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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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Rowan Atkinson
"Goodbyeee" is the sixth and final episode of the British historical sitcom Blackadder's fourth series, entitled Blackadder Goes Forth. First broadcast on BBC One on 2 November 1989, shortly before Armistice Day, the episode depicts its main characters' final hours before a British offensive on the Western Front of the First World War, and the failed attempts of Captain Blackadder, played by Rowan Atkinson (pictured), to escape his fate by feigning madness. After he cannot convince General Melchett, and Field Marshal Haig's advice is useless, he is resigned to take part in the push. It has a darker tone than other episodes in the series, culminating with the main characters charging into no-man's land under machine-gun fire. The episode's theme of death ties in with the series' use of gallows humour and its criticism and satire of war. Richard Curtis and Ben Elton wrote the episode, and additional material was provided by its cast members. Its slow-motion final sequence showing the main characters going "over the top" has often been voted one of the greatest moments in television.

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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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Gene Wilder in 2007
Gene Wilder (born Jerome Silberman, June 11, 1933) is an Emmy Award-winning and twice Academy Award-nominated American stage and screen actor, director and screenwriter. Wilder began his career on stage, making his screen debut in 1967. His first major role was as Leo Bloom in the 1968 film, The Producers. This was the first in a series of prolific collaborations with writer/director Mel Brooks, including 1974's Young Frankenstein, the script of which garnered the pair an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay nomination. Wilder is known for his portrayal of Willy Wonka on Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971) and for his four films with Richard Pryor: Silver Streak (1976), Stir Crazy (1980), See No Evil, Hear No Evil (1989), and Another You (1991). Wilder has directed and written several of his films, including The Woman in Red (1984). His marriage to actress Gilda Radner, who died from ovarian cancer, led to his active involvement in promoting cancer awareness and treatment, helping found the "Gilda Radner Ovarian Cancer Detection Center" in Los Angeles and co-founding Gilda's Club. In more recent years, Wilder turned his attention to writing, producing a memoir in 2005, Kiss Me Like A Stranger: My Search for Love and Art, and the novels My French Whore (2007) and The Woman Who Wouldn't (2008).

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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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