"The Comedy Genre is a laughing matter."
The Comedy Genre strives to make us laugh, and that's pretty much all there is to it. As simple as this may seem, it's always a tough order because what different folks find funny is always hard to predict. Frankly, I'm amazed filmmakers attempt to create films in this genre at all, but thankfully, they do.
I myself am very fortunate to have a pretty wide sense of humor, so I can usually enjoy many styles of comedy, from very dry to overtly physical comedy. Like many things in the film world, taste is very subjective, but I'd have to say some of my favorite purveyors of comedy movies would be Kevin Smith, The Farrelly Brothers (Bobby & Peter), Harold Ramis, and Ben Stiller.
Comedy has (like many film genres) a rich and diverse history. With this comes many styles of comedy which have been derived from many sources. In many cases these different comedy styles, or genres overlap both in film and when employed by stand-up comedians.
One of the most interesting and sometimes disturbing forms of comedy is Black Comedy, where normally unpleasant subjects are used to elicit laughter. Normally, subjects like war, drugs, rape, or even death would never be considered a laughing matter, but black comedy (sometimes referred to as dark comedy) strives to turn these unpleasant topics on their head and make them funny. In the film world, movies such as Fargo, Dr. Strangelove, Heathers, A Clockwork Orange, American Psycho and Man Bites Dog are terrific uses of this dark genre. Stand-up comedians who specialize in this form would be Bill Hicks (a personal favorite of mine...), Penn & Teller (another fav...), George Carlin (possibly the King of this genre), Sacha Baron Cohen, Doug Stanhope, and Tom Lehrer, just to name a few.
Ben Stiller as a Nerdy High Schooler in "There's Something About Mary"
(for me, it just doesn't get any better than this...)
When films or comics work dirty, using profanity or otherwise lewd subject matter such as sex, racism, or bodily fluid observations, the form of comedy is said to be "blue". Working blue has been a common term for this subject matter for many decades, and both comedians and filmmakers make excellent use of this genre, despite criticism from professionals and fans who consider this taboo or otherwise too offensive to enjoy. Comedians famous for working blue are Eddie Murphy, Andrew Dice Clay, Doug Stanhope (again), Sarah Silverman (way blue), and Chris Rock. Films which engage in blue humor would be There's Something About Mary, The 40 Year Old Virgin, Any movie with Cheech & Chong in it, and Knocked Up.
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The Humorous Side of Learning English in Japan
Humor about life in Japan, you gotta have a great sense of humor to live here for any length of time. Learn from the many veteran English teachers who write for this site! You too can share your stories. One of the best sites on teaching English in Japan.
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