Any image, behavior, or literature intended to invoke laughter from the observer.

Comedy is docile.

Comedy is docile?

With regard to the culture industry in Britain, its association with the audiences that consumes it seem to be not of revolution or anger but one of humour. Consider mainstream comedians in television adverts. It has been given me in research and interviews that comedy is only entertaining from the point of the entertainer or the comedian.

"People are not only, as the saying goes,... 'falling for the swindle; if it guarantees them even the most fleeting gratification they desire a deception which is nonetheless transparent to them'. They force their eyes shut and voice approval, in a kind of self-loathing, for what is meted out to them, knowing fully the purpose for which it is manufactured.." (Adorno. 1991)

This ‘falling for the swindle’ relates to the example of Cawelti's analysis on the meanings and functions of genres. With the example of pornography he states that the escapism is short-lived and interrupts periods of intense frustration and boredom. The escape is only available within the texts seen or read by the consumer, from this fantasy world they import themselves into the feelings release anger and dissatisfaction. Cawelti describes these formulaic products as being created purely to stimulate and gratify the reader; they have been produced with a goal in mind.

The genres of porn and violence also seek to eliminate the readers/viewers own insecurities. Comedy aims to educate and inform through alternative ways and means, so from the view point of the comedian as opposed to that of the producer. The mode of address and content delivery are vital means of expression that the comedian or 'cultural producer' has to make vivid and unique in order to attract the audiences attentions. The escapism is that it releases frustration, in the same way pornography can but again it is only short lived.

In Theatre, the OED defines comedy as "a stage play of light and amusing character with a happy conclusion to the plot." The plot is often far-fetched, dealing with moral concerns, as a tragedy does; however, a comedy's main issues focus more on the politics of society than on the politics of leadership. Comedy often exaggerates human eccentricities, leading to misunderstandings about events or confusion about characters’ identities (as we see in contemporary sitcoms like Frasier). Through mirth, levity and wit, the story moves towards happiness and an ending characterized by harmony, festivity and celebration, often the wedding of the main characters. See also Comedy of Manners, Tragedy.

New Comedy is a tradition of continuous scripted drama, while Old Comedy is usually prose fiction marked by linguistic inventiveness, fantasy, political satire and cheerful obscenity.

node your homework

Com"e*dy (?), n.; pl. Comedies (#). [F. com'edie, L. comoedia, fr. Gr. ; a jovial festivity with music and dancing, a festal procession an ode sung at this procession (perh. akin to village, E. home) + to sing; for comedy was originally of a lyric character. See Home, and Ode.]

A dramatic composition, or representation of a bright and amusing character, based upon the foibles of individuals, the manners of society, or the ludicrous events or accidents of life; a play in which mirth predominates and the termination of the plot is happy; -- opposed to tragedy.

With all the vivacity if comedy. Macaulay.

Are come to play a pleasant comedy. Shak.


© Webster 1913.

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