Had tickets to watch Have I Got News for You being recorded last night and it was a fairly good recording with lots of mirth to work with. However, last night was notable more for the audience than for the recording, at least as far as I was concerned.

It started off outside. I arrived early, and yet not early enough as even turning up at 5pm (for a 6:45 entry) meant not being that close to the front of the queue. The days of turning up at 5:30pm and getting an excellent seat seem to be over. For various reasons, the queue was split in half, and my group was right at the front of the second queue – and we were later joined back together. During the rejoining process, a woman on a phone managed to push ahead of us and growled most aggressively as we moved forward. Now I am not going to argue over a single position in a queue, and we spent most of the waiting time in mild amusement at her aggressive behaviour.

Got inside, got reasonably decent seats and things started as usual.

Now, as a member of the audience, although the tickets are free and we are there for a good time, there is expected to be a modicum of audience participation.

As has been explained in the past by the warm up act, the worst sort of audience for the show is one full of people who laugh quietly to themselves when something funny is said. We are required to laugh out loud, and then engage in totally natural and spontaneous rounds of applause when clever witticism is  made. Yes, just like you clap and applaud at home when watching the TV. What, you don’t do that?

So, a bad member of the audience is a quiet chuckler and a good member is one who laughs at a reasonable volume level.

There is however an unmentioned horror that can infest a TV studio – someone never mentioned by warm up acts for it strikes terror into an audience and the sound recorders.

The banshee laughing woman. She has an exceptionally loud, high pitched shrill laugh that cuts through the ambient laughter and comes to dominate the environment.

Last night, not only was one of these horrors in the studio – but she sat right behind me.

To add to the horror, not only did this harbinger of doom screech out loud, but she managed to find EVERY SINGLE joke to be the height of hysterics. It is one thing to be genetically cursed with a horrific laugh, but please don’t extenuate the problem by laughing at absolutely everything.

Being British, most of us variously turned around and glared sternly at her, but she carried on regardless.

I was strongly reminded of the awful laugh that Mozart had in the movie Amadeus. Last night, I sat in front of Mozart, and it was not nice.

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