Warm Up, April 21 st 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. 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. It 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. Characters of Comedy: The Comic Hero Doesnt have to be a spotless character. S/he must display enough charm to win the audiences
approval. Characters of Comedy (cont): Ordinary People Tend to be plain, everyday figures (lower or middle class) instead of kings, queens, or heads of state (as in a tragedy). Ordinary peoples
problems. Not necessarily humorous; it is about the satisfaction we feel when deserving people succeed. Characters of Comedy (cont): The Buffoon A low, jesting parasite An ironical man, or a type of dissembled ignorance The boastful man, imposter, or braggart.
Representative of differing social classes, but all are one moral type. The Comedic Ladder High Comedy Comedy of Ideas/Satire Inconsistences of character Verbal Wit Plot Devices/Farce Physical mishaps
Obscenity 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 deformed: long
noses, humped backs, dwarves. Farce This comedy most readily identified by the devices which drive the plot: mistaken identities, coincidences, and mistimings. 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 ragshop of happy endings. Verbal Wit Some quotes from Earnest: 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. 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. 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 differently. Intro Clip https:// www.youtube.com/watch?v=aBCIwj6cqko&noredirect=1 Questions about Clip What does the background music convey about the tone of
the play? Based 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? Do you agree with the statement one of the actors makes about wit never ages---what was funny 105 years ago is funny now? Do you think the clips from the play are funny? Why or why not? How do you think the actors prepared for their roles?
Based on everything you know, What predictions can you make about the play that we are going to start reading tomorrow?
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