Comedy – A Serious Business Understanding Screwball genre comedies Comedy is indeed a serious business. In this paper we analyze various types of comedy. We understand the screwball genre of comedy. This particular genre is no longer in mainstream but it still rules the romantic comedy genre of movie making and is most desirable format of all times…
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However Comedy as truly said in the quote above is a serious business. It is a serious business because unlike a real life business, comedy has only one agenda to achieve and that is to make a people laugh and be merry. In this essay we are going to analyse what is comedy with reference to screwball genre of comedy. After we have a look at various types of genres in comedy we will look into screwball genre with help of two movies ‘Pretty Woman’ and ‘Maid in Manhattan’. How do we define comedy? It is basically professional entertainment consisting of jokes to make the audience laugh. It can be in various formats such as plays, films, television shows, etc. Comedy comes in various types. What makes us laugh while we are watching a comedy? We laugh when we find something funny especially when something in front of us is twisted and crooked than our expectations from a situation. For ex: We laugh when we see someone stepping on a banana skin and having a fall. Do we expect people to fall tripping over a banana skin? Yes we do. But what if someone does step on a banana skin and doesn’t fall? Or the person even tries to balance him or herself awkwardly to avoid the fall? The entire gesture of regaining balance and composure becomes hilarious than the actual fall. It is contrary to our expectations of a person tripping over a banana skin. This is one of the many situations which gets funny and causes humour or comedy. There is no definite situation why a person may or may not feel humorous or funny. Comedy hence is very difficult to predict. In literature or other art forms, all other forms are definite, be it tragedy, anger, frustrations, seriousness etc. The audience reaction is predictable because the form is designed with a distinct purpose. For Ex: A tragedy like Othello or Macbeth is definite in its purpose which makes the audience feel strongly about vanity of values and ethics in life. Hence making people laugh or comedy becomes a business seriously done. Although the basic purpose is to make an audience laugh, the shades of humour change from each type. Ranging from a very light effervescent humour to black dark comedies, comedy is a medium used to comment on the paradoxes of society. It is often said that comedy is essentially a good tool to put a point across, because it acts like a fist in velvet glove. Considering this we can state that comedy has different styles and types or genres. Let us have a look at various genres of comedy: 1. Slapstick comedy: Slapstick is a boisterous comedy usually consisting of crude practical jokes and physical humour. The topmost name in slapstick comedy genre is of Charlie Chaplin. Audience ruptured into laughter while watching Chaplin on screen. For ex: He is walking on a footpath looking here and there and without noticing the electricity pole and suddenly bumps into it drives the audience mad with laughter. Slapstick is a form which has stayed longest in all the comedies presented so far. The latest example of slapstick comedy is Jim Carrey in the movie ‘The Mask’. The mask brings out the inner desires and emotions of the person who wears it. No other form of comedy would have done justice to the eccentricity of the character portrayed than slapstick. 2. Parody and Spoof: Parody is deliberate mimicking to cause humour. Although spoof and parody have a very thin line of
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