New Directions in Comedy

Questions to Consider:

  1. When we say “comedy” today, what do we mean? How is our modern notion of comedy different from earlier forms of comedy?
  2. What causes laughter? Consider the theories of Hobbes, Bergson and Sigmund Freud.
  3. Are there types of comedy that appeal (or don’t appeal) to you? Why? Consider in particular the genres of “black” comedy and “blue” comedy.

Classical Tragedy vs. Comedy

masksWe tend to simplify tragedy as sad and comedy as funny, but this doesn’t work when you analyze comedies written before 1800 AD. Consider the following:

  1. Subject Matter
  2. Characters
  3. Language
  4. Outcome
  5. Social Value

Screen Shot 2017-05-05 at 9.10.16 AMWhy Do We Laugh?

Laughter: Five Leading Theories

Genres & Examples

Wikipedia’s Comedic Genres

Funny Commercials on Ellen

We will not cover this in class, but if you interested in satire, you might watch Hasan Minhaj’s speech for the 2017 White House Correspondents’ Dinner.


David Ives and All in the Timing

Philip Glass Buys a Loaf of Bread PDF

Philip Glass: Knee Play 1     Lyrics


George Wolfe and The Colored Museum

the-colored-museum PDF

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