So I was listening to the latest SModcast (Kevin Smith, Scott Mosier) and I had an epiphany. Not really an epiphany, more of a realization.
Throughout the show they were laughing at funny comments, themselves, and their own jokes. When they laugh, I laugh. Even if I don't know what they are talking about I laugh. And then it dawned on me, that's what they put in a laugh track for!
I had actually already known that from film school, but this made me think about it in a different way. I rewatched some of Jimmy Fallon's old skits from SNL and found them to be funny in the moment. Afterword I always thought he was being unprofessional, but when I was watching, I was laughing.
I wonder if you took out the laugh track on Seinfeld if it would still be funny?
PS. I decided it would be based on the fact that the show Curb Your Enthusiasm is funny, which does not have a laugh track.