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Stephanie Coleman

on 14 October 2013

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Transcript of Comedy

Incongruity Theory
What makes us laugh?

Intertextuality is the shaping of a text meaning by another text. An example of intertextuality is an author’s borrowing and transformation of a prior text or to a reader’s referencing of one text in reading another. An Intertexutal reference isn't always understood by everyone, depending on your background, shows you have watched, texts you had read and various ideologies and beliefs you have been exposed to you may read a text differently. Intertextuality is crucial for comedy. Without an audiences’ prior knowledge of what you are talking about they can’t find the humour.

Stand Up - Observational Humour
+ Use of the conventions of surprise
+ Timing
+ Tension
+ Pregnant Pause
+ Intertextuality
+ Topical

+ A composition that imitates somebody’s style in a humorous way
+ Make a SPOOF of or to make FUN of
+ Examples of Parody – Scary Movie 1, 2 and 3., Not another Teen Movie
+ Huge stereotyping – eg, the dumb blonde, the hard boiled detective
+ Revolves around sarcasm
+ Mocking other films, poetry, literature, people, situations or scenes.
+ Violence with no consequences for characters
+ Is a form of satire that imitates another work of art in order to ridicule it.
+ Parody does not teach us anything – it simply makes us laugh because we are familiar with the original version.

A sense of humour is a very personal characteristic and even within members of the same family is varies. What may reduce you to a helpless, quivering mass may not produce a smile on someone else's face. Laughter does not always show happiness, you may laugh when you are close to tears, embarrassed or unable to accept a situation of horror or pain.
Stand up
Superiority Theory
Relief Theory
Satire - Political Humour

+ Objective is to ridicule
+ To expose foolishness in all of its guises – vanity, hypocrisy, bigotry and sentimentality – and to effect reform through such exposure.
+ Makes fun of the ways certain people behave, and to show how ridiculous human beings – and their situations can be.
+ Purpose – to evoke change in people’s behaviour after seeing how ridiculous and sily they are.
+ Often targets, politicians, famous stars, and institutions.
+ Exaggeration on behaviours and characteristics
+ Satire is NEVER cruel or savage for its own sake – it MUST teach us something

Ancient Greek comedy - Humour was at first a celebration of the Greek god of mischief, Dionysus

Elizabethan comedy - Errors and obsessions came into comedy, but there was once again mainly on the love front.

Visual Comedy
Black Comedy
Situations are highly exaggerated, extravagant, and thus improbable
Stereotyped characters
Extravagant exaggeration
Physical humour
Deliberate absurdity or nonsense
Often set in one particular location, where all events occur.
Viewers are encouraged not to try and follow the plot otherwise they will become confused and overwhelmed
Farce is generally regarded as intellectually and aesthetically inferior to comedy in its crude characterizations and implausible plots, but it has been sustained by its popularity in performance s,
Black Comedy is characterised by its subject matter. It aims to make light, or see the funny side of serious issues or events such as death, war, disease, crime, etc. It examines these in a light, silly or satirical fashion, creating witticism in the face of – and in response to – a hopeless situation. It arises from stressful, traumatic, or life-threatening situations, often in circumstances such that death is perceived as impending and unavoidable.
Black comedy is typically made by or about the victim of such a situation, but not the perpetrator of it.

Visual Humour, this was mainly used through this time period. Mainly in the form of slapstick.
This was very popular in the era of Silent Movies, for obvious reasons, but is still popular today,

It is a boisterous from of Comedy marked by chases, collisions and crude practical jokes. The slapstick comic often must be more than just a funny man – they must be an acrobat, stuntman, and something of a magician – a master of uninhibited action and perfect timing.

This form takes its name from one of its favourite weapons - a stick or lath used by harlequins, clowns, etc., as in pantomime, for striking other performers, esp. a combination of laths that make a loud, clapping noise without hurting the person struck





Beginnings of Comedy
What is the purpose of these clips?
What is the parent text?
What prior knowledge
do you need?
Dora Trailer
What makes
things funny

The first is called the Incongruity Theory which details how humour arises when logic and familiarity are replaced by things that don't normally go together. When a joke or sketch begins, the mind is already anticipating the outcome. Anticipation takes the form of logical thought intertwined with emotion and is influenced by our past experiences and our thought processes. Suddenly when the joke takes an unexpected direction, our thoughts and emotions suddenly have to switch gears creating two sets of incompatible thoughts and emotions simultaneously causing incongruity between the different parts of the joke.

The second theory is labelled the Superiority Theory and focuses on someone else's mistakes, stupidity or misfortune. The theory explains that when something unfortunate happens to someone else, the audience feel superior to this person, experience a certain detachment from the situation and so are able to laugh at it.

The last theory, the Relief Theory is not used very much in situational comedy. It relies on a lapse in intense tension due to a side comment and allows the viewer to relieve themselves of pent up emotion before the tension builds again.

Double Entendre - Words that have a double
meaning. Usually the first meaning is quite
innocent and the second meaning is more
risqué. Eg – “If I told you you had
a beautiful body would
you hold it against me?”
Irony - What one says and does are in complete contrast, or words in a phrase can be of complete contrast. Eg – “as funny as cancer”
The Absurd - Contains clearly untrue, unreasonable or ridiculous elements. Eg Sketch comedy often use toys to represent real objects, making them ridiculously small in comparison to the actors, or breaking into a dance routine in the middle of a funeral
Sarcasm -
Stating the opposite of the intended meaning. Usually,
tone of voice, facial expression and physicality reveal the true meaning of the words. Eg- Your meaning is, “I hate family picnics”, but SAY, “I love family picnics”
Call Back - A joke that reappears. EG- Homer’s “Doh!”, ‘Seinfeld’s’ reuse of quotes such as, “These pretzels are making me thirsty!”
Joey from friends 'how you doing'
Pregnant Pause: A pregnant pause is a technique of comic timing used to accentuate a comedy element. The pregnant pause has become a staple of stand-up comedy
Examples: Jay Leno: "So in Hollywood news Ben Affleck is the new Batman" (Pause) "And Miley Cyrus is the new Lindsey Lohan so it's all worked out great."

Comic Timing: Comic timing is use of rhythm and tempo to enhance comedy and humor. The pacing of the delivery of a joke has a strong impact on its comic effect; the same is also true of more physical comedy such as slapstick.
A beat is a pause taken for the purposes of comic timing, often to allow the audience time to recognize the joke and react, or to heighten the suspense before delivery of the expected punch line.

“This car is so long that it takes 20 minutes through a five minute car wash”
“This car is so small it costs just $1500. That even includes the carrying case.”

2. PUN
“Say, that girl is well-reared, and the front of her isn’t too bad either.”
“It was all over in a minute. Then the Queen swept down the staircase . . . dusted the curtains and polished the furniture.” (Ronnie Corbett after going to Buckingham Palace)

“Our star hasn’t arrived here yet because he has had fanbelt trouble. One of his fans belted him.”
(You lead your audience to think you mean one way and then reveal it’s to be taken a different way)

(reversing the normal routine of the subject)
“My car’s in such a bad state now, that the mechanic advised me to keep the oil and change the car.”
“My car’s in such a bad state, when I turn the engine on, the fan belt stays still and the car spins around.”

Intertextuality Examples
Total Eclipse
Full transcript