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The Comedy Portal

Comedy (from the Greek: κωμῳδία, kōmōdía) 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 persons 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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Arrested Development is set in Newport Beach, California
Arrested Development was a character-driven American television comedy series about a formerly wealthy, habitually dysfunctional family. The show is presented in a mockumentary format, complete with narration, archival photos, and historical footage. Although set in Newport Beach and Balboa Island, California, it was primarily filmed on location around Culver City and Marina del Rey, California. The show was created by Mitchell Hurwitz (The Ellen Show, The John Larroquette Show, and The Golden Girls). Television veteran Ron Howard is an executive producer and the uncredited narrator. It has aired on broadcast networks around the world, including Fox in the United States, CBC in Canada and BBC Two in the United Kingdom. Since debuting on November 2, 2003, the series received six Emmy Awards, one Golden Globe, copious critical acclaim, a cult fan base, several fan-based websites, and a spot on Time's 100 Greatest Shows of All Time. Despite the thorough approval from critics, Arrested Development never climbed in the ratings. Fox aired the final four episodes of the third season in a block as a two-hour series finale on February 10, 2006, opposite the opening ceremonies of the 2006 Winter Olympics.

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Double entendre
Credit: Artist: Charles Williams; Restoration: Lise Broer

An 1814 engraved cartoon of a double entendre, a figure of speech in which a spoken phrase is devised to be understood in either of two ways. Often the first meaning is straightforward, while the second meaning is less so: often risqué, inappropriate, or ironic. In this cartoon, the man says to the woman, "My sweet honey, I hope you are to be let with the Lodgins!" To this, she replies "No, sir, I am to be let alone." Here, the word "let" can mean either "to leave" or "to rent", so her response can be read to mean either that she wants the man to stop bothering her, or that she is available for a separate fee from the lodging.

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The most difficult character in comedy is that of the fool, and he must be no simpleton that plays the part. — Miguel de Cervantes

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Sir William Schwenck Gilbert
W. S. Gilbert was an English dramatist, librettist and illustrator best known for his fourteen comic operas produced in collaboration with the composer Sir Arthur Sullivan. Gilbert's most popular collaborations with Sullivan, including H.M.S. Pinafore, The Pirates of Penzance, and The Mikado (one of the most frequently performed works in the history of musical theatre) and most of their other Savoy operas continue to be performed regularly today throughout the English-speaking world and beyond by opera companies, repertory companies, schools and community theatre groups. Lines from these works have permanently entered the English language, including "short, sharp shock", "What never? Well, hardly ever!", and "let the punishment fit the crime". Gilbert also wrote the Bab Ballads, an extensive collection of light verse accompanied by his own comical drawings. His creative output included over 75 plays and libretti, numerous stories, poems, lyrics and various other comic and serious pieces. His plays and realistic style of stage direction inspired other dramatists, including Oscar Wilde and George Bernard Shaw.

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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 laughs • Halloween Howls Comedy Festival • Melbourne 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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