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The Big Bang Theory is one of those shows that is hard to miss. It’s on multiple channels in the U.S. and airs around five times a day, give or take, with episodes often broadcast back-to-back.

The series has a huge fan base, which isn’t too surprising with it being the most watched show in the U.S. And now one of those dedicated fans has removed the original laughter from an episode and replaced it with The Office co-creator Ricky Gervais‘ trademark cackle.

It may sound a bit odd, but when you take a look at the finished product… well, it all falls into place:

So, why would someone do this, exactly? Well, it’s the Internet, where people do a lot of fun, silly things without explaining themselves. This is not the first time someone has tinkered with the TBBT laughter. Another clever fan went a different route, entirely removing the guffaws from an episode, which some deemed “creepy.” Hmm. It’s not necessarily eerie, but it does seem like something is missing. Without that reassuring laughter, we see the actors from a different perspective. It’s clear that they’re providing a slight pause for the added sound, which comes across as awkward silence. Though, actually, this isn’t too out of the ordinary when Sheldon is involved.

Again, it’s better explained if you watch it for yourself:

So this got us thinking about how The Big Bang Theory generates its laughs in the first place. It turns out the show is filmed in front of a live studio audience. These lucky folks get to see the episode filmed firsthand, before it airs, and hopefully… they find it funny. And if they don’t? It’s not unusual for sitcom writers, who wait nervously in the wings during tapings, to tweak lines on the spot to get the audience giggling.

Here’s Jim Parsons, who plays Sheldon, addressing the “Laugh Track Debate” as we’ve coined it when he hosted Saturday Night Live back in 2014.

And, there you have it… we believe you, Jim.

The clip above with Gervais’ hoots inserted makes us wonder: does he even watch the show? Possibly. After all, Gervais’s friend, co-star and The Office co-creator, Stephen Merchant, recently appeared on The Big Bang Theory, guest starring as a suitor for Amy, when she and Sheldon were on a break.

Do you think Ricky Gervais is a fan of the show? If not, he may be now! 

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By Brigid Brown