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.

Selected article

Jamie Babbit, film director
But I'm a Cheerleader is a 1999 satirical romantic comedy film directed by Jamie Babbit and written by Brian Wayne Peterson. Natasha Lyonne stars as Megan Bloomfield, an apparently happily heterosexual high school cheerleader. Her friends and family are convinced she's gay and arrange an intervention, sending her to a reparative therapy camp to cure her lesbianism. At camp, Megan soon realizes that she is indeed a lesbian and, despite the therapy, gradually comes to embrace this fact. The supporting cast features Clea DuVall, Cathy Moriarty, RuPaul, Mink Stole and Bud Cort. But I'm a Cheerleader was Babbit's first feature film. It was inspired by an article about conversion therapy and her childhood familiarity with rehabilitation programs. She used the story of a young woman finding her sexual identity to explore the social construction of gender roles and heteronormativity. The costume and set design of the film highlighted these themes using artificial textures in intense blues and pinks. When it was initially rated as NC-17 by the MPAA, Babbit made cuts to allow it to be re-rated as R. When interviewed in the documentary film This Film Is Not Yet Rated Babbit criticized the MPAA for discriminating against films with homosexual content. The film was not well received by critics who compared it unfavorably to the films of John Waters and criticized the colorful production design.

Selected picture

Postcard with public domain "me worry?" face that inspired Alfred E. Neuman.
Credit: Moondyne

Alfred E. Neuman is the fictional mascot of EC Publications' Mad magazine. The face had drifted through American pictography for decades before being claimed by Mad editor Harvey Kurtzman after he spotted it on the bulletin board in the office of Ballantine Books editor Bernard Shir-Cliff, later a contributor to various magazines created by Kurtzman.

Did you know...

Did you know?
  • ... that the episodes of the BBC 7 sitcom Knocker have titles such as "Privinvasionacy", "Obselejectivitysence" and "Confidentialitydence"?

Selected biography

Yeardley Smith
Yeardley Smith (born July 3, 1964) is a French-born American actress, voice artist, writer and painter. She is best known for her long-running role as Lisa Simpson on the animated television series The Simpsons. Born in Paris, France, her family moved Washington, D.C. in 1966. As a child, Smith was often mocked because of her unusual first name and her voice. She became a professional actress in 1982 after graduating from drama school and moved to New York City in 1984 where she appeared in the Broadway production of The Real Thing. Her first film role came in 1985's Heaven Help Us, followed by roles in The Legend of Billie Jean and Maximum Overdrive. She moved to Los Angeles, California in 1986 and received a recurring role in the television series Brothers. In 1987, she auditioned for a role in a series of animated shorts about a dysfunctional family on The Tracey Ullman Show. Smith intended to audition for the role of Bart Simpson, but the casting director felt her voice was too high so she was given the role of Lisa instead. She voiced Lisa for three seasons on The Tracey Ullman Show, and in 1989, the shorts were spun off into a half hour show called The Simpsons. For her work as the character, Smith received a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Voice-Over Performance in 1992.

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Woody Allen
I think that the tendency for most people is to fall back on a comic interpretation of things -- because things are so sad, so terrible. If you didn't laugh you'd kill yourself. But the truth of the matter is that existence in general is very very tragic, very very sad, very brutal and very unhappy.

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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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