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Comedy. We call cultural content meant primarily to generate mirth “comedy” – All genres include comedic elements – Some argue that any story where the.

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Presentation on theme: "Comedy. We call cultural content meant primarily to generate mirth “comedy” – All genres include comedic elements – Some argue that any story where the."— Presentation transcript:

1 Comedy

2 We call cultural content meant primarily to generate mirth “comedy” – All genres include comedic elements – Some argue that any story where the low-born or put-upon rise to a higher station and a better end is a comedy

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4 Comedy is not content-specific – May have to do with just about anything Any setting, everyday or fantastic situations, most any plot, all kinds of characters However, it is a genre that emphasizes the normal and mundane – Audience familiarity – Combines easily with content-based genres Romantic comedy Horror comedy Political comedy Cop comedy

5 What is considered funny is not universal – What is fearful, sad, exciting are much more widely agreed upon – What is funny depends heavily upon the viewing context and audience characteristics as well as content Consequently, comedy does not ‘travel well’ – Action/adventure, Horror, etc. seem to be more effective in crossing borders

6 Why do we find things funny? 1.Incongruity theory 2.Superiority theory 3.Disposition theory (Zillmann) 4.Subversion of authority/norm-breaking 5.Catharsis theory (Freud)

7 Incongruity Jokes – Punchline provides the unexpected twist Scenes of dialogue where the two actors misunderstand what the other is talking about Actions taken that lead to different consequences than the actor/audience member would expect Satire/Irony – considered the most advanced/cerebral of humor

8 Superiority Silliness/weird behavior Stupidity Cut-down humor, especially when aimed at the powerless Pain (but not too extreme)

9 Disposition Humor in seeing bad behavior punished, good behavior rewarded – May run counter to incongruity

10 Subversion of authority Political humor aimed at the president Jokes about the high and mighty – Late-night monologues Celebrity misfortunes, etc. Kids swinging the bat, hitting dad in the groin Beavis and Butthead The Simpsons 30 Rock

11 Catharsis Gross-out humor Sick humor Dark humor

12 Factors often are combined For example, surprise and ‘bad behavior’ may be mixed together

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14 Important context Certain clues in the narrative make clear that one is not to take it seriously Outrageousness of plot, characterization is meant to undermine the realism of the portrayal and the seriousness of the narrative Once in a comic frame of mind, misfortunes or criticisms evoke humor rather than pity Unless true pain and suffering are portrayed

15 Comedy subgenres Romantic/Sex Screwball Dark (black) Satire Buddy Mocumentary Parody Road Slacker

16 Comedy formats Sitcom Dramedy Sketch comedy Stand-up comedy Improvisational comedy Animated comedy

17 Situation Comedies Mundane settings – Home or office Normal main characters Eccentric but not manic peripheral characters Comedy from everyday problems – May center around bad behavior on the main character’s part – Usually a continuing goal that generates plots

18 Comedy is generated by exaggerated and unexpected or even foolish behavior intended to deal with problems/accomplish objectives – Surprise comes from eccentric actions of sidekick, etc.

19 Dramedies Mix comedy with important social critique More ‘cerebral,’ more demanding of audience – Can cause confusion as to the appropriate response – Northern Exposure – M*A*S*H* – Boston Legal

20 David Simpson at:


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