The Comedy Portal


Comedy is an act of being 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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Kung Fu Hustle is set in Shanghai
Kung Fu Hustle (Chinese: 功夫; pinyin: Gōngfu) is a 2004 Hong Kong martial arts film co-written, co-produced, directed by and starring Stephen Chow. The film is a humorous parody and a homage to the wuxia genre, and contains most of the characteristics of a typical wuxia movie with exaggerations, serious situations and comic plots. Set in 1930s Shanghai, it is a tale of redemption for the central character, portrayed by Chow, a petty criminal who is trying to join the city's most-powerful gang. The use of visual effects have been widely acclaimed and the cartoon style of the movie accompanied by traditional Chinese music is its most striking feature. Although the film features the return of a number of retired 1970s actors of Hong Kong action cinema, it is in stark contrast to recent martial arts films that have made an impact in the West, such as Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Hero. The film was released on 23 December 2004 after two years of production and received positive reviews from critics. It went on to become the highest grossing film in the history of Hong Kong, and the highest grossing foreign language film in the United States in 2005.

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Three Stooges in 'Disorder in the Court'
Credit: From Disorder in the Court

The Three Stooges were an American vaudeville and comedy act of the early to mid 20th century best known for their numerous short subject films. They were commonly known by their first names: 'Moe, Larry, & Curly', and 'Moe, Larry, & Shemp', among other lineups. The Stooges' hallmark was extremely physical slapstick comedy punctuated by one-liners, within outrageous storylines.

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Phil Hartman
Phil Hartman (September 24, 1948 – May 28, 1998) was a Canadian-born American actor, comedian, screenwriter, and graphic artist. Born in Brantford, Ontario, Hartman and his family immigrated to the United States when he was ten. After graduating from California State University, Northridge with a degree in graphic arts, he designed album covers for bands like Poco and America. Feeling the need for a more creative outlet, Hartman joined the comedy group The Groundlings in 1975 and there helped comedian Paul Reubens develop his character Pee-wee Herman. Hartman co-wrote the screenplay for the film Pee-wee's Big Adventure and made recurring appearances on Reubens' show Pee-wee's Playhouse. Hartman became well-known in the late 1980s when he joined the sketch comedy show Saturday Night Live. He won fame for his impressions, particularly of President Bill Clinton, and stayed on the show for eight seasons. Called "the Glue" for his ability to hold the show together and help other cast members, Hartman won a Primetime Emmy Award for his SNL work in 1989. In 1995, after scrapping plans for his own variety show, he starred as Bill McNeal in the NBC sitcom NewsRadio. He also had frequent roles on The Simpsons as Lionel Hutz, Troy McClure and others, and appeared in the films Houseguest, Sgt. Bilko, Jingle All the Way, and Small Soldiers. Hartman had been divorced twice before he married Brynn (née Omdahl) in 1987; the couple had two children together. However, their marriage was fractured, due in part to Brynn's drug use. On May 28, 1998, Brynn shot and killed her husband while he slept in their Encino, Los Angeles home, then committed suicide several hours later.

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George Carlin
I think it's the duty of the comedian to find out where the line is drawn and cross it deliberately.

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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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