Laughter is the Best Medicine

Efficiency in Comedy: The Office vs. Friends

Hey guys, today’s video is sponsored by Dollar Shave Club. Head to to get your daily essential starter set for just 5 bucks. *clears throat* I hate laugh tracks. [ Laugh track starts ] I think they’re annoying – – unnecessary, and honestly I find them to be kind of an insult to the viewer’s intelligence. It’s like the show doesn’t trust you to know when to laugh so they have to basically hold up a big sign after every joke And say “look that was joke it time to laugh now”, but then at the same time it also kind of feels like a lack of confidence in their own jokes. Like the writers know that these lines aren’t that funny So they have to like peer pressure you into laughing Because listen to how much these other people are laughing you should be laughing – most of all though I hate laugh tracks because as a viewer when I hear the sound of canned laughter I am completely taken out of what in my opinion Should be an immersive experience I want to watch a show and feel like a fly on the wall during a realistic human Interaction and yet a laugh track serves as a constant reminder that these characters whose lives You’re trying to get invested in are not actually characters They’re just actors acting on a stage in front of a live audience That reacts to every joke like they just woke up from a long coma and this is the first joke they’ve heard in 20 years Joey:
“Closeness schmoseness, there was 3 of us for cryin’ out loud!” [ audience laughs like they just woke up from a come and is this the first joke they’ve heard in 20 years ] In addition to being an auditory distraction laugh tracks also mess up the flow of Every scene even if you remove the actual sound of the laughter it’s still evident that these conversations Have a very unnatural rhythm Pink Shirt Lady:
“Get one yourself!” [ awkward silence ] Beer Nerd:
“Oooh Somebody’s been taking bitchy pill!” [ even more awkward silence ] Pink Shirt:
“God, he’s an ass when he drinks” Outfit Matching Nerd:
“Well, he’s an ass when he doesn’t, you just don’t hear it.” [ silence ] Line! Long pause. Line! Long pause. I’ve never in my life had a conversation with that cadence It’s just not how people talk, probably the worst thing about these laugh tracks Is that they don’t always Correlate with the quality of the joke every response seems to indicate the same level of hilarity when here’s the thing Some jokes are just better than others I don’t expect every line to elicit this room wide eruption of laughs and cheers And I don’t hold it against a show if a joke doesn’t make me audibly laugh but when a throwaway line is followed up by several wasted seconds where I’m just waiting for the next joke and Then it happens again And again and again I get impatient And I don’t want to watch the show anymore these episodes are about twenty two minutes long And it feels like I’m only getting maybe ten minutes of actual comedy, and that’s when my brain hatched an idea Exactly how much of an average episode of Friends is just laughter? What percentage of each episode’s 22 minute runtime is wasted by a glorified sound effect? And then to take it one step further how many jokes are there in an episode of Friends, Compared to an episode of, let’s say, The Office? Obviously quantity and quality aren’t the same thing and one good joke is better than a hundred bad ones But in this case I do think quantity is a pretty good indicator of overall writing quality. So I had to know I had to get to the bottom of this But how? And then I remembered I have a youtube channel I can do stuff like this [ Elevator Music ] Now keep in mind about 90% of this video is simply gonna be opinion based I may present a lot of what I’m saying as if it were fact But what most of it comes down to is simply personal preference So let’s start with The Office. The Office is my favorite show of all time I’m a bit of a basic bitch, so no I’m not talking about the British version nor the Japanese version for that matter I’m talking about the American office because here in the USA We may not be the first to do and stuff But I’ll be damned if we aren’t the best. The office combines everything I want in a comedy show Again, personal preference. It’s hilarious, it’s quick, But there’s also a lot of depth to it. Characters develop deep meaningful relationships that have ebbs and flows and give each episode more of a purpose. Particularly in the first three seasons with the back-and-forth between Jim and Pam. More than anything though I love the way The Office is directed. You can tell there’s so much deliberation involved in setting up the perfect shots. Which is something that may seem small But I think the movement and position of the camera can contribute so much to the tone of a scene.. As well as even serving as a joke in its own right. For example in the season 2 episode entitled “The Carpet”, After it’s been established that someone took a dump in Michaels office And no one can go in there because it smells so bad, Michael has a talking head bit where he kind of rambles about how this is like his fear factor audition Eventually he can’t stand it anymore and starts to rush out of the room. But it’s at that moment that the camera zooms out to reveal that even the cameraman didn’t want to be in that room. It’s a small detail, but it was enough to make me chuckle and feel smart for noticing it. But I’m rambling.. I love the show. I could talk about it for hours, But the title of this video isn’t why I like The Office, It’s The Office vs. Friends So I will try and get to the point. How many jokes are in one episode of The Office? Now, no scientific endeavor would be complete without taking an educated guess beforehand, so here’s my hypothesis I’m gonna say that an episode of The Office averages 140 jokes Which is roughly 1 joke every 9 seconds. On the other hand, I’m gonna guess that an average episode of Friends contains about half that. Let’s say 80 jokes or one joke every 15 seconds. In addition, I’m gonna guess at approximately three and a half minutes of every Friends episode is just laughter, And I’m also gonna guess that roughly 7% of you just clicked off the video when I started rambling about math So let’s speed this up a bit for the office. I chose season 5 episode 14 “Stress Relief Part 1” this episode is near and dear to my heart The opening scene alone is an absolute work of art Dwight for awareness reasons Intentionally starts a fire in the office to see how prepared everyone would be in that situation which is funny enough on its own But then he has this self-righteous attitude throughout the scene while everything Deteriorates into chaos led by Michael who immediately puts his safety before everyone else’s there are so many hilarious Details like Kevin going back to break into the vending machine.. Angela hurling her cat into the ceiling.. Stanley ultimately having a heart attack as Dwight explains that this was all a test. From start to finish, it’s beautiful, and there are 41 jokes in it. After the opening theme, The next scene is a meeting between Michael Dwight and 2 corporate higher-ups. Halfway through the scene michael casually gets up and sort of waltzes over to the other side of the table Trying to subtly switch his role in the situation and then starts lecturing Dwight. There are 16 jokes in the scene, 3 during their car ride back to the office, and 11 in the next scene Where Stanley comes back to the office and Michael offers him a wheelchair. Quote: “Until he’s back on his feet.” Stanley:
I’m going to die. After a commercial break comes one of the greatest scenes in television history.. The CPR training scene. If someone asked me “Hey, Drew! I want to get into comedy writing. Where do I start?” I would say… “I don’t know… I just make Youtube videos.” But I would tell them to study this scene. I don’t even know where to start with this, so I’ll let Steve Carrell set it up. Michael:
“We found ourselves on the… less prepared side of things. When Stanley had his… When his heart went berserk… I knew exactly what to do, But in a much more real sense I had no idea what to do. so I thought we should have a CPR training class.” So this woman has been hired by corporate to teach the office CPR. Michael instinctively volunteers Stanley, You know, the guy who just had a heart attack 3 days ago? But then after the rest of the office starts to express concern, He decides that the boss should go ahead and everyone how it’s done. Instructor:
“Okay, too fast.” The instructor has to try repeatedly to get things back on track… Inst:
“No, it’s [singing] ‘uh, uh, uh, uh, stayin’ alive, stay-‘ ” Michael:
“Okay, that’s it.” Creed:
“You were in the parking lot earlier, that’s how I know you!” Oh! And Creed… Fucking Creed! He has two lines in this entire episode And they’re both hysterical! Dwight:
“Check for an organ donor card. If he has one, we only have minutes to harvest.” Creed:
“He has no wallet, I checked.” This scene is so well written the way everything slowly gets more and more heightened the way each character progressively gets more involved it’s fantastic And there are 37 jokes in it so after Dwight destroys the very expensive CPR dummy he and Michael are once again forced to go meet with David Wallace in New York This is a short scene with only five jokes we then cut back to the office where Jim, Pam, and Andy are watching a movie He downloaded illegally Which doesn’t exist outside of the show. So props to the producers for actually shooting clips from a fake movie where Jack Black falls in love with Cloris Leachman I counted nine jokes in this scene, eight in the next scene where Dwight issues his statement of regret Dwight:
“I state my regret.” And another eight when Jim Pam and Andy finished the Jack Black movie The episode ends with Michael leading a relaxation exercise Which you guessed it is not very relaxing. There are 28 jokes in the scene and the episode is over In total, I counted 166 jokes in 21 minutes Which is only slightly higher than my hypothesis you guys want to double check my math go for it I also tried to be as unbiased with this as possible I included punchlines that didn’t make me laugh But I recognized as having meant to be a joke if I refuse to tally jokes that I don’t think are funny Then why the hell am I even doing this you know besides, this is science So now let’s transition over to Friends- controversial opinion alert! I… Actually like friends now if I hadn’t watched it with my mom growing up and didn’t have a little bit of a nostalgia for it I probably feel differently, but I think it’s a pretty okay show it’s got a likable enough characters even though They’re all mostly reliant on pretty basic Stereotypes: Rachel likes to shop, and Monica likes to clean, and Phoebe’s wacky! And Chandler sarcastic, and Ross is awkward, and Joey likes to fuc-, but five out of the six actors are good [ check description ] And the writing is usually fine with the exception of the occasional Awful joke thrown in from time to time Chandler:
“Anybody know a good tailor?” Joey:
“You need some clothes altered?” Chandler:
“No, no, I’m just looking for a man to draw on me with chalk…” [ Audience laughter ] As far as the laugh track goes I can forgive shows like friends for having a dated format because Well the show premiered almost 25 years ago. It’s not really dated If it literally is dated, and that’s just what sitcoms were like back. Then it was a standard I’m much less Understanding of shows that have debuted in the past decade that rely on this format originally this video was going to be The Office vs. The Big Bang Theory aka the world’s worst show, but I felt like that would be too easy It’s like making a video on Lele pons like we all know she’s bad I don’t know anyone who actually likes the Big Bang Theory and Honestly watching multiple episodes for research purposes just sounds like a nightmare so I ultimately decided on Friends because it is a show that people Generally enjoy. It’s just I think sometimes a slave to its own format There are moments in every episode where I have to fight the urge to incrementally skip forward past predictable back-and-forth scenes where you know what the next line is gonna be but you get a wait for the audience to calm down so They can say it, but because of all this anticipation. That’s built up now that line gets the enormous over-the-top applause It’s very formulaic and that is the exact phenomenon that led me to want to make this video in the first place So let’s get into it how much of a typical episode of Friends is just laughter funny story I wasn’t sure which episode to choose here So I went on IMDB to see the highest Rated um the second highest is the one where everyone finds out and I was like oh, I remember that one That’s a good episode. I’ll do that and then I realized holy shit this just happens to be season 5 episode 14 Which is the same as the ah so this is a perfect comparison? And I will not listen to anybody who tries to dispute that yes. It’s all coming back to me now This is definitely one of the best episodes the basic synopsis is Spoiler alert! Chandler and Monica have been secretly dating for the past like 15 episodes and only Joey knows Rachel and Phoebe find out because they see Chandler and Monica having sex But rather than confront them they try to mess with them by having Phoebe flirt with Chandler It goes back and forth until it all climaxes at the end of the episode they kiss Chandler freaks out tells Monica He’s in love with her the crowd goes woo, end of episode. Yes That was a significantly shorter synopsis than the one I did for the office But I realized I didn’t want this video to be like 90 minutes long so got a cut corner somewhere in this episode I counted in 21 laughs which is Surprisingly high actually. I definitely way underestimated the friends writers But I also way Underestimated the amount of time the audience reactions would take out my guess was three and a half minutes not even close now I will say I included scene transitions in this not the theme song but the silly little stings they play in between scenes because I felt like these are as much of a waste of time as the laugh tracks But anyway after isolating these two things I was left with 5 minutes and 20 seconds: over 25% of the episode has no dialogue and it no substance at all it’s just audible filler to pad the episode in between jokes side note if you guys want to double check this number and see what an entire episode of friends looks like without any dialogue I will be posting that video on my Twitter @drewisgooden And it’s kind of hilarious actually and I feel like even if you’ve never seen this episode of Friends and just have a basic understanding Of the characters you can completely understand what’s going on without hearing a single line of dialogue No for the sake of being somewhat thorough I went ahead and did the same thing for one more episode of each show the first episode of season 2 and got pretty similar Results I counted 119 jokes in The Office and 96 in Friends I’m gonna guess that these numbers are a little more typical of what an average episode of each show is like Whereas the season 5 episode 14’s of each show are more an outlier like, the best of each show? But still the results are comparatively pretty similar alright, so we’ve counted the number of jokes We’ve isolated the laugh track and use science to determine that the office is a much more comedic Efficient show than Friends so the only question to answer at this point is Does it really matter and that’s entirely up to you efficiency is a term I’ve thrown around a lot in this video But it’s important to say that it’s not the deciding factor when it comes to comedy because comedy isn’t math Comedy is completely subjective And I’m not here to tell you that you should like one show more than another because there’s more jokes in it. The whole point of This video was just to incorporate a small bit of math into a non mathematical experiment But at the end of the day just watch whatever makes you happy if you like Kevin can wait then watch it if you only Like Disney Channel original movies then watch them. Even Camp Rock 2, which was an objectively disappointing sequel But whatever you do don’t let someone tell you what you should like Especially not me because I just spent the past two weeks of my life Voluntarily doing math what the fuck do I know about comedy? The perfect ending great job on the video drew oh, thanks Mr. Narrator, yeah It was nice to not have to be on camera for a change I grew out my beard yeah You gotta get rid of that. I’ve got a surprise for you though check under your chair. I mean like how Oprah does yeah? I guess oh hell yeah razor. I’m gonna use it right now Wait drew don’t forget about the shave butter. It’s so soft. This is way better than the butter I normally shave with all done as hairless as the day I was born. Yeah, you look great, but What’s that smell oh? I haven’t showered in over a week. Is there a reason yes. I didn’t have to be on camera You know normal people don’t wait until they’re gonna be on camera to forget about it I got you covered check the box. There’s more Wow Three one white Charlie’s to clean my tush and lavender scented body wash to clean the rest of me. Thanks mr.. Narrator I look like a million bucks Which is probably how much you had to spend on this box, right? nope
just five bucks cuz I went to slash Drew and used your credit card to have it shipped straight to your door kind of lessens the gift when you say you Use my money to buy it drew we’re the same person. Oh, duh All right, can you just sit there and look pretty while I tell people more about Dollar Shave Club? Which is your go-to place for all your grooming needs? It’s not just razors and butt wipes people they even have toothpaste hair gel moisturizer. You’ll never have to leave your house again Good cuz I don’t want to Thank you so much a dollar shave club for sponsoring today’s video and helping me turn my life around and I also want to thank you guys so much for Ordering as many shirts as you did as a lot of you know I announced my merch in my last video I’ve got a little stinger shirt roadwork ahead shirt. Got pants shirt. I got my usual drew gooden products. Hopefully I got to see a lot of you guys at playlist I’m recording this before playlist, but posting it after so I can’t say how it was cuz I haven’t I haven’t Experienced it yet, but hopefully I got to see a lot of you guys there and it was fun and I didn’t shit my pants onstage in front of everybody I Really, hope that didn’t happen our little singers Have a great week, and I will be back on this channel with new video as soon as humanly possible Bye a sidenote post video hot take here I think David Schwimmer is the best actor on friends, and I’m not being sarcastic His biggest detractor is often that he’s too emotional, or you know some people might describe him as kind of a little bitch And that’s a hundred percent true, but he’s really convincing and expressing it his physical comedy is so underrated the way He moves his body his facial expressions his timing are so good these types of sitcoms were made for people like David Schwimmer I think his talent just gets overlooked because Ross can be such an annoying character But next time you’re watching the show and I know this is asking for a lot But take your eyes off Rachael’s exposed nipples for a few moments And you might gain an appreciation for someone you thought you could never appreciate you go David Anyway just a tangent that wasn’t really related to the videos so I threw it in at the end Thank you again so much for watching guys be sure to like and subscribe and let me know if you want to see more videos like this or if you prefer my usual Format this was really fun to make so I’ll probably do more whether you like it or not But it’s still good to ask all right. See you later guys

100 thoughts on “Efficiency in Comedy: The Office vs. Friends

  1. thanks for watching guys, I know this video is different from my usual format but I'm really happy with it. Also don't forget to use my link so dollar shave club doesn't regret paying me 🙂

  2. I watched this video like a year ago. I found Drew Gooden videos a few days ago. I then got this video recommended to me again and realized “Hey! It’s this guy!”

  3. “Stress Relief: Part 1”, The Office: S5;E14
    “The One Where Everybody Finds Out”, Friends: S5;E14
    “The Marine Biologist”, Sienfeld: S5;E14
    “Ozymandias”, Breaking Bad: S5;E14


  4. I have watched so many of your videos and I have never disagreeed with you more. Friends is clever, funny, heartwarming, fun and timeless. The Office is stupid, trying way too hard and isn’t realistic in the slightest.

  5. I object only on the basis that FRIENDS was actually filmed in front of a live audience and most of those laughs were genuine

  6. I think theyre both great. Personally I prefer Friends. The laughing track is just something that was popular to use during the 90s.

  7. Like – friends
    Comment – the office
    I personally like friends more
    And this not just for likes, I actually want to know 🙂

  8. Your comparing two very different types of shows / comedy, so your point is more just your criticism of Friends–which is fine, but again doesn't really work if your trying to compare to the Office. It's like if you enjoy horror movies, and are comparing that to your dislike of sci-fi. Disclaimer, I do enjoy both shows.

  9. I’m generally not big on laugh tracks (tbh who tf is at this point??) but everyone should watch this, it’s a really interesting perspective with an argument that holds up surprisingly well

  10. The big bang theory is LOVELY (it's basically the intelligent version of friends, but better than friends (personally))

  11. Theatre always told us never to hold too many beats in between lines. So laugh tracks are just even more annoying.

  12. You know what, fuck you with your over analysis, Friends is a great show and so is the Office, but you acting like you're better than us for noticing stuff is ruining the shows for me. The laugh tracks in Friends are mostly real and they only add stuff in when they thought that the joke needs more laughing. I think it adds charm to the show and it doesn't suck me out of the story. Just turn your swollen brain off and just watch the damn show with out having to analyze everything about each scene, it makes you look like a r/iamverysmart person

  13. i like both shows but i prefer friends cuz ya laugh tracks isnt the best thing but some of the jokes in the office (especially early michael and later andy) just cinges me out cuz im embarrassed for the character so i prefer laugh tracks over cringey jokes.

  14. i don’t mean to be rude, but what is funny about The Office? me and maaaaaany people i know don’t get it at all. one time me and a friend just starred at the screen, The Office was playing. yeah, no problem if you like it,. we are all different

  15. The office is funny at times but it's not as great as everyone says it's kind of overrated in my opinion, Friends is the same, I think they're about the same amount of coemdy personally. Creed, Ryan and Stanley are really funny characters tho.

  16. Shows with laughtracks are structured around the laughtracks. Its not that hard to understand. Imagine putting a laughtrack in the office or b99 and youll probably hate it too

  17. Holy fuck I didn’t even realize this was drew gooden until he plugged his Twitter. I just thought this was a random video essay that got recommended to me because of how much I watch video essays

  18. The office all day. It’s just genius. Best show ever. And if it had laugh tracks it wouldn’t be as good; but it doesn’t.

  19. Dude I actually like the laugh track it makes it funnier somehow. Also I love you Drew, but the Big Bang Theory is one of the best shows on TV. Almost everyone I know loves it and it's obviously super popular it has 12 seasons. But I'm a nerd so I have to love it.

  20. If a simple laughter pulls you out, may be your imagination is not good enough for a full immersion. When someone is eating popcorn near you in a theater does it makes you dislike the movie?

  21. i love this video with all my heart . the office is the best show in the world n i am glad u agree . i love u more than danny

  22. I really love the office
    And friends is really good

    But I still choose The Office
    Low key started watching I missed out back then

    I'm on season 8 almost finished

  23. I don´t mind laugh tracks in sitcoms because remember, sitcoms were originally taped in front of a STUDIO AUDIENCE. The sitcom experience is supposed to be theatrical. Why do you think the acting and writing tends to be farsical?

  24. I love the office too but the character depth isnt much different to friends, stanley is the office grump, meridith is the office slut, kevin is the office idiot etc

  25. Usually even when I watch funny stuff I hardly ever laugh out loud. If I'm with friends I'm more comfortable in a way to laugh. And as someone who watched both shows more than once, I think Friends has the superior jokes, and the laugh track helps me laugh out loud too.

  26. I personally don't mind laugh tracks because it makes the show feel more like a theatrical play, which for me, is nice. But I would have to agree that The Office is the best TV show of all time. It is a mockumentary type of show though, and I know many people who can't stand the format and prefer a typical comedy show

  27. To be fair, I would say that you sound a bit biased based on the simple facts that you said The Office is your favorite show and that you spend a solid 5 minutes ranting about Friends having a laugh track.

    That being said, you’re right in saying that it all comes down to subjective opinion. I personally love Friends much more than the Office, though I have noticed that they try to push the idea that every joke is the same level of funny.

    I don’t have any clue why I’m commenting, I just know that the Office is more popular than Friends and I think it’s always good to offer another perspective.

    EDIT: Pretty much every bad joke in the show is Chandler’s and I think that’s intentional.
    Also, 95% of this comment section is just people shitting on Friends and shitting on people who like Friends when it’s LITERALLY personal preference. The high and mighty attitude of these comments is ridiculous.

  28. Just watched friends (all of it) for the first time in my life a few weeks ago. I’d say it’s decent. Pretty entertaining. Not the best thing ever but aight.

  29. I strongly believe I’m the only person in the world who’s yet to laugh even a little at The Office and that’s weirdly awesome to me💀

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