Portal:Comedy
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Portal:Comedy

The Comedy Portal


In a modern sense, comedy (from the Greek: ?, k?m?idía) is a genre of fiction that refers to any discourse or work generally intended to be humorous or amusing by inducing laughter, especially in theatre, television, film, stand-up comedy, books or any other medium of entertainment. The origins of the term are found in Ancient Greece. In the Athenian democracy, the public opinion of voters was influenced by the political satire performed by the comic poets at the theaters. The theatrical genre of Greek comedy can be described as a dramatic performance which pits two groups or societies against each other in an amusing agon or conflict. Northrop Frye depicted these two opposing sides as a "Society of Youth" and a "Society of the Old." A revised view characterizes the essential agon of comedy as a struggle between a relatively powerless youth and the societal conventions that pose obstacles to his hopes. In this struggle, the youth is understood to be constrained by his lack of social authority, and is left with little choice but to take recourse in ruses which engender very dramatic irony which provokes laughter.

Satire and political satire use comedy to portray persons or social institutions as ridiculous or corrupt, thus alienating their audience from the object of their humor. Parody subverts popular genres and forms, critiquing those forms without necessarily condemning them.

Other forms of comedy include screwball comedy, which derives its humor largely from bizarre, surprising (and improbable) situations or characters, and black comedy, which is characterized by a form of humor that includes darker aspects of human behavior or human nature. Similarly scatological humor, sexual humor, and race humor create comedy by violating social conventions or taboos in comic ways. A comedy of manners typically takes as its subject a particular part of society (usually upper-class society) and uses humor to parody or satirize the behavior and mannerisms of its members. Romantic comedy is a popular genre that depicts burgeoning romance in humorous terms and focuses on the foibles of those who are falling in love.

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Truthiness and Consequences
Truthiness is a satirical term created by television comedian Stephen Colbert to describe things that a person claims to know intuitively or "from the gut" without regard to evidence, logic, intellectual examination, or actual facts. Colbert created this definition of the word during the inaugural episode of his satirical television program The Colbert Report, as the subject of a segment called "The Wørd". It was named Word of the Year for 2005 by the American Dialect Society and for 2006 by Merriam-Webster. By using the term as part of his satirical routine, Colbert sought to criticize the use of "truthiness" as an appeal to emotion and tool of rhetoric in contemporary socio-political discourse. He particularly applied it to U.S. President George W. Bush's nomination of Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court and decision to invade Iraq in 2003.

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'"Hopscotch to oblivion", Barcelona, Spain
Credit: Andy Wright

A black comedy (or dark comedy) is a comic work that makes light of serious and/or taboo subject matter. Black comedy corresponds to the earlier concept of gallows humor.

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Photograph of Dan Leno in the 1880s
Dan Leno (1860-1904) was a leading English music hall comedian and musical theatre actor during the late Victorian era. He was perhaps best known, aside from his music hall act, for his dame roles in the annual pantomimes that were popular at London's Theatre Royal, Drury Lane from 1888 to 1904. As a youth, he was famous for his clog dancing, and in his teen years, he became the star of his family's act. As a solo artist, he became increasingly popular during the late 1880s and 1890s, when he was one of the highest-paid comedians in the world. He developed a music hall act of talking about life's mundane subjects, mixed with comic songs and surreal observations, and created a host of mostly working-class characters to illustrate his stories. In 1901, still at the peak of his career, he performed his "Huntsman" sketch for Edward VII at Sandringham. The monarch was so impressed that Leno became publicly known as "the king's jester". Leno continued to appear in musical comedies and his own music hall routines until 1902, although he suffered increasingly from alcoholism. This, together with his long association with dame and low comedy roles, prevented him from being taken seriously as a dramatic actor. He suffered a mental breakdown in early 1903 and was committed to a mental asylum, but was discharged later that year. After one more show, his health declined, and he died aged 43.

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Karl Barth
Laughter is the closest thing to the grace of God.

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Comedy
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Terms: Black comedyComedianComedy clubComedy of mannersConvention (norm)IronyKomosParodyPolitical satireRace humorRestoration comedySatireScrewball comedySurreal humourTabooToilet humor

Comedy genres: BouffonComedy filmAnarchic comedy filmGross-out filmParody filmRomantic comedy filmScrewball comedy filmSlapstick filmComic novelDramedyImprovisational comedyMusical comedyStand-up comedyAlternative comedyImpressionist (entertainment)One-liner jokeComedy genresSketch comedyTelevision comedyRadio comedySituation comedyTragicomedy

History of theatre: Ancient Greek comedyAncient Roman comedyBurlesqueCitizen comedyClownComedy of humoursComedy of mannersComedy of menaceComédie larmoyanteCommedia dell'arteFaceJesterRestoration comedyShakespearean comedyDadaist/SurrealistTheatre of the absurd

Comedy events and awards: British Comedy AwardsCanadian Comedy AwardsCat Laughs Comedy FestivalEdinburgh Festival FringeJust for laughsHalloween Howls Comedy FestivalMelbourne International Comedy FestivalNew York Underground Comedy Festival

Lists: List of comediansList of British comediansList of Canadian comediansList of Finnish comediansList of German language comediansList of Italian comediansList of Mexican comediansList of Puerto Rican comediansList of Indian comediansList of British TV shows remade for the American marketList of comediesList of New York Improv comedians

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