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What is Black Comedy?

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by

Taylor Pascoli

on 24 September 2014

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Transcript of What is Black Comedy?

Introduction to Black Comedy
(a.k.a Dark Humour)

What is Comedy?
Is any performance that is intended to be
humorous
and make their audience
laugh
.
The humour is created through elements such as: surprise,
incongruity
, conflict, repetitiveness.
These performances are typically
lighthearted
and have
happy-endings
where all conflicts are solved.
Its purpose is to provide
entertainment
that makes us happy.
It also makes us aware of our own
individual flaws
or the flaws of characters that existed within the performance.
Hence, it provides a
catharsis
as we are able to laugh at our own shortcomings.
Remember, this is subjective so not everyone has the same sense of humour!
What is Black Comedy?
It is a sub-genre of Comedy that uses

black humour

to make
light
of
serious
and often taboo/tragic subject matter such as: death, murder, disease etc.
It uses humour to trivialize and explore the
dark
and
evil
elements of human nature
Its purpose is to make the audience experience both
laughter
and
discomfort
at the same time
Its purpose enables it to be used as a tool to
question
the existence of
taboo
and
controversial
issues.

What is the Difference?
Comedy
is typically lighthearted and happy!


WHEREAS


Black Comedy
makes tragic and taboo subjects humorous!
Which one is the Black Comedy?
What are the elements of Black Comedy?
These elements are:
Feelings of
cynicism
and skepticism towards the human condition.
Negative situations
(e.g. a death in the family) are treated in a
comical
fashion via an inappropriate or contradictory delivery.
Characters
also react to negative situations in
unexpected
ways, contradicting the audience's expectations of normal behavior.
The
subject matter
must be of a
dark
, taboo or controversial nature.
Employs a
satirical
treatment of the tragic/taboo subject matter.
Uses
exaggeration
to create
caricatures
of established character archetypes.
Relies on
irony, sarcasm
and
wit
to make light of serious subject matter.
What are Some Examples?
In literature:

In Film:
'A Modest Proposal' 'Shaun of the Dead'
by Jonathan Swift by Edgar Wright
-
poverty/death - death
- eating/selling babies - apocalypse




In Television: In Film:
'Arrested Development' 'Raising Arizona'
by Mitchell Hurwitz By Joel and Ethan Coen
- Mental illness - Kidnapping
- Incest - Robbery
- parental abuse - Prison life and escape
- racism




Texts to Study in this Unit
The Lieutenant of Inishmore
by Martin McDonagh
relies on incongruity and absurd situations to explore dark subjects such as: violence, torture, murder and drugs in a humorous manner.
Its purpose is to confront the audience about their perceptions of these issues.
The Homecoming by Harold Pinter
explores themes of emotional blackmail, manipulation, seduction and jealously all delivered in a bizarre deadpan acting style.
its purpose is to expose issues of sex and power in a realistic but stylized manner.
Full transcript