Codes and Conventions of Comedy Louisa Clements
Comedy“Comedy films are supposed to make the audiencelaugh.” Effect can range from a “wry smile” to shrieks of laughter Different audiences laugh at different types of comedy Stereotypes play a big role in comedies
Codes and ConventionsTwo general formats: comedian-led and situation-comediesVery fluid genreHybrids exist - musical-comedy, comedy-thrillerSubgenres: romantic comedy, teen/coming of agecomedy.Slapstick, deadpan, verbal comedy, screwball, darkcomedy, parody/spoof
Comedy effectThe comedy effect is produced by two types ofperformance skills:1. Delivering the “joke” or “gag”2. Acting out a social drama or “situation” of somekind
GagsCan be verbal or visual (sightgag)Usually the performance ofthe gag that makes it funny -not the story itself (timing)Found often in slapstickcomedies such as CharlieChaplinPlayed by comedians EddieMurphy, Chris Rock, RowanAtkinsonhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=etUq95XKGiw
Gag-related genresSlapstick - very physical comedy developed during thesilent film eraGross-out - Modern comedy. Gags are meant to “breaktaboos” American Pie or There’s Something About MaryScrewball - Developed in the 30s. Central relationship isdisruptive and creates a breakdown of law and order.Farce - Often involves mistaken identity and sexualinfidelity - opening/closing doors, hiding under beds,wearing disguises etc.
Situational COmediesCharacter placed in a strange situation or there is a mistaken identitysituation Boy invited to girlfriend’s house to meet her parentsPerformance emphasizes realism rather than the display of the “gag”Played by actors - Julia Roberts, George Clooney, Bill MurrayObservational comedies - humour coming from the odd things people doCharacter comedy - humour is the general interaction of characters - TheOffice
Situational genresSocial comedy - Confusions caused by clash ofcultures and classes (often found in British film orTV)Comedy of manners - Jane Austen novels Sense andSensibility or modern Four Weddings and a FuneralRomantic Comedy - How To Lose a Guy in 10 DaysTeen Comedy - Defined by its audience, Clueless orTen Things I Hate About You