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Portal:Comedy

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Introduction

Thalia, muse of comedy, holding a comic mask - detail of "Muses Sarcophagus", the nine Muses and their attributes; marble, early second century AD, Via Ostiense - Louvre

In a modern sense, comedy (from the Greek: κωμῳδία, kōmōidía) refers to any discourse or work generally intended to be humorous or amusing by inducing laughter, especially in theatre, television, film, stand-up comedy, or any other medium of entertainment. The origins of the term are found in Ancient Greece. In the Athenian democracy, the public opinion of voters was influenced by the political satire performed by the comic poets at the theaters. The theatrical genre of Greek comedy can be described as a dramatic performance which pits two groups 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 that pose obstacles to his hopes. In this struggle, the youth is understood to be constrained by his lack of social authority, and is left with little choice but to take recourse in ruses which engender very dramatic irony which provokes laughter.

Satire and political satire use comedy to portray persons 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. 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.

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The Simpsons star at the Hollywood Walk of Fame
The Simpsons is an animated American sitcom created by Matt Groening for the Fox Broadcasting Company. It is a soft-satirical parody of the "Middle American" lifestyle epitomized by its titular family, which consists of Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa, and Maggie. The show is set in the fictional town of Springfield, and lampoons many aspects of the human condition, as well as American culture, society as a whole, and television itself. Since its debut on December 17, 1989, the show has aired 408 episodes over 19 seasons. It is presently airing its nineteenth season. The Simpsons has won dozens of awards since it debuted as a series, including 23 Emmy Awards, 24 Annie Awards and a Peabody Award. Time magazine's December 31, 1999 issue named it the 20th century's best television series. The Simpsons is the longest-running American sitcom. Homer's annoyed grunt "D'oh!" has been adopted into the English lexicon, while The Simpsons has been cited as an influence on many adult-oriented animated sitcoms.

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Whoopee cushion
Credit: Grombo

A whoopee cushion, also known as a poo-poo cushion and Razzberry Cushion, is a practical joke device that produces a noise resembling a raspberry or human flatulence. It is made from two sheets of rubber that are glued together at the edges. There is a small opening with a flap at one end for air to enter and leave the cushion. To use it, one must first inflate it with air and then place it on a chair. An unsuspecting victim sits on the whoopee cushion, forcing the air out of the opening, which causes the flap to vibrate and produce its distinctive sound.

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Blue plaque at the house where Jacques was born: 125 High Street, Sandgate, Kent
Hattie Jacques (1922–1980) was an English comedy actress of stage, radio and screen, known to a world-wide audience through her portrayals of strict, no-nonsense characters in 14 of the Carry On films. She started her career on stage at the Players' Theatre, London, before progressing onto radio, where she appeared in three popular BBC series, It's That Man Again, Educating Archie and Hancock's Half Hour. Her cinematic debut—in Green for Danger—was brief and uncredited, but she grew to have a prolific screen career. Jacques developed a long professional stage and television partnership with Eric Sykes, with whom she co-starred in the long-running series Sykes and Sykes and a.... The role endeared her to the public and the two became staples of British television. Her private life was turbulent: she was married to the actor John Le Mesurier from 1949 until their divorce in 1965, a separation caused by her five-year affair with another man. Jacques, who had been overweight since her teenage years, suffered ill-health soon after the separation from Le Mesurier. She died in 1980 of a heart attack.

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Stephen Colbert in 2007
Not living in fear is a great gift, because certainly these days we do it so much. And do you know what I like about comedy? You can’t laugh and be afraid at the same time—of anything. If you’re laughing, I defy you to be afraid.
Stephen Colbert, 2007
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Comedy
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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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