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Comedy is a genre of fiction that consists of discourses or works intended to be humorous or amusing by inducing laughter, especially in theatre, film, stand-up comedy, television, radio, books, or any other entertainment medium. The term originated in ancient Greece: In Athenian democracy, the public opinion of voters was influenced by political satire performed by comic poets in theaters. The theatrical genre of Greek comedy can be described as a dramatic performance pitting two groups, ages, genders, or societies against each other in an amusing agon or conflict. Northrop Frye depicted these two opposing sides as a "Society of Youth" and a "Society of the Old". A revised view characterizes the essential agon of comedy as a struggle between a relatively powerless youth and the societal conventions posing obstacles to his hopes. In this struggle, the youth then becomes constrained by his lack of social authority, and is left with little choice but to resort to ruses which engender dramatic irony, which provokes laughter.

Satire and political satire use comedy to portray people or social institutions as ridiculous or corrupt, thus alienating their audience from the object of their humor. Parody subverts popular genres and forms, critiquing those forms without necessarily condemning them.

Other forms of comedy include screwball comedy, which derives its humor largely from bizarre, surprising (and improbable) situations or characters, and black comedy, which is characterized by a form of humor that includes darker aspects of human behavior or human nature. Similarly scatological humor, sexual humor, and race humor create comedy by violating social conventions or taboos in comic ways, which can often be taken as offensive by the subjects of said joke. 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 that depicts burgeoning romance in humorous terms and focuses on the foibles of those who are falling in love. (Full article...)

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O'Brien performing in a replica of the costume Eddie Murphy wore in Eddie Murphy Raw.
The Legally Prohibited from Being Funny on Television Tour (also known as the Prohibited Tour) was a comedy tour by American comedian and talk show host Conan O'Brien. Its title is a reference to the 2010 Tonight Show host and timeslot conflict, which resulted in O'Brien resigning from his position as host of The Tonight Show in January 2010. O'Brien reached a settlement with NBC that barred him from appearing on television until September 2010, but it did not bar him from performing before a live audience in a concert setting. From April through June 2010, O'Brien performed 42 shows in the United States and Canada. O'Brien announced on March 11, 2010 via his Twitter account that he would embark on a 30-city live tour beginning April 12. Even with the unconventional marketing campaign of a single Twitter announcement, many locations sold out within hours of the tweet and additional shows were added on to meet demand. During the tour, O'Brien announced that his new show, Conan, would debut on TBS in November 2010. A documentary following O'Brien during the tour, Conan O'Brien Can't Stop, was released in June 2011.

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Falstaff, by Eduard von Grützner
Falstaff, by Eduard von Grützner
Credit: Eduard von Grützner

Sir John Falstaff is a fictional character who appears in three plays by William Shakespeare as a companion to Prince Hal, the future King Henry V. A fat, vainglorious, and cowardly knight, Falstaff leads the apparently wayward Prince Hal into trouble, but he is ultimately repudiated after Hal becomes king. Though primarily a comic figure, Falstaff still embodies a kind of depth common to Shakespeare's tricky comedy.

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Karl Barth
Laughter is the closest thing to the grace of God.

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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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Terms: Black comedy Comedian Comedy club Comedy of manners Convention (norm) Irony Komos Parody Political satire Race humor Restoration comedy Satire Screwball comedy Surreal humour Taboo Toilet humor

Comedy genres: Bouffon Comedy film Anarchic comedy film Gross-out film Parody film Romantic comedy film Screwball comedy film Slapstick film Comic novel Dramedy Improvisational comedy Musical comedy Stand-up comedy Alternative comedy Impressionist (entertainment) One-liner joke Comedy genres Sketch comedy Television comedy Radio comedy Situation comedy Tragicomedy

History of theatre: Ancient Greek comedy Ancient Roman comedy Burlesque Citizen comedy Clown Comedy of humours Comedy of manners Comedy of menace Comédie larmoyante Commedia dell'arte Face Jester Restoration comedy Shakespearean comedy Dadaist/Surrealist Theatre of the absurd

Comedy events and awards: British Comedy Awards Canadian Comedy Awards Cat Laughs Comedy Festival Edinburgh Festival Fringe Just for laughs Halloween Howls Comedy Festival Melbourne International Comedy Festival New York Underground Comedy Festival

Lists: List of comedians List of British comedians List of Canadian comedians List of Finnish comedians List of German language comedians List of Italian comedians List of Mexican comedians List of Puerto Rican comedians List of Indian comedians List of British TV shows remade for the American market List of comedies List of New York Improv comedians


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