WHAT IS Comedy? WHERE DID IT COME FROM? Comes from the Greek word, “revel” + “singing” After a tragedy, men would gather, celebrate, and march down streets singing to music and shouting vile jests. The group was called a comus and the song a comoedia or comedy. Greeks confined the word “comedy” to descriptions of stage-plays with happy endings. In the Middle Ages, the term expanded to include narrative poems with happy endings and a lighter tone. As time progressed, the word came more and more to be associated with any sort of performance intended to cause laughter. During the Middle Ages, the term “comedy” became synonymous with satire, and later humor in general. Since critics were able to get away with comedic criticism, satire became important in vocalizing the issues of a people, safely.
Social Differences between a Comedy and a Tragedy, According to John Morreall Morreall, John. Comedy, Tragedy, and Religion. Albany: State U of New York P, 1999; http://www3.dbu.edu/mitchell/comedytr.htm
The Different Genres of Comedy STAND UP: One comic stands in front of an audience and tells quick, fast- paced, humorous stories that are usually connected to current events. SITUATIONAL: More commonly known as “Sitcoms.” These routines exaggerate the humor found within the home or workplace. They originally started with radio but became extremely popular with the introduction of the television. DRAMEDY: A coined word to describe instances of combining humor with serious events.
The Different Genres of Comedy SATIRE: Comedy that represents actual events or individuals in a humorous way often meant to point out flaws and to induce change. FARCE: A type of comedy in which ridiculous and often stereotyped characters are involved in far-fetched situations. The humor in farce is based on slapstick. SLAPSTICK: A form in which actors use deliberately clumsy and/or exaggerated physical actions to prompt silly responses.
The Different Genres of Comedy IMPROVISE: More commonly known as “improv.” This style challenges actors to quickly react to suggestions given to them by an independent source. • Commedia dell’ Arte: A type of comedy developed in 16th and 17th century Italy, characterized by improvised text based on plot outlines (scenarios). Featured stock characters, some of whom wore distinctive masks.
Why is Commedia dell’ Arte important? Its popularity in Renaissance Europe can be attributed to the talents and special skills of the actors who were acrobats, dancers, musicians, orators, quick wits, and improvisers possessing thorough insights into politics and human nature. Using sexually challenging language and physical comedy, Commedia pokes fun at elements of society’s respectable values by means of exaggerated styles and insightful character traits.
Pantaloon rich, miserly old man operates on the assumption that everything can be bought and sold But he also loves money for its own sake and will therefore only part with it when there is no other option.
Capitano or Braggart never indigenous to the town where the scenario is set and is able to seem high status as a result arrogant The whole world is an audience. Stops whenever he sees the actual audience and makes a salutation so that he can be admired.
Arlecchino or Harlequin usually servant to the Pantaloon, but also to Capitano or Dottore has the intelligence to hatch schemes, although they rarely work out complications of plot often derive from his mistakes aware of audience and makes asides
Il Dottore usually of high social status gives the other characters a break from physical exertion by his tiresome wordiness
The Innamorati(Lovers) of high social status, but brought low by the hopelessness of their infatuation Young and attractive Naïve