Matthew the changes that have occurred regarding comedy

Matthew Baca ErhartEnglish IV AP-614 December 2017In what way has comedy and humor to change over time, what ways have these changes influenced comedy Comedy has been around since the ancient Greeks, while the specifics of comedy have changed throughout time, the intentions of comedy have changed very little; people have always wanted and needed to laugh. There is no doubt that different things have made different people laugh over time, people no longer find men dressing up as women and perform plays for the community funny like they once did (Cartwright); and ancient Greeks would probably not find a picture of a dog with the word caption “doge” funny like some people do now. What is the reason for this, what has influenced these changes and what is the effect of the changes? This paper explores the possibilities for these changes as well as the specifics of the changes that have occurred regarding comedy and people’s ever-changing sense of humor.Comedy and humor used to less about laughing and more about the quality of story being told in the play. In ancient Greek times mostly any play in which not everyone died was considered a comedy. Comedies were usually in the form of a play in which poetry and songs were used to convey the story (Cartwright). Comedies in these times were also associated with religious gatherings and holidays, it was a major part in large festivals topped of with contest of many different comedies in which the people would vote which was the best (Cartwright). While comedy and humor have definitely changed from then to now however humor changes much faster than just a few hundreds years. There was a change in Ancient Greek comedies, in the span of 25 years the Greeks completely changed the style of comedies to adjust to people’s taste. There became new comedies and old comedies, while old comedies emphasized storytelling and developing an effective plot that somehow ties back to society, new comedy became less focused on reflecting society and everyday life (Cartwright). While humor and comedy may have been used for religious reasons at this time they were also used for some of the same reasons as today as a way to make fun of others and point out societies flaws in hope of bringing attention to them in order to create change. By exploring Ancient Greek comedy it is easy to see in which ways their humor has affected society today and the ways in which our ideas of humor have adjusted from them.Humor and comedy have seemed to have always been important part of society, this trend continues into the nineteenth century. In the 1940’s humor and comedy started reaching topics that previously were thought as untouchable or inappropriate; “There’s only a thin line between the horrible and the comic” (Weeks). Comedian Charlie Chaplin was eventually exiled from the United States for his controversial humor and comedy routines. Charlie Chaplin’s works including satire of depicting Adolf Hitler and the Nazis led to this (Keane). In ways humor and comedy had become controversial like never before; this is due to different people having conflicting views and ideas on what should be considered funny and what should be joked about. These ideas of controversial comedy became more present with the growing number of comedy films (Keane). The shake up of the status quo of comedy continued in the 70’s and 80’s comedic themes of parody and political satire with the emergence of comedic minds including Mel Brooks (Keane) and Lorne Michaels. Parody and satire changed the way people view some very controversial things. Parody and satire have a way of over emphasizing ideas like racism and sexism to make them seem so silly that they seem stupid and wrong. This was a result of the ever present displeasure with politics and social views through outrageous and over the top skits, movies and jokes. On top of the growth of these strategies of comedy and humor there was a growth in television in which people were able to view parody themed programs like “Saturday Night Live” for the first time ever (Keane). Through this people were able to voice their opinions like never before and they were able to reach and influence people like never before. However, this made many people mad as well because behind every outrageous and over the top skit and joke there is a something being made fun of and people don’t enjoy when is them or the ideas they support. Comedy and humor were changing, the more serious and controversial the more goofy looking it was made out to be because if it doesn’t make as many people mad as it does laugh it’s not effective enough. Humor and comedy have been used as a strong representation of society however it can be used for more than a way to make fun of people; humor and comedy also can be used as a form of escape from the harsh reality of life and events that occur. After the 9/11 attacks, comedic movies were released in hopes of being a form of escape from this disaster (Keane). The ability for comedy and humor to shift is important because it should be used for more than just making fun of people and tearing them down, it also needs to have the ability to lift people up and bring them closer to one another through laughter because  “a sense of humor is a trustworthy sign of recognition” (Weeks) and ability to laugh at one’s self is an important trait to have as well because this is a form of self acceptance. Comedy and humor have the ability to change to satisfy what people need. Comedy and humor may always seem like it is always attacking controversial ideas it is because of this it may seem like humor and comedy haven’t really changed however with the always changing problems in society therefore humor and comedy will always be changing as well to adapt with society. However, comedy and humor has changed for more than just make fun of problems in our society it has a greater effect comedy is the vehicle of our fears and the representation of our cares.



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