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The History of Comedy is a CNN documentary series, as part of CNN Original Series.

The History of Comedy
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons2
Original networkCNN
Original releaseFebruary 9, 2017 (2017-02-09)

The documentary explores the underlying questions of what makes American people laugh, why, and how the laughter influenced their social and political landscape throughout the history.[1]

The show utilizes archival footage, punctuated by contemporary interviews with comedians and scholars.[2]

Series overviewEdit

SeasonEpisodesOriginally aired
First airedLast aired
19February 9, 2017 (2017-02-09)August 13, 2017 (2017-08-13)
26July 16, 2018 (2018-07-16)August 19, 2018 (2018-08-19)


Season 1 (2017)Edit

No. in
TitleOriginal air date
11"F**king Funny"February 9, 2017 (2017-02-09)
Diving into the history of "blue comedy" and its role in breaking taboos and changing the culture of comedy.
22"The Funnier Sex"February 16, 2017 (2017-02-16)
Exploring and celebrating the greatest female comedians of all time and how they were able to succeed in every genre where humor is found despite rampant sexism and prejudice.
33"The Comedy of Real Life"February 23, 2017 (2017-02-23)
Examining how comedians find humor in the simple daily experiences we all share to make us laugh
44"Parody & Satire"March 30, 2017 (2017-03-30)
55"One Nation, Under Comedy"July 16, 2017 (2017-07-16)
Exploring the evolution of racial humor; how comedy can cross cultural barriers to unite people.
66"Ripped From the Headlines"July 23, 2017 (2017-07-23)
77"Spark of Madness"July 30, 2017 (2017-07-30)
Exploring the fascinating mind of the comedian and the difficult road that many seem destined to take- where mental illness and substance abuse are remarkably common.
88"Making Fun"August 6, 2017 (2017-08-06)
Demonstrating how effective and funny it can be when you look at something serious and just twist it ever so slightly.
99"Politics Aside"August 13, 2017 (2017-08-13)
Examining the many different ways that comedy has lampooned and influenced politics over the years.

Season 2 (2018)Edit

No. in
TitleOriginal air date
101"Carnal Knowledge"July 15, 2018 (2018-07-15)
How sexual humor, one of the oldest forms of comedy, pushes the limits of both comfort and political correctness.
112"Sketch & Improv"July 22, 2018 (2018-07-22)
Exploring the history of sketch and improv comedy and how it evolved into a significant part of comedic talent today
123"Drawn To Be Funny"July 29, 2018 (2018-07-29)
The history between animation and comedy.
134"Gone Too Soon"August 5, 2018 (2018-08-05)
Exploring the passing of comedic legends and how the connection with their audiences make the loss more significant.
145"In It Together"August 12, 2018 (2018-08-12)
The history of comedic duos and the evolution of comedy teams.
156"No Offense"August 19, 2018 (2018-08-19)
Exploring family-friendly comedy and the struggles of abiding by strict network censors


  1. ^ "The History of Comedy". CNN. Retrieved 2017-08-13.
  2. ^ "The History of Comedy (TV Series 2017– )". IMDb. Retrieved 2017-08-13.