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Thalia, muse of comedy, holding a comic mask - detail of "Muses Sarcophagus", the nine Muses and their attributes; marble, early second century AD, Via Ostiense - Louvre

In a modern sense, comedy (from the Greek: κωμῳδία, kōmōidía) refers to any discourse or work generally intended to be humorous or amusing by inducing laughter, especially in theatre, television, film, stand-up comedy, 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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John Waters
"Homer's Phobia" is the fifteenth episode of The Simpsons' eighth season, which originally aired on the Fox network on February 16, 1997. It was the first episode written by Ron Hauge and was directed by Mike B. Anderson. John Waters (pictured) guest starred, providing the voice of the new character John. In the episode, Homer disassociates himself from new family friend John after discovering that John is gay. He worries that John will have a negative influence on his son, Bart. "Homer's Phobia" was the first episode to revolve entirely around homosexual themes, with the title being a pun on the word "homophobia". Originally, due to the controversial subject, the Fox censors found the episode unsuitable for broadcast, but this decision was reversed after a turnover in the Fox staff. It won four awards, including an Emmy for Outstanding Animated Program (For Programming One Hour or Less) and a GLAAD Media Award for "Outstanding TV - Individual Episode".

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Tickling
Credit: Kyle Flood

Tickling is the act of touching a part of the body, so as to cause involuntary twitching movements or laughter. Such sensations can be pleasurable or exciting, but are sometimes considered highly unpleasant, particularly in the case of relentless heavy tickling.

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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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Jerry Seinfeld
There were two keys to the show [Seinfeld]. Our sense of humor is combustible together. There was no idea he [ Larry David ] would have that I couldn’t immediately get onto and say, ‘Yeah, then we’ll do that and then we’ll do that.’ We’re very combustible together. The other thing, equally as important to me, absolutely, if not more important, is we shared a relentless work ethic, both of us.

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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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