Canned laughter always unnerved me. I always heard the dead quiet of the studio underneath it, and was always made aware that some of these people laughing had died years before. This wave of every playoff season for every sport is a welcome return to some form of past unifying entertainment, but why hide the fact that these are strange times with the sound of a synthetic crowd funneled in? Can we not see the stands are empty? Are we not fully and completely aware of our current situation? Why not experience every part of this strange moment and embrace it as unique? With teams wearing jerseys with political messages on them and teammates wearing masks is there any point in trying to comfort us and pretending that we still live in the past? We’ve watched Jimmy Fallon host the Tonight Show from his house, and entire SNL episodes performed over Zoom. There’s no going back now. We’re here, and it’s happening now, phony doesn’t fly with this crowd.