BURBANK, CA—Criticizing the network for the cruel and unusual treatment, inmate rights groups blasted CBS programming executives Friday after evidence revealing the use of prison laughter on their sitcoms became public. “Evidently, incarcerated men and women are forced to sit and watch hour after hour of live taping. Witnesses say that if guards aren’t pleased with the volume and frequency of laughs produced—demand can sometimes be as high as 15 laughs a minute—inmates can be thrown in solitary confinement. This is just wrong,” said Samantha Aguerra, a spokesperson for the prisoners’ rights group Jailhouse Lawyers Speak, who added that many prisoners agree to the grueling, thankless “sweetening” task and are not informed that studies show working in a CBS studio audience increases violent tendencies as well as the risk of recidivism. “It’s inhumane for a person to spend long, uncomfortable hours in a regimented environment where human functions, such as outbursts of laughter and bathroom breaks, are strictly scheduled. People don’t want to think about where the laughter and applause on their favorite shows come from, but it’s on all of them—Everybody Loves Raymond, Young Sheldon, 2 Broke Girls. I don’t know what the studio audiences of these shows did to get sent to prison, but no one deserves to watch this and be expected to laugh. It’s disgusting that the same questionable practices that gave us Sanford and Son are still in use today.” Aguerra added that, upon their release, many inmates find they are unable to get jobs working at CBS due to the network’s distrust of former audience members.
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