Laughter comes in two forms. In its natural form, it is an expression of happiness, or a reaction to something humerous. In our media-driven society, there is another form - that of a trigger to suggest that something might be funny. I would like to share a few thoughts on the latter, and question the value.
The use of 'canned-laughter' in the endless array of comedy[?]-sitcoms, is a cover for the fact that the scripts are becoming increasingly unfunny. In the early days of television, live-audiences were used for this laughter, but even then, the 'laugh-lights' told an audience when a response was required. Today, it seems we have dispensed with any human intervention in the process, and just automatically insert this nonsense every five seconds, regardless of whether something is remotely funny or not.
One theory of mine [ as yet untested ] is that the success of animated-comedies is due in large part to the absence of these inane cues.