The Big Bang Theory is one of those sitcoms that, if you are really lucky, you can witness in person. The multi-camera show is filmed every week before a live audience. For those 228 people, it is the event of a lifetime. But it’s not just the audience members that benefit from the real-time laughs while the show is being taped. The stars get a boost from the energy of a couple of hundred enthusiastic fans.
The Big Bang Theory was one of the featured shows in a recent CBS special Now That’s Funny! Presented by the Paley Center for Media, the special aired the day after Christmas and featured the Big Bang Theory actors talking about one thing that sets their show apart: the live audience. Sitcoms generally are one of two kinds: single-camera with no audience, or multi-camera with actual fans watching the action. The Big Bang Theory has always been the latter.
Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting, who plays Penny, minced no words when describing what the people in the studio mean to the actors.
“Our audiences are unbelievably awesome. These people… they want to be here… We do have the gift of the audience, for sure.”
Kunal Nayyar pointed out that, for the audience, coming to the show is a monumental event and the excitement is palpable.
“It’s amazing. The energy is very electric. There are audiences who have flown in just for one night from Japan, Australia, Central America. People have been waiting for years to come to a taping of ‘Big Bang Theory.'”
That sentiment was shared by Johnny Galecki.
“It’s charged. There’s something else in the room that you can’t create without it, without those 300 people in the stands.”
You can check out the clip below of the cast talking about the show’s audience and the genius of show runner Chuck Lorre.
Viewers who tune in every week to watch The Big Bang Theory— or diehards who watch it every day in reruns — can rest assured the laughter they hear on-screen is real people laughing. Chuck Lorre was emphatic in a 2011 New York Magazine article that none of his sitcoms — which also include Two and a Half Men and Mike and Molly — use laugh tracks.
“I do not, and have never, sweetened my shows with fake laughs. I’ve always thought it was a pretty hateful and self-defeating practice.”
As the Now That’s Funny! clip demonstrates, however, the warm-up comic works hard to get the audience’s enthusiasm at its peak before the cast comes out and delivers the scripted dialogue.
New episodes of The Big Bang Theory air Thursday nights on CBS.
[Image via Hollywood Reporter]