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Seizing the Audience

The actor puts on a memorable performance on stage, by television, through radio, in film, and at times even the political or business arena. Shirley Temple started frolicking before the camera at the age of 3 by mesmerizing both young and old with her voice, dance, and then with her diplomacy for the United Nations. In the 1930s, Lucille Ball captured the attention of men, women, and children by her stage debut, modeling exploits, and as a studio executive. Carol Burnett entered the stage in the 1960s and endeared a generation of fans through televised comedy, earning her a Presidential Medal of Freedom for her unique brand of entertainment. Explore these unique facets of showmanship; child actor, slapstick comic that harkens to the burlesque of yore, public persona as a venue beyond conventional female roles, as a transformative mechanism of expression, realization, or determination.

  • This is a fascinating topic. I'm looking for a common thread between these actresses, and curious about what your main thesis/question would be. Is it specifically that these women defied conventional roles for women, and used this defiance of expectations as part of their "act" on stage or in film? How much of that was in their control? Or is it simply the fact that they, as women, being on stage/in films in these roles, defied conventions? Or are they more like case studies for a broader phenomena of women onstage, changing the industry? This is going to be such an exceptional article and I'm very eager to read it! – Eden 2 years ago
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Humour in Cartoons and Anime

As an avid watcher of cartoons and anime one thing I have noticed it that in the west if a movie or a tv show is animated it has to be driven by humour. Regardless if it’s a cartoon directed to an older audience like Bojack Horseman, Archer or something like Bobs Burger these shows have to be laugh out loud funny. While as with Anime, it’s easy to find series where humour is barely present yet that is directed to an adult audience like Death Note, Erase, Spychopass and many more. It’s as if the west think that for something to be seen as serious it has to be live action, which would explain why someone would go out of their way to make a live action remake of Your Name, which is completely useless since is animated form is already perfection. Japan and anime has already proven that animated material doesn’t need to have humour to be successful, why do you think the west is set on always linking cartoons with humour? Is it because of the word "cartoon" itself or is it because the medium will never be as respected as something live action, and why is that. Can an image or a voice actor not convey the same kind of emotions than a traditional actor? Will we ever see a mainstream tv show or movie that is animated that isn’t a comedy but that gets the same kind of respect than a live action movie. Or do you think some animes are able to avoid the comedy title because of the different types of animes that exist (shonen, seinen, shojo, josei and kdomomuke). Should the west possibly follow these different types of categories in order to have more variety in the cartoon world?

  • You have an interesting topic suggestion here, but I would suggest more research is done into western animated storytelling, so as to avoid the generalisation that it is driven by humour. There are some very fine examples of non-humorous animated tales that could be considered, such as: Fantastic Planet (1973), Watership Down (1978), When the Wind Blows (1986), Flatland (2007), The Illusionist (2010), April et Le Monde Extraordinaire (2015), Ethel and Ernest (2016)...the list is practically endless. – Amyus 2 years ago
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  • I guess I should have added more of an emphasis on mainstream cartoons targetted to adults. Never meant to make the claim that everything produced by the west in driven by humour, like I said I love anime and cartoons so I watch a lot of a variety of things and I know we have some serious animated movies on our end too, but mostly the popular cartoons that are known about by the general public are almost always comedies which isn't always the case in Japan. – tmtonji 2 years ago
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  • I get what you're saying. Mainstream cartoons in western society are almost always humour based. I think a large part of that is because of Disney and Nickelodeon's corner on the market. I really do think it's how we've been fed cartoons culturally. In western society, cartoons and animation have been marketed to us almost exclusively as either for children or for light-hearted humour and nothing more. In regards to Japan and anime, it seems that it is more respected as an art form and seems to focus on the characters and their development as opposed to the typically plot driven western productions. Seeing how anime so popular, I think if the west followed in the footsteps of Japan in taking part in more serious animation, they would find a large market for it here. – Melissa 2 years ago
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Comedy: Internal Energy or External Motivation

John Belushi was a comedic talent above and beyond the ever constant flow of aspiring young actors. His antics were delivered with masterful ability in both television and film. His contribution to comedy, acting, and singing set the image for future actors to emulate. So, is it safe to say that Chris Farley was merely following the mold set by others or that he added his own specific brand of skill to a familiar venue? Consider the factors that play into developing the unique performer, while simultaneously pointing out the distinctive traits of the personality. Does comedic talent necessitate a lesser or more pronounced counterpart, much like Laurel and Hardy in order to cultivate the creative juices? How much of an effect does audience have on delivery and captivating tension? Are props, musical score, setting, and dialogue vital to the production or simple accessories of the process? Does the climactic spectacle require a "Who’s on first?" dialogue as the one coined by Abbott and Costello, or is it merely the chemistry between the characters?

  • I feel like you are in need of a stupid and futile gesture. – nolarmade69 3 years ago
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Comedy's transformation

In the older times comedy consisted of jokes, funny faces and surely others. Now, they consist of people getting injuries (in a somehow funny way), puns and witty comebacks that we found online or made up ourselves. It’s weird to see how it’s progressed, whether it’s a good or bad transformation.

  • Slapstick comedy (people being injured in comical ways) is a very old comedy device. – Amanda 4 years ago
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  • The oldest surviving examples of comedy as a genre come from the ancient Greek playwright Aristophanes - he made an awful lot of dick jokes (perhaps that's what you meant by "surely others"). Try familiarizing yourself with the rich history of comedy before making claims about what it "was then" and "is now." – ProtoCanon 4 years ago
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  • I'm not certain this is accurate. For example...one of the original Saturday Night Live cast members, Chevy Chase, had a routine that entirely consisted of him throwing himself down a flight of stairs. Think of Eddie Murphy in all of the Beverly Hills Cop movies, how many times did he fall off a car he was attempting to stop during a chase? Even further back, think of the court jester of medieval times who would entertain the patron's of the castle by injuring himself and creating tremendous laughter throughout the court. – danielle577 4 years ago
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  • If you're looking for a good resource for the progression of comedy over time, I'd recommend Jimmy Carr's book The Naked Jape. In general it finds that comedy goes from very unrefined mischief characters in various cultural mythologies to much more of a conscious effort to evoke laughter. Oddly enough, much of the material (ie. sex jokes, slapstick, puns, etc.) have remained almost throughout. – Ian Miculan 4 years ago
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  • I think you may want to reflect upon the catharsis aspect. In older times, comedies consisted of jokes about the bourgeoisie, which made laugh poor people. Throughout history, as you have said, comedy has a changed a lot. Why do you think people enjoy so much shows like "Jackass" or "The Dudeson"? Could it be our way of life that has changed so radically that we now need this kind of extreme humor? – leandre77 4 years ago
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  • Before Jackass there was Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin and the Keystone Kops, all falling down. Slapstick started when Eve threw the apple at the snake, missed, hit Adam, he fell on top her and the rest is history. We're all products of "slapstick." – Tigey 4 years ago
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Rhetoric and Comedy

Analyze how comedy is a legitimate form of rhetoric, as rhetoric is language that is intended to influence people. People that have been seen as successful rhetoricians are people like Martin Luther King jr., Plato, and Obama. These people have been popular in the field of politics, but how does comedy come off as legitimate way to influence emotion and character. Maybe try using TV shows such as The Office or Parks and Recreation.

  • This is an excellent idea but it is slightly broad. Consider distilling this topic by looking at a specific work or text. The author has suggested 'The Office' or 'Parks and Recreation.' That said, however, the author has also preceded that by referring to individuals with political perspectives and agendas. The writer of this prompt should consider looking at comedic works that either have or aim to have any kind of political influence. Many satirical works would be worth examining. – IsidoreIsou 4 years ago
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Dinner Tonight? How Jake and Amir changed Youtube (working title)

With their series having ended a little over a year ago, can we make anything out of looking back at it? Perhaps something about the pressure of standing out as a 1-3 minute sketch comedy show on a Youtube more and more dominated by let’s plays and long videos? The show ran for 8 years – has it had a cultural impact? I’m not sure, but it seems worth discussion, at least.

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    Comedy and Film Noir

    What are certain comedies that draw on themes of film noir and neo-noir that make these comedies ironic? The example of Arrested Development comes to mind. Culturally, film noir played a major role during and after the second World War, and now with the advent of the comedies of today, is there a levity in darkness? What cultural circumstances must be evident to bring about the bleak and the comedic?

    • Another comedy that comes to mind is Who Framed Roger Rabbit. It's got a bunch of different elements in it that you could talk about. – nighteyes 5 years ago
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