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Comedy PowerPoint Presentation

Comedy

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Comedy

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  1. Comedy

  2. Comedy • 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

  3. 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

  4. 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

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

  6. 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

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

  8. Disposition • Humor in seeing bad behavior punished, good behavior rewarded • May run counter to incongruity

  9. 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

  10. Catharsis • Gross-out humor • Sick humor • Dark humor

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

  12. 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

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

  14. Comedy formats • Sitcom • Dramedy • Sketch comedy • Stand-up comedy • Improvisational comedy • Animated comedy

  15. 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

  16. 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.

  17. 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

  18. David Simpson at: http://condor.depaul.edu/dsimpson/tlove/comic-tragic.html