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In a modern sense, comedy (from the Greek: κωμῳδία, kōmōidía) is a genre of fiction that refers to any discourse or work generally intended to be humorous or amusing by inducing laughter, especially in theatre, television, film, stand-up comedy, books 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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"Abyssinia, Henry" was the last episode to feature this character lineup.
"Abyssinia, Henry" is the 72nd episode of the M*A*S*H television series, and the final episode of the series' third season. First aired on March 18, 1975, and written by Everett Greenbaum and Jim Fritzell, the highly rated episode was most notable for its shocking and unexpected ending. The plot of the episode centers on the honorable discharge and subsequent departure of the 4077th MASH's commander, Lieutenant Colonel Henry Blake (played by McLean Stevenson). The highly controversial ending to the episode, which has since been referenced and parodied many times, prompted an estimated 1,000-plus letters to series producers Gene Reynolds and Larry Gelbart, and drew fire from both CBS and 20th Century Fox. After the production of this episode, both Stevenson and Wayne Rogers, who played the character of Trapper John McIntyre, left the series to pursue other interests. These combined departures and their subsequent replacements signaled the beginning of a major shift in focus of the M*A*S*H series as a whole.

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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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David Mitchell
David Mitchell (born 14 July 1974) is a British actor, comedian and writer. He is one half of the comedy duo Mitchell and Webb, alongside Robert Webb, whom he met at Cambridge University. There they were both part of the Cambridge Footlights, of which Mitchell became President. Together the duo star in the Channel 4 sitcom Peep Show in which Mitchell plays Mark Corrigan. The show received a BAFTA and won three British Comedy Awards, while Mitchell won the award for Best Comedy Performance in 2009. The duo have written and starred in several sketch shows including The Mitchell and Webb Situation, That Mitchell and Webb Sound and most recently That Mitchell and Webb Look. Mitchell and Webb also starred in the UK version of Apple's Get a Mac advertisement campaign. Their first film, Magicians, in which Mitchell plays traditional magician Harry, was released on 18 May 2007. On his own, Mitchell has played Dr James Vine in the BBC1 sitcom Jam & Jerusalem and Tim in the one-off ShakespeaRe-Told adaptation of The Taming of the Shrew. He also is a frequent participant on British panel shows, including QI, Mock the Week and Have I Got News for You, as well as Best of the Worst and Would I Lie to You? on each of which he is a team captain, hosts The Unbelievable Truth and 10 O'Clock Live. Mitchell also writes a column for The Observer.

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Miguel de Cervantes
The most difficult character in comedy is that of the fool, and he must be no simpleton that plays the part.

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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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