Comedy, The Divine Comedy
, Comedy film
, Situation comedy
, Sketch comedy
, Romantic comedy film
, screwball comedy film
, Low comedy
, The Human Comedy
, British comedy
has a classical meaning (comical theatre
) and a popular one (the use of humour
with an intent to provoke laughter in general). In the theater
, its Western origins are in ancient Greece, like tragedy
, a genre characterised by a grave fall from grace by a protagonist having high social standing. Comedy, in contrast, portrays a conflict or agon
) between a young hero and an older authority, a confrontation described by Northrop Frye
as a struggle between a "society of youth" and a "society of the old". A more recent development is to regard this struggle as a mere pretext for disguise, a comical device centered on uncertainties regarding the meaning of social identity. The basis of comedy would then be a plot mechanism conceived to engender misunderstandings either about a hero's identity or about social being in general.
Returning to the popular term comedy, it is known to be difficult to describe. Humor being subjective, one may or may not find something humorous because it is either too offensive
or not offensive enough. Comedy is judged according to a person’s taste. Some enjoy cerebral
fare such as irony
or black comedy
; others may prefer scatological humor
(e.g. the "fart
joke") or slapstick
. A common gender stereotype
that plays on this convention is that men love the comedy of The Three Stooges
, while women do not.
While hard to pin down, it can safely be said that most good comedy, as with a good joke
, contains within it variations on the elements of surprise, incongruity, conflict, and the effect of opposite expectations. The audience becomes a part of the experience, if it is to be successful. Sometimes, it is the fulfillment of the expectation which is part of the experience, such as the long "take" of a Jack Benny, resolved, paradox
ically, when the expected happens. Comedy is a serious business, and one only knows it when one sees it or hears it.
Comedy is the term applied to theatrical dramas, the chief object of which are to amuse. It is contrasted on the one hand with tragedy and on the other with farce
, and so on. As compared with tragedy, it is distinguished by having a (the comedies)".
The word "comedy" is derived from the Classical Greek κωμῳδία
, which is a compound either of κῶμος
(revel) or κώμη
(village) and ᾠδή
(singing): it is possible that κῶμος
itself is derived from κώμη
, and originally meant a village revel.
In ancient Greece
, comedy seems to have originated in bawdy and ribald
songs or recitations apropos of fertility festivals or gatherings, or also in poking fun at other people or stereotypes.
[Francis MacDonald Cornford, The Origin of Attic Comedy, 1934.]Aristotle
, in his Poetics, tells us the same: that comedy originated in Phallic songs and the light treatment of the otherwise base and ugly. He also adds that the origins of comedy are obscure because it was not treated seriously.
[Aristotle, Poetics, lines beginning at 1449a. http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/cgi-bin/ptext?lookup=Aristot.+Poet.+1449a]
P.W. Buckham writes that "the lighter sort of Iambic became Comic poets, the graver became Tragic instead of Heroic".
[P.W. Buckham, p. 243]
The word comes into modern usage through the Latin comoedia
and Italian commedia
. It has passed through various shades of meaning. In the middle ages
it meant simply a story with a happy ending. Thus some of Chaucer's tales are called comedies, and in this sense Dante
used the term in the title of his poem, La Commedia (cf. his Epistola X., in which he speaks of the comic style as "loqutio vulgaris, in qua et mulierculae communicant"; again "comoedia vero remisse et humiliter"; "differt a tragoedia per hoc, quod t. in principio est admirabilis et quieta, in fine sive exitu est foetida et horribilis"). Subsequently the term is applied to mystery play
s with a happy ending. The modern usage combines this sense with that in which Renaissance
scholars applied it to the ancient comedies.
The adjective "comic" (Greek κωμικός), which strictly means that which relates to comedy, is in modern usage generally confined to the sense of "laughter-provoking": it is distinguished from "humorous" or "witty" inasmuch as it is applied to an incident or remark which provokes spontaneous laughter without a special mental effort. The phenomena connected with laughter and that which provokes it, the comic, have been carefully investigated by psychologists, in contrast with other phenomena
connected with the emotions. It is very generally agreed that the predominating characteristics
are incongruity or contrast in the object, and shock or emotional seizure on the part of the subject. It has also been held that the feeling of superiority is an essential, if not the essential, factor: thus Hobbes
speaks of laughter as a "sudden glory." Physiological explanations have been given by Kant
. Modern investigators have paid much attention to the origin both of laughter and of smiling, the development of the "play instinct" and its emotional expression. Comedy has a classical meaning (comical theatre) and a popular one (the use of humour with an intent to provoke laughter in general). In the theater, its Western origins are in ancient Greece, like tragedy, a genre characterised by a grave fall from grace by a protagonist having high social standing. Comedy, in contrast, portrays a hero who is both young and relatively powerless, who is in conflict or agon (Classical Greek ἀγών) against an older moral or social authority, a confrontation described by Northrop Frye as a struggle between a "society of youth" and a "society of the old".
*Buckham, Philip Wentworth, Theatre of the Greeks
*Marteinson, Peter, On the Problem of the Comic: A Philosophical Study on the Origins of Laughter, Legas Press, Ottawa, 2006.
*Pickard-Cambridge, Sir Arthur Wallace
**Dithyramb, Tragedy, and Comedy
**The Theatre of Dionysus in Athens
**The Dramatic Festivals of Athens
*Raskin, Victor, The Semantic Mechanisms of Humor, 1985.
*Riu, Xavier, Dionysism and Comedy
, 1999. http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu/bmcr/2000/2000-06-13.html
*Sourvinou-Inwood, Christiane, Tragedy and Athenian Religion
, Oxford University Press, 2003.
*Wiles, David, The Masked Menander: Sign and Meaning in Greek and Roman Performance
* Improvisational comedy
* Stand-up comedy
- a largely British term relating to comedians in the ascendant throughout the 1980s
**One-Liner - a type of standup comedy where the comedian will tell many jokes that are one or two sentences long. Example: Mitch Hedberg
- different forms of Stand-up comedy.
* Sketch comedy
- short comedy scenes as in contrast to sitcom
* Television comedy
and Radio comedy
** Situation comedy
* Comedy film
**romantic comedy film
**screwball comedy film
**anarchic comedy film
* Comic novel
* Musical comedy
Elements of Comedy
* Comic timing
* Pregnant pause
* Black comedy
* Political Satire
* Alternative Comedy
Historical or theatre
* Greek comedy
* Commedia dell'arte
- historically, a form of improvisational theatre, chiefly from the 16th to 18th centuries.
- most often thought of as theatrical, but has been adapted for other media.
s - clowns associated with the middle ages.
- comedy performed in theatres that declined as television ownership increased.
* Comedy club
Comedy events and awards
* British Comedy Awards
* Canadian Comedy Awards
* Just for laughs
* Halifax Comedy Festival
(aka "Ha!ifax Comedy Fest")
* Vancouver Comedy Festival
* Edinburgh Fringe Festival
* Melbourne International Comedy Festival
* HBO Comedy Arts Festival
Lists of comedy performers
* List of comedians
* List of entertainer pairs or double acts
* List of Dr Demento's radio show comedians
* Australian comedy
* List of British Comedians
* List of Canadian comedians
* List of Finnish comedians
* List of German language comedians
* List of Italian comedians
* List of Mexican comedians
* List of Puerto Rican comedians
Lists of comedy programs
* British comedy
- article on British comedy and a list of British comedy programs.
* German television comedy
- list of British sitcoms.
* List of British TV shows remade for the American market
* List of comedies
- theatre/radio/television and from France/Russia/Canada/Australia/UK/US
* List of New York Improv comedians
-comics who were regulars at the Improvisation in New York in the 1960's and 1970's
* Rule of three (writing)
*http://www.emerson.edu/comedy Comedy Archives
Site of the American Comedy Archives, dedicated to preserving primary source material from the legends of the comic arts.
*http://www.chass.utoronto.ca/french/as-sa/editors/origins.html The Origins of Laughter
*http://www.howtobefunny.net/ Humor Creation Guide
: Complete methods of humor creationCategory:Comedyar:كوميدياbs:Komedijabg:Комедияca:Comèdiacs:Komedieda:Komediede:Komödieet:Komöödiael:Κωμωδίαes:Comediaeo:Komediofr:Comédiegl:Comediako:희극hr:Komedijaid:Melawakos:Комедиit:Commediahe:קומדיהla:Comoediahu:Komédianl:Komedieja:喜劇no:Komediepl:Komediapt:Comédiaro:Comediaru:Комедияsimple:Comedysk:Komédiasl:Komedijasr:Комедијаfi:Komediasv:Komeditr:Komediuk:Комедіяyi:קאמעדיעzh:喜劇