Comedy: The sequel

This post is a sequel to my post about comedy, where I questioned what happened to the comedy genre? And as per usual with sequels, it’s not as good as the first one (unless I’m going down the Star Wars or Spider-Man route, which I’ll try to do). Nevertheless, this one will be focused more on the kind of language used in comedy, and why puns and wordplay are so hilarious.

1) Puns

One of the most common forms of comedy is puns. Puns are either a joke which swaps one meaning for another (wrap, rap) or using a common trope of the thing being described (The vampire watched a movie. It sucked). These jokes work because everyone expects them but they are still funny because the characters don’t notice it. It can also be funny if used visually. For example, if someone needs a shock because of hiccups, why not electrocute them? The absurdity of the situation makes it work because it is just so ridiculous. Just making puns isn’t funny, but making puns within context is, in my view.

2) Wordplay and farce

This is my favourite kind of comedy, the kind of ridiculous situation which in my opinion makes the best comedy. Farce is literally an absurd situation, such as a robber robbing a bank armed with a banana or an evil spy planning to destroy the hero with an armadillo cage. What works about this is that the situations that comedy presents can be literally anything, and things which shouldn’t be together are together.

So that’s why comedies are so great, because they use language to clever extremes in the form of puns and silly wordplay. While it is hard to pin point exactly what makes comedy click, as it is in the end about what makes an individual laugh, but I believe that there are certain things which make comedies work for me. What makes you laugh?


3 thoughts on “Comedy: The sequel

  1. I find it difficult to define what makes me laugh – it is not just the context but also my mood. Things that I find funny one day leave me cold on another occasion. One of the things that I usually find funny are the Matt pocket cartoons in the daily Telegraph, but every so often I cannot see the joke. My favourite form of humour is the written word – columnists like Rod Liddle and Oliver Pritchett are a reliable source of comments that make me laugh, but I advise you to avoid any books or articles that attempt to analyse what makes people laugh as I have found them to be really boing and entirely without merit.

  2. What makes me laugh the most is the absurdity of human nature and day-to-day life. Things that shouldn’t be funny but just are, or people who take themselves seriously and can’t see the humour in what they are saying or doing. In terms of television or entertainment, I like it when people are laughing at themselves. For example, in Blackadder, to me the comedy come from the fact that Blackadder himself is looking at the crazy world around him and seeing the dry, black humour in it. That is funnier than the slap-stick behaviour of Baldrick (although, of course, every straight man need a comedy side-kick).

    What I don’t like is laughing at other people’s misfortune. I just don’t find the awkwardness of Mr Bean funny. Comedy is also cultural – Gemans love slapstick and find Mr Bean hilarious, but cannot see the comedy of an old man farting on a tram and then noisily blaming it on his dog (that happened two days ago, and it was very funny).

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