Like all television announcers worth a damn, ESPN’s Allen Bestwick employs a variety of skills that keep the broadcast moving. Bestwick knows which questions to ask, makes excellent use of other on-air personalities and is an authority on the sport. He also, unfortunately, employs the fake laugh, which I will graciously call a necessary broadcasting evil. The fake laugh is artificial laughter that is emitted for the purposes of making a boring segment appear more entertaining, lightening a heavy mood or trying to score points with the hot sideline reporter the announcer wants to nail. (Like I said – necessary evil.)
In all fairness, Allen Bestwick isn’t the only on-air sports personality who employs the fake laugh. They all do. It’s a crutch. My guess is they teach the fake laugh in broadcast school along with the words "how do you feel about that?", "good stuff" and "don’t go there!"
Bestwick’s fake laugh has led to some unintentionally hilarious moments. Video examples below.
This first clip shows Bestwick making an innocent mistake. He uses the fake laugh correctly in this instance.
In this second clip we witness the fake laugh in full force. It’s phony. It’s forced. It’s wince-inducing. It hurts to watch. (Yet I can’t stop watching it.)
In the third and final clip, one can only assume that Bestwick is so used to laughing that when 10 whole seconds of non-laughter pass, his subconscious desire to laugh overwhelms his sense of decency. That said, what’s more hilarious than dead grandmas?