Now listen close and hear the tale,
of how our humor died.
For once we laughed when actors laughed,
and when they cried, we cried.
When film was new and no one knew
quite how to summon laughter,
the audience would take the lead,
our laughs would follow after.
But every now and then a quip,
would not seem as clever.
Without the crowing crowd to cue,
no laughter whatsoever.
And so they sought the aid of one,
who captured that glad sound,
the cheerful noise that lifts us up,
copied, cut and bound.
He used a secret magic box,
then took what wasn’t funny,
sweetened it just to our taste,
and made a ton of money.
So now we sit and watch and wait,
for a machine to tell us when,
to react according to the prompt,
then quiet and wait again.
Thanks be to Charley Douglass,
for now we can’t be sure,
of whether what we feel is real,
and if our joy is pure.