Dateline: LOS ANGELES—Investigators have uncovered a club devoted to shaming audience members of American talk shows whose clapping and other loud reactions to the guests’ remarks often drown out what the guests are saying, wasting the time of the viewers at home.
Based in LA, the club is called Citizens for Silencing Audience Noise. Ray Akaji, CSAN’s spokesperson, expressed befuddlement at the audacity and self-centeredness of the studio audiences.
“If you watch Real Time with Bill Maher,” said Akaji, “almost a quarter of what you hear is the clapping, hollering, laughter, and other obnoxious noises made by the audience. The live audience members seem to think they’re more important than the millions watching around the world—as if anyone on earth is tuning in because they want to hear a single peep from Joe Blow sitting in the studio audience. No, of course we want to hear only the celebrity guests themselves.
“That’s what truly makes no sense. The noise-makers think they can interrupt the guests with impunity, wasting valuable airtime in an hour-long show with their cacophony of worthless cheering, as though there were no danger of reprisal. Well, not on CSAN’s watch.
“We treat the noise-makers as thieves, because that’s what they are: they steal the meaningful content that could have been, the funny jokes the comedian would have said had he or she not been rudely interrupted by the infantile noise-makers. Sure, the live audience buys the tickets to enjoy the show, but that doesn’t entitle those members to curtail the show’s content with their idiotic noises. Make annoying sounds at home if you insist, but not in what is effectively a public space.”
CSAN members have thus taken it upon themselves to camp outside television studios, wait for the offending audience members to exit at the parking lot, and yell in their ears or work party horns, blowouts, and kazoos such as you would find on New Year’s Eve.
“Our mission,” said Akaji, “is to render the offenders unable to hear themselves speak—at least until they reach the comforting silence within their vehicle. That way, the analogy should strike home and they may desist from repeating their bit of foolishness in the future.
“They should be asking themselves, ‘Isn’t it annoying to have some strangers blast nonsense in your ear so you can’t hear what you’d rather be hearing? Isn’t life better when those who should be quiet keep quiet, so you can get stuff done?’ That’s what the insolent noise-makers should be thinking when CSAN has taken vengeance on behalf of the millions of more polite audience members at home.”
TV critic Marsha Marshmallow and CSAN member reasons that the sources of the disturbance may be Los Angeles and New York in particular, those being the cities where most American talk shows are taped.
“These self-centered fans who get tickets to sit in the TV studio audience come from parts of America which aren’t known for their humility,” said Marshmallow. “Most are relatively well-off, so they feel entitled and are thrilled at the prospect that their clapping might somehow match the guests’ discourse, as though they were on equal ground. They thus forget that they’re nobodies whatsoever in comparison to the celebrity guests, and should therefore oblige the vast audience at home by shutting the hell up when the cameras are rolling.”
The TV show producers often whip the crowd into a frenzy, inviting the wider viewership to tune in by holding up signs about when to clap and using that in-studio noise to create the impression that the show is entertaining.
“CSAN understands that side of the television business,” said Akaji. “But that doesn’t entitle the audience to drag out its mischief, squandering the precious airtime and causing a backlash of frustration. It’s the same reason listeners are quick to tune out a radio program when even the guests talk over each other so no one can understand what they’re saying. Who wants to listen to noise?”
Not everyone agrees with CSAN, however. Ted Cruikshank insists that he prefers the noise, including the audience clapping or laughter. “I just go ahead and fast-forward whenever the guests are talking, because I like to hear on TV only the eruption of applause. Guess you could call me a connoisseur of noise.”
Cruikshank lets the clapping, laughter, or booing wash over him, testing his peculiar ability to discern what strike him as interesting variations in what would otherwise seem to be the equivalent of so much space-wasting rubbish.
“The clapping in particular just appeals to me—much more so than the opinions of the actors, professors, and pundits who, I take it, are the starring attractions for most viewers. I know I’m in the minority on this one, but there’s no accounting for taste, right?”