U.S.—All comedians bomb from time to time. Whether they're stand-up comics, comedic actors, or humorists writing for satire sites, part of the gig is accepting that your jokes won't always land.
But comedian Amy Schumer had an especially brutal outing when she recorded her most recent special, Growing, for Netflix. In the actual live performance, she couldn't get any laughs out of the crowd. Them's the breaks---sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, sometimes your jokes are so repulsively unfunny that you can hear the silent existential screams of your audience echoing in your soul. That's show biz!
So Schumer's producers decided to layer some laugh tracks on the performance to "fill it out" a bit. But something bizarre happened: when they played back the mix, the prerecorded laugh track went completely silent after each of Schumer's jokes.
"It was the strangest thing--- utterly uncanny!" said one audio engineer who worked on the production. "The audio track was there, but it just wasn't laughing. It's like being in the same audio mix as Amy Schumer killed the laugh track's will to live."
"Uncanny!" he added.
Producers tried everything, from warming the track up with some old Frasier episodes and a viewing of Top Secret with Val Kilmer to handing out copious amounts of alcohol to the laugh track files. The laugh tracks would start to chuckle, but then they'd slap them in the Schumer special, and they'd immediately go silent.
Finally, producers were forced to simply include horrified moans and audible cringes in the special in lieu of a laugh track.