement.

For example, a common “tweet formula” on Twitter goes something like this:


5 simple ways to lose 7 pounds in the next 6 days:

1. Exercise for 30 minutes per day

2. Eat healthy 80% of the time

3. Smoke crack

4. Drink 64 oz of water

5. Sleep for 7-8 hours


The joke about smoking crack is a comedic setup.

That said, one of the biggest signs of a newbie copywriter is an over-reliance on comedy. If you get too “cutesy” with your copy or comedy, it takes on the role of the laugh track:

Yes, it might’ve worked in the past. But it makes everyone cringe now.

So, yes, you have my permission to use comedy in your copy. But use it with caution. And don’t let yourself become a “laugh track copywriter.”


Because I’ll find out if you do. And I’ll send my goons to your crib to knock on your door, tell you an overplayed knock-knock joke, then kick you in your cajones.


Alright, enough of this.

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Let’s see if partnering makes our wallets fatter than the average weight of a Minister of Health.


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