The Comedy Portal


Comedy is an act that is funny. In its popular meaning, the term encompasses stand-up, along with any discourse generally intended to amuse; this differs from the academic definition, namely the comic theatre, whose Western origins can be found in Ancient Greece. The theatrical genre can be simply described as a dramatic performance pitting two societies against each other in an amusing agon or conflict. Comedy contains variations on the elements of surprise, incongruity, conflict, repetitiveness, and the effect of opposite expectations, and there are many recognized genres.

Satire and political satire use ironic comedy to portray persons or social institutions as ridiculous or corrupt, thus alienating their audience from the object of humor. Parody borrows the form of some popular genre, artwork, or text but uses certain ironic changes to critique that form from within (though not necessarily in a condemning way). Screwball comedy derives its humor largely from bizarre, surprising (and improbable) situations or characters. Black comedy is defined by dark humor that makes light of so-called dark or evil elements in human nature. Similarly scatological humor, sexual humor, and race humor create comedy by violating social conventions or taboos in comedic 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 (also known as rom com or romcom) that depicts burgeoning romance in humorous terms and focuses on the foibles of those falling in love.

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Douglas adams portrait
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is a science fiction comedy radio series written by Douglas Adams (pictured) and first broadcast in the United Kingdom on BBC Radio 4 in 1978. The serial follows the adventures of Englishman Arthur Dent and his friend Ford Prefect, an alien who writes for The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, an intergalactic encyclopedia and travelogue. After Earth is destroyed in the first episode, Dent and Ford find themselves aboard a stolen spaceship piloted by a motley crew including Zaphod Beeblebrox (Ford's semi-cousin and Galactic President), a depressed robot called Marvin and an Earth woman calling herself Trillian, who is the only other surviving human being. A second series was transmitted in 1980 and the first series was adapted for television. This in turn was followed by five novels, a computer game and several other adaptations. Before his death in May 2001, Adams considered writing a third radio series based on his novel Life, the Universe and Everything. Dirk Maggs eventually directed and co-produced radio series adaptations of that novel, as well as So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish and Mostly Harmless in 2004–05.

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Laughter
Credit: David Shankbone

Laughter is an audible expression or appearance of merriment or amusement or an inward feeling of joy and pleasure (laughing on the inside). It may ensue (as a physiological reaction) from jokes, tickling and other stimuli. Inhaling nitrous oxide can also induce laughter; other drugs, such as cannabis, can also induce episodes of strong laughter. Strong laughter can sometimes bring an onset of tears or even moderate muscular pain as a physical response to the act.

Did you know...

Did you know?
  • ... that the episodes of the BBC 7 sitcom Knocker have titles such as "Privinvasionacy", "Obselejectivitysence" and "Confidentialitydence"?

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Stephen Colbert
Stephen Tyrone Colbert (born May 13, 1964) is an American comedian, satirist, actor, and writer known for his ironic style, particularly in his portrayal of uninformed opinion leaders and deadpan comedic delivery. Colbert originally studied to be an actor, but became interested in improvisational theater when he met famed Second City director Del Close while attending Northwestern University. He first performed professionally as an understudy for Steve Carell at Second City Chicago; among his troupe mates were comedians Paul Dinello and Amy Sedaris, with whom he developed the critically-acclaimed sketch comedy series Exit 57. Colbert also wrote and performed on the short-lived Dana Carvey Show before collaborating with Sedaris and Dinello again on the cult television series Strangers with Candy. He gained considerable attention for his role on the latter as closeted, gay history teacher Chuck Noblet. It was his work as a correspondent on Comedy Central's news-parody series The Daily Show, however, that first introduced him to a wide audience. In 2005, he left The Daily Show to host a spin-off series, The Colbert Report. Since its debut, the series has been successful, earning Colbert three Emmy nominations and an invitation to perform as featured entertainer at the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner in 2006. Colbert was named one of Time's 100 most influential people in 2006.

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Peter Ustinov
Comedy is simply a funny way of being serious.

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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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