In The Big Bang Theory, do they shoot the show in front of a live studio audience?

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    You have three question together, the first one and third one are off-topic. If you don't mind you can remove them to make it fit in good format.Do they have live audience while shooting for a particular episode? could be a good question but others are not fit for our site.
    – Ankit Sharma
    Mar 29, 2013 at 6:03
  • Do you have any "particular episode" in mind?
    – Sayan
    Mar 29, 2013 at 8:52

4 Answers 4


For the most part, yes it seems, for proof, here is one of Chuck Lorre's vanity cards I remember seeing sometime back.

enter image description here

  • I spy several clones in that audience. Oct 28, 2014 at 0:36
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    @CrowTRobot ... I think it has to do with the overlap in the panoramic shot they stitched together, but I see what you mean. Oct 28, 2014 at 0:59
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    There's also a video somewhere of the cast bursting into a dance number to the surprise of all the guests... here! Mar 8, 2019 at 1:18

Yes. While investigating anything regarding "anything", you should have some look at the reviews or plot in Wikipedia. I think a single quote is very much enough...

The show is filmed in front of a live audience

Here's the reference (23rd one) for your tickets: http://the-big-bang-theory.com/tickets

  • I had this doubt as they have multiple locations like their apartments, their university, the cafe penny works in.. Mar 29, 2013 at 8:59
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    @MitakshGupta: The locations are all sets and not actual locations. Ever noticed that they show the apartment(s), canteen, comic store etc. from a specific angle. The other side is probably to seat live-audience.
    – Sayan
    Mar 29, 2013 at 13:08
  • In many shots though, they show that part of the camera angle. Refer to episode 1 season 2 "the bad fish paradigm". One angle is facing the elevator, another is facing away from it not looking at 4A or 4B's door.
    – user9308
    Apr 27, 2014 at 20:56
  • @Howard, this is in pursuit of something called "The Kuleshov effect", and you're right: it's rare enough for a TV show, and requires additional staging to pull off... Apr 29, 2014 at 12:48

To add to the points already made here:

Yes the show is shot infront of a live audience, but while the producers are comfortable using Sweetening, the answer to this is actually another question 'Does it really matter'?

Laugh tracks are added over the top of the 'received reaction' of the audience, to make it seem as though the jokes were received more warmly than they actually were, and thus 'funnier'. For a show with such a broad fan-base, the notion that an audience that has come specifically to see the show "Isn't laughing enough", this is pretty worrying.

Of course 'sweetening' can sometimes be used to "recapture" the spontaneity of an audience's first reaction, particularily when multiple takes are needed. By doing this, an edit can marry both the best take with the best reaction; this isn't particularily frowned upon, its perceived more to do with the economy of production than manipulation.

BBT is widely believed to use sweetening in pursuit of the latter of the two distinctions made above, and is the focus of its own meme and widely parodied.

Penny: Hey, Sheldon! (the audience chuckles)

Sheldon: Oh, hello, Penny! (the audience begins getting excited, laughing without even knowing they are laughing or what they are laughing at)

Penny: What are you doing? (nervous giggles are heard from all around the room)

Sheldon: Playing on a poorly coded Nintendo 64 emulator (6 people die instantly. A shockwave with the force of 10 Hiroshima bombings erupts from the studio, causing billions of dollars worth of damage. The surviving audience members begin urinating and vomiting on each other, all while laughing uncontrollably from the funniest joke ever told)

Whilst it is impossible to ascertain how much of the show is 'sweetened' without insider knowledge, attention has been drawn to how 'unfunny' the show actually is by removing the laugh-track, and trying to identify punchlines without it. The relative response to such an exercise seeks to demonstrate how reliant the show is on 'Sweetening'.

BBT is often held up as the low-watermark in TV comedy (actually, a lot of Chuck Lorre's stuff seems to find itself being seen as such), because of the perception that it commodifies a certain culture and reduces it to lazy stereotypes. The Live-audience/sweetening aspect is just one part of this debate; which has led Cracked.com writer Aaron Short to summarize the show as being:

eight seasons and the only punchline is "Look! Nerds!"

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    Even if I still tend to enjoy it now and then, it's interesting to see a review of this rather hyped show that is more congruent with my own assessments.
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Apr 29, 2014 at 16:19
  • This is the best answer to this question. Nov 2, 2014 at 6:47

I have read an Interview with Chuck Lorre, and for the record he tries to minimize 'canned laughter."


  • Hi there! Could you edit in a link to this interview? Or a reference to where you read it? (magazine, etc)
    – Jenayah
    Mar 7, 2019 at 20:57
  • OK, I will look for the article.. Mar 7, 2019 at 21:01
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    While this link may answer the question, it is necessary to include the relevant part of it into your post. If the link dies, your answer may become invalid.
    – A J
    Mar 8, 2019 at 4:45
  • Yes, point taken. I will work on the actual article. Mar 11, 2019 at 18:11

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