Improv Troupe to Switch Audience Out for Laugh Track Due to Coronavirus Concerns

LA CROSSE, WIS — COVID-19 caused by the novel coronavirus has caused many public events to postpone or outright cancel, but one local improv troupe is adapting.

Heart of La Crosse announced Thursday they will forego the typical live audience for their upcoming show in May and instead perform in front of a recorded laugh track.

“It just made sense,” performer Lisa Olson said. “Our audience is a little bit older, and we don’t want to risk anything. I mean, we want to “kill it” when we perform, but not literally.”

Performers in the group say rehearsals with the laugh track have taken a little getting used to, but they are confident they will be ready by the time May rolls around.

“I mean, we could have just performed without the track,” performer Tre Ballzer said, “but we’re comedians. We might die without instant validation.”

Due to the nature of Heart of La Crosse’s top-of-mind spontaneous style show, there are still some hurdles to pass with the new format.

“I don’t know where we are going to get scene suggestions from… Twitter, maybe?” Olson said.

Reporters Sam Shilts and Steve Bland contributed to this article.