Jimmy Fallon was on the other night. He’s back in the studio playing to an audience of his band members. And he wasn’t funny. I like Jimmy Fallon. But the pauses for laughter that produce only a few self-serving chuckles don’t work.
I don’t like canned laughter either. If you’re in another room and only hear the laughter on a show like Friends, it’s really annoying. And you don’t need it. A live audience was a step forward. The Office did just fine with none of that.
Given that conflict, baseball is being played in empty stadiums using crowd noise to pump up the telecasts. Canned laughter if you will. Baseball more than any of the other sport requires an atmosphere. Even its defenders concede that the game itself no longer sustains most of our interest.
It is what it is and what baseball is right now is a television drama. So bring it on. Pretend there’s a crowd even if we know there isn’t. It worked well enough for Friends.