The Evolution of Comedy in Sitcoms

Comedy in television has changed drastically since the early days of "I Love Lucy". Through the changes of society and what is more acceptable, comes the more daring jokes and humour being explored on sitcoms of today. How has comedy changed and is it actually for the better? Furthermore, are the risks taken to make jokes in sitcom working for society, or is it becoming a bad thing?

  • I am not sure that we can assess whether comedy has become better or worse so much as we can look at the dominant types of jokes that present in modern comedy. I think a lot of this can be traced through the study of inappropriate jokes as you mention that comedy is taking more "risks." That is not to say that all jokes on contemporary T.V. are risqué but it certainly is symptomatic of what much of sitcom comedy is based on – DClarke 9 years ago
  • Many of today's comics have started the opposite of this thesis. Jerry Sienfeld, Bill Maher ave Kat Williams have all commented on how their jokes have landed them into campaigns calling then hate miners or have commented on comedians having to apologize for jokes. Recently Jaime Foxx had to back pedal from his joke about Bruce Jenner singing a duet by himself. Many comedians have said that the PC police are hurting their craft. – fchery 9 years ago
  • I agree with fchery. When I think of blatantly offensive (and genuinely hilarious) jokes in "All in the Family" or "Married... With Children" in comparison with today's sitcoms, I don't see these new shows as daring at all. The content may be different, e.g. nerds and gay couples, but the jokes are PC. – Simon 9 years ago
  • I think, also, there is a widening market for more "adult" sitcoms, especially ones which are animated. An example which comes to mind is FX's "Archer" or even something like "Arrested Development" which broach risky topics like incestual relationships, sadism. Whether or not these risks are worth it is debatable, but I do think it is an interesting topic. Also, shows like Archer require actual knowledge for the jokes and knowledge of the show so far, and this might be another aspect of modern comedies to discuss, therefore, a shift towards more serialisation. Another example which comes to mind is "Bojack Horseman". – Matthew Sims 9 years ago

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