Here’s one of those Friday Questions that became an entire post.
It’s from Tyler:
Do sitcom directors tend to be more amused or irritated by repeated takes being blown by one or more actors in a scene laughing and giggling? Have you worked with any actors who got irked by co-stars who repeatedly did so? I've just been re-watching all the Seinfeld blooper reels (often as funny as the show itself) and Michael Richards at times gets clearly annoyed with blown takes.
Actors infrequently get the giggles so when it happens it’s generally amusing to all concerned. And studio audiences LOVE it. When I direct and it happens I just give the actors a few minutes to regain their composure, well aware that it will still take a few more takes before they can get through the line.
Sometimes these laughing fits come as a result of something so funny in the script or a performance so hilarious that the other actors just can’t hold it. That's a good thing!
I remember once on CHEERS we used Tony Shaloub as a waiter and he just pulverized everybody. Yes, it resulted in delays but boy was it worth it.
In an episode of FRASIER I directed, two characters came to dinner who had huge noses. I told my camera operators to stay with whoever they were shooting if they were about to lose it. Some of the shots we ended up using were priceless. No actor I’ve ever worked with had more concentration than David Hyde Pierce, and even he was about to explode.
Ray Romano, on EVERYBODY LOVES RAYMOND, was so quick and every so often would toss in a hilarious ad lib that would crack up Patty Heaton. But that was on purpose.
I imagine if an actor breaks up habitually it can get old to his fellow cast mates, but I haven’t seen any instance of the cast getting annoyed (although it sounds like Michael Richards did get annoyed.
Here’s a sheepish confession: There used to be network specials that aired G-rated bloopers. The director would get a nice royalty if a clip from his episode was used. I was the happy recipient of a few of these checks. So when something goofy occurred like an actor with the chronic giggles, one of my first thoughts was “Ka-ching!”
Harvey Korman was a gifted comic actor who was part of the ensemble of THE CAROL BURNETT SHOW. Fellow cast member Tim Conway could always break him up. I’m going to leave you now with one of the funniest sketches ever on television. Conway is the dentist, Korman is the patient. Watch Korman. This has me in stitches every time even though I’ve seen it twenty times.