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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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O'Brien performing in a replica of the costume Eddie Murphy wore in Eddie Murphy Raw.
The Legally Prohibited from Being Funny on Television Tour (also known as the Prohibited Tour) was a comedy tour by American comedian and talk show host Conan O'Brien. Its title is a reference to the 2010 Tonight Show host and timeslot conflict, which resulted in O'Brien resigning from his position as host of The Tonight Show in January 2010. O'Brien reached a settlement with NBC that barred him from appearing on television until September 2010, but it did not bar him from performing before a live audience in a concert setting. From April through June 2010, O'Brien performed 42 shows in the United States and Canada. O'Brien announced on March 11, 2010 via his Twitter account that he would embark on a 30-city live tour beginning April 12. Even with the unconventional marketing campaign of a single Twitter announcement, many locations sold out within hours of the tweet and additional shows were added on to meet demand. During the tour, O'Brien announced that his new show, Conan, would debut on TBS in November 2010. A documentary following O'Brien during the tour, Conan O'Brien Can't Stop, was released in June 2011.

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The Plumb-pudding in danger
Credit: James Gilray

James Gillray's The Plumb-pudding in danger (1805), which caricatured Pitt and Napoleon, was voted the most famous of all UK political cartoons.

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  • ...that Lor Tok, a Thai comedian and actor, had roles in more than 1,000 films from the 1930s to the 1980s?
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Malcolm Hardee in 1995
Malcolm Hardee (born Lewisham, London, January 5, 1950 – died Rotherhithe, London, January 31, 2005) was an English comedian, author, comedy club proprietor, compère, agent, manager and "amateur sensationalist". His high reputation among his peers rests on his outrageous publicity stunts and on the help and advice he gave to successful British alternative comedians early in their careers as "godfather to a generation of comic talent in the 1980s". Though an accomplished comic, Hardee was arguably more highly regarded as a 'character', a compère and talent-spotting booker at his own clubs, particularly The Tunnel Club in Greenwich, southeast London, which gave vital and early exposure to up-and-coming comedians during the early years of British alternative comedy. In its obituary, The Times of London opined that "throughout his life he maintained a fearlessness and an indifference to consequences" and one journalist claimed: "To say that he has no shame, is to drastically exaggerate the amount of shame that he has". In a publicity quote printed in Hardee's autobiography I Stole Freddie Mercury's Birthday Cake, Arthur Smith wrote that Hardee had "led his life as though for the perfect autobiography and now he has paid himself the compliment of writing it."

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Will Rogers
Everything is funny as long as it is happening to somebody else.

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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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