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THE POWER OF COMEDY
THE POWER OF COMEDY!
What is Comedy?
Some people have the misconception that comedy is the actual opposite of drama. However under closer examination it is apparent that Comedy is that of a dramatic work. Dramatic work that is light and often humorous or satirical in tone and that usually contains a happy resolution of a conflict. Comedy keeps the world in motion, it allows people to shrug off rude comments, laugh at one another, and it creates a casual environment. There are many types of comedy: irony, satire, sarcasm etc. All are used in making the world more enjoyable. However, comedy consequently has the potential to make someone laugh as well as being offended. Laughter is a universal phenomenon however although comedy is as well, but only in a selective material to a selective audience to what you find funny enough to laugh.
I conducted two interviews with a friend from work: Alex who performs stand up comedy at local bars from time to time and a close personal relative of mine named Travis. (Please Note out of the respect of confidentiality I have replaced their real names with fictitious names.) My main question to them was “What is comedy and what they think its main function is? Here is what they had to say. I used a tape recorder and wrote their answers verbatim.
Interview ALEX: “You know as a comedian as ironic as this may seem, I am not necessary looking for my audience to get a laugh, (although I sure don’t wanna make them cry) I am more interested in seeing the reaction in their faces and body movement. I know I am not the funniest comedian out there, I don’t claim to be. If you get an audience who is reacting to your jokes they are at least stimulated and our engaged. I am looking for a reaction from my actions. I like controversy. I know I have the potential to give of a single punch line that will make some laugh, some offended, some that won’t find me funny, and some that just won’t get it to begin with. You know that is some powerful shit you when you can say something that can give people so many different reactions. “ (As Angus was stating in our oral presentation Comedy is like a weapon: A loaded gun waiting to explode when hit)
Alex, draws some of his humor from the work place. He studies people and how they act and behave at work. For example, he notices the ones addressing work issues such as: asking the boss for a raise. However, these people according to him practice too much in the bathroom mirror. According to Alex, they all seem to overly paranoid on how they appear physically and do not pay enough attention on what is coming out of their mouth. For example a friend of mine always thinks that his physical style and handsome features will guarantee him a raise. I can almost hear him echo the words: “That green tie going to make me look sexier along with those glasses to make me look smarter for the job interview?
Alex like most comedians is a layman Sociologist. Alex is interested in reality story telling. In the sense of taking situations from everyday life such as the work place and acting out common sense behavior that we do on a daily basis but sometimes we forget or take it for granted why we act the way we do in various situations. Shortly after I will use examples of the sitcom Seinfeld on how it makes fun of everyday living.
Interview: Travis: “I never had a sense of humor before I tried to kill myself. It’s ironic I had to attempt suicide just to discover how life can be more on the funny side then on the dark side. In the ICU my time was filled with nothingness, sleeping and staring at the wall; ashamed of not being able to kill myself properly. While in the recovery room, a friend came over and started to tell jokes that any other day wouldn’t even crack a smile on my face but for whatever reason I couldn’t stop
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Comedy, Culture of New York City, Seinfeld, Laughter, Comedian, Jerry Seinfeld
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