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.
"Abyssinia, Henry" is the 72nd episode of the M*A*S*H television series, and the final episode of the series' third season. First aired on March 18, 1975, and written by Everett Greenbaum and Jim Fritzell, the highly rated episode was most notable for its shocking and unexpected ending. The plot of the episode centers on the honorable discharge and subsequent departure of the 4077th MASH's commander, Lieutenant Colonel Henry Blake (played by McLean Stevenson). The highly controversial ending to the episode, which has since been referenced and parodied many times, prompted an estimated 1,000-plus letters to series producers Gene Reynolds and Larry Gelbart, and drew fire from both CBS and 20th Century Fox. After the production of this episode, both Stevenson and Wayne Rogers, who played the character of Trapper John McIntyre, left the series to pursue other interests. These combined departures and their subsequent replacements signaled the beginning of a major shift in focus of the M*A*S*H series as a whole.
A whoopee cushion, also known as a poo-poo cushion and Razzberry Cushion, is a practical joke device that produces a noise resembling a raspberry or human flatulence. It is made from two sheets of rubber that are glued together at the edges. There is a small opening with a flap at one end for air to enter and leave the cushion. To use it, one must first inflate it with air and then place it on a chair. An unsuspecting victim sits on the whoopee cushion, forcing the air out of the opening, which causes the flap to vibrate and produce its distinctive sound.
I think that the tendency for most people is to fall back on a comic interpretation of things -- because things are so sad, so terrible. If you didn't laugh you'd kill yourself. But the truth of the matter is that existence in general is very very tragic, very very sad, very brutal and very unhappy.