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Warm Up, April 17 th Name the three funniest works of art (can be books, plays, television shows,

For each, explain as well as you can exactly what it is that makes them funny.. As Shakespeare will remind us,. Comedy is NOT always funny, . haha. !. All that is required for the category of . comedy is a story with a happy ending.

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Warm Up, April 17 th Name the three funniest works of art (can be books, plays, television shows,

Presentation on theme: "Warm Up, April 17 th Name the three funniest works of art (can be books, plays, television shows,"— Presentation transcript:


Warm Up, April 17th

Name the three funniest works of art (can be books, plays, television shows, movies, stand up routines, etc.).

For each, explain as well as you can exactly what it is that makes them funny.Slide2

As Shakespeare will remind us,

Comedy is NOT always funny,



All that is required for the category of

comedy is a story with a happy ending



is defined

as a story involving the rise in fortune of a sympathetic central character


The Comic Pattern

Begins with a

comic problem

(thwarted love, eccentric behavior, or corruption, for example). Moving from

exposition to complication, the problem gets worse. Complication is fueled by misunderstanding, mistakes in identity, errors in judgment, etc.

Comic climax: confusion reaches its peak

, misunderstanding is dominant, pressure is at a high point, choices must be made and solution found. Often involves revelation.

Comic Denouement: Resolves the initial problems and allows for resolution

. Lives are straightened out, people reconcile, marriages occur, order is restored.Slide4

Characters of Comedy:

The Comic Hero –

Doesn’t have to be a spotless

character.S/he must display enough charm to win the audience’s



Characters of Comedy (con’t):

Ordinary People

Tend to

be plain,

everyday figures (lower or middle class) instead

of kings, queens, or

heads of state (as in a


Ordinary people’s

problems.Not necessarily humorous; it is about the satisfaction we feel when deserving people succeed.Slide6

Characters of Comedy (con’t):

The Buffoon


low, jesting parasite

An ironical man, or a type of dissembled ignoranceThe boastful man, imposter,

or braggart.

Representative of differing

social classes, but all are

one moral type.Slide7

The Comedic Ladder

High Comedy

Comedy of Ideas/SatireInconsistences of character

Verbal Wit

Plot Devices/Farce

Physical mishaps


Low Comedy

At the bottom of the comedy ladder,

man is almost indistinguishable from the animal

. The laughter is longest and loudest over a

dirty joke or gesture. At this depth comedy unerringly finds the lowest common denominator. Typically, this the rung for “bathroom humor,” where body functions remind us that we are certainly “a little less than angels.”

Physical mishaps, pratfalls, slapstick, and loud collisions

are the obvious elements and here too are the


: long noses, humped backs, dwarves.Slide9


This comedy most readily identified by

the devices which drive the plot:

mistaken identities, coincidences, and


. The

characters become the

puppets of fate

. Typically the plot is

predictably improbable: devices include

twins separated at birth, unhappy marriages by tyrannical parents,

allegiances complicated by money

and births, and a



happy endings. Slide10

Verbal Wit

Some quotes from



“I'll bet you anything you like that half an hour after they have met, they will be calling each other sister.”“Women only do that when they have called each other a lot of other things first.”


“I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read in the train.” 

“Oh! I don't think I would like to catch a sensible man. I shouldn't know what to talk to him about.”


“Indeed, no woman should ever be quite accurate about her age. It looks so calculating.” 

“Long engagements give people the opportunity of finding out each other's character before marriage, which is never advisable.”


Comedy of Manners

Referred to as the

amorous intrigues of the aristocratic classes

, this comedy emphasizes the mechanism of language, and reduces drama and life to a sheen of

verbal wit. Such comedy does not hesitate to sacrifice humanity to dialogue: puns, paradoxes, epigrams, and witticisms of all types are the tools it uses often in the service of satire.Slide12

Satirical Comedy

Satire is any form of art that ridicules human vice or folly in order to bring about social reform


Some satire is comedic (gentle, urbane, smiling), while some is not (biting, bitter, angry).

Characters include con-artists, criminals, tricksters, and fortune seekers with gullible dupes, knaves, and cuckolds who serve as their victims.Resembles other types of comedy, but the central character is less likely to be foolish and morally corrupt.Slide13

Comedy of Ideas

The characters

argue ideas or are

representative of people who hold

these ideas. The dramatic action is an

embodiment of these ideas in conflict;

not an allegory, this genre uses

characters, who essentially remain

personalities, capable of change, pitting

their wits (or lack of them) against those

who view reality


. Slide14

Intro Clip



Questions about Clip

What does the background music convey about the tone of the play?


on the costumes and character accents, where and when do you think the play occurs?

Why is a man playing the character of Lady Bracknell? What

does it mean to “send up” something?


you agree with the statement one of the actors makes about “wit never ages---what was funny 105 years ago is funny now”?


you think the clips from the play are funny? Why or why not?


do you think the actors prepared for their roles?Slide16

After going through this PowerPoint slideshow,

What information did you already know?

What information was new for you? What was surprising, if anything


What can you anticipate regarding the application of comedy to Wilde’s