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Portal:Comedy

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Comedy is a genre of fiction that consists of discourses or works intended to be humorous or amusing by inducing laughter, especially in theatre, film, stand-up comedy, television, radio, books, or any other entertainment medium. The term originated in ancient Greece: in Athenian democracy, the public opinion of voters was influenced by political satire performed by comic poets in theaters. The theatrical genre of Greek comedy can be described as a dramatic performance pitting two groups, ages, genders, 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 posing obstacles to his hopes. In this struggle, the youth then becomes constrained by his lack of social authority, and is left with little choice but to resort to ruses which engender dramatic irony, which provokes laughter.

Satire and political satire use comedy to portray people 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, which can often be taken as offensive by the subjects of said joke. 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. (Full article...)

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Douglas adams portrait
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is a science fiction comedy radio series written by Douglas Adams (pictured) and first broadcast in the United Kingdom on BBC Radio 4 in 1978. The serial follows the adventures of Englishman Arthur Dent and his friend Ford Prefect, an alien who writes for The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, an intergalactic encyclopedia and travelogue. After Earth is destroyed in the first episode, Dent and Ford find themselves aboard a stolen spaceship piloted by a motley crew including Zaphod Beeblebrox (Ford's semi-cousin and Galactic President), a depressed robot called Marvin and an Earth woman calling herself Trillian, who is the only other surviving human being. A second series was transmitted in 1980 and the first series was adapted for television. This in turn was followed by five novels, a computer game and several other adaptations. Before his death in May 2001, Adams considered writing a third radio series based on his novel Life, the Universe and Everything. Dirk Maggs eventually directed and co-produced radio series adaptations of that novel, as well as So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish and Mostly Harmless in 2004–05.

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Statue of angel with yellow, smiley underpants. Prank at the University of Virginia.
Credit: an iconoclast

A practical joke or prank is a situation set up usually to produce what the perpetrator imagines to be a humorous outcome at the expense of the target. Practical jokes are distinct from slapstick comedy or knockabout, in which the goal is to make physical events appear miscalculated, inept, or stupid. The term practical refers to the fact that the joke consists of someone doing something (a 'practice'), rather than a verbal or written joke.

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Eric Idle
The difference between English and American humour is $150 a minute.
Eric Idle

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Malcolm Hardee in 1995
Malcolm Hardee (born Lewisham, London, January 5, 1950 – died Rotherhithe, London, January 31, 2005) was an English comedian, author, comedy club proprietor, compère, agent, manager and "amateur sensationalist". His high reputation among his peers rests on his outrageous publicity stunts and on the help and advice he gave to successful British alternative comedians early in their careers as "godfather to a generation of comic talent in the 1980s". Though an accomplished comic, Hardee was arguably more highly regarded as a 'character', a compère and talent-spotting booker at his own clubs, particularly The Tunnel Club in Greenwich, southeast London, which gave vital and early exposure to up-and-coming comedians during the early years of British alternative comedy. In its obituary, The Times of London opined that "throughout his life he maintained a fearlessness and an indifference to consequences" and one journalist claimed: "To say that he has no shame, is to drastically exaggerate the amount of shame that he has". In a publicity quote printed in Hardee's autobiography I Stole Freddie Mercury's Birthday Cake, Arthur Smith wrote that Hardee had "led his life as though for the perfect autobiography and now he has paid himself the compliment of writing it."

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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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