This essay examines postwar discourse on laughter and its intersection with early television, with an emphasis on the period from the late 1950s through the early 1970s. Through close readings of written accounts, I argue that preexisting currents within Japanese discourse—most conspicuously a notion that laughter was absent from the everyday lives of Japanese—informed the reception of television's mediated laughter. While many perceived the new medium as creating a mass-produced cheer and thus exacerbating the Japanese alienation from laughter, some contended instead that it might at long last have rehabilitated laughter's status within the everyday.