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Comedy is an act funny. It has a popular meaning (stand-up, along with any discourse generally intended to amuse), which differs from its academic definition, namely the comic theatre, whose Western origins are 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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Lucian Piane in 2009
"Bale Out" is a satirical dance remix by American composer Lucian Piane (pictured), also known as RevoLucian, released on February 2, 2009, to YouTube and MySpace. The piece utilizes audio from a July 2008 rant made by actor Christian Bale on the set of Terminator Salvation. Various other elements are used in the remix, including pulsating dance track beats and clips of Barbra Streisand from a 2006 exchange with a supporter of then-President George W. Bush, creating the impression of Streisand arguing with Bale. The day after its release, the YouTube page for the song had been viewed over 200,000 times, and over a million times by February 5, 2009. The Associated Press called it a "hypnotic dance track", and United Press International noted it was "catchy", characterizing it as a "YouTube sensation". Gil Kaufman of MTV.com described the piece as "a techno-ripping, demonic dance party". Time magazine's website called the track "hilarious", and Nine News characterized it as a "raging online success". The director of Terminator Salvation McG liked the remix and put a copy of it on his iPod, and Bale said he had heard the remix and thought "they did a good job".

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Statue of angel with yellow, smiley underpants. Prank at the University of Virginia.
Credit: an iconoclast

A practical joke or prank is a situation set up usually to produce what the perpetrator imagines to be a humorous outcome at the expense of the target. Practical jokes are distinct from slapstick comedy or knockabout, in which the goal is to make physical events appear miscalculated, inept, or stupid. The term practical refers to the fact that the joke consists of someone doing something (a 'practice'), rather than a verbal or written joke.

Barb says"Isn't that really a flying monkey?"

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Oscar Wilde in 1882
Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde (October 16, 1854 – November 30, 1900) was an Irish playwright, novelist, poet, and short story writer. Known for his barbed wit, he was one of the most successful playwrights of late Victorian London, and one of the greatest celebrities of his day. As the result of a famous trial, he suffered a dramatic downfall and was imprisoned for two years of hard labour after being convicted of the offence of "gross indecency". The lawyer H. Montgomery Hyde suggests this term implies homosexual acts not amounting to buggery in British legislation of the time. Wilde was born into an Anglo-Irish family, at 21 Westland Row, Dublin, to Sir William Wilde and his wife Jane Francesca Elgee. Jane was a successful writer and an Irish nationalist, known also as 'Speranza', while Sir William was Ireland's leading ear and eye surgeon, and wrote books on archaeology and folklore. He was a renowned philanthropist, and his dispensary for the care of the city's poor, in Lincoln Place at the rear of Trinity College, Dublin, was the forerunner of the Dublin Eye and Ear Hospital, now located at Adelaide Road.

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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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