Is there such a thing as timeless comedy? Page 2

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Oldrocker

  • Friday 14th January 2011, 12:04am
  • Near my beloved Black Country in Wolverhampton, England
  • 13,416 posts
Quote: Timbo @ January 12 2011, 1:03 PM GMT

At Christmas I subjected my fourteen year-old neice to The Blood Donor. She giggled helplessly throughout; then composed herself and commented that "it wasn't all that funny".


Great that you're introducing her to The Lad 'Imself but, try her on Sunday Afternoon At Home and see how much tittering you get. Very little I would expect, That was another world.

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Tuumble

  • Friday 14th January 2011, 12:21am
  • Peterborough, England
  • 4,491 posts
Quote: Oldrocker @ January 14 2011, 12:04 AM GMT

Great that you're introducing her to The Lad 'Imself but, try her on Sunday Afternoon At Home and see how much tittering you get. Very little I would expect, That was another world.


I loved that episode but I preferred Wild man of the woods which was on the flip side of the LP I had as a kid.

What you say is true about SAAH - the kids just won't have any concept of what is happening. However brilliantly the script was executed it's far too slow in pace to work on the younger generation. As a 40-something that world still existed to some extent.

"Your dinner wasn't worth getting up for for a start. I thought my mother was a bad cook but at least her gravy used to move about." :D

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Oldrocker

  • Friday 14th January 2011, 12:50am
  • Near my beloved Black Country in Wolverhampton, England
  • 13,416 posts

'That's the goodness in it.'

'That's the half a pound of flour you put in it!'

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British Alien

  • Wednesday 26th January 2011, 10:20am
  • Northampton, England
  • 13 posts

This is brilliant. Thank you for your inputs. Very interesting.

My First Hancock's Half Hour was with the ECCPS! :D Very good story and the poetry is just terrific :D x

Thank you

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Buddy Sorrel

  • Wednesday 26th January 2011, 11:35am
  • East Anglia, England
  • 55 posts

I don't think the question was meant to be specific. Comedy is timeless because, like language, it continues to evolve and although tastes change and subject matter changes it's still the basic 'lead them up the garden path and swerve off at the last minute.'
I hiope it's timeless, anyway, I haven't thought up any new gags for ages.

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youngian

  • Wednesday 26th January 2011, 1:39pm [Edited]
  • England
  • 1,727 posts

I wouldn't be surprised if you find evidence of slapstick performances in some of the earliest civilisations. And falling over a banana skin can still be funny.

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roscoff

  • Wednesday 26th January 2011, 2:29pm
  • Llandenny Usk, Wales
  • 7,978 posts

The Flintstones-surely written before time itself was invented.

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Jono Smith

  • Wednesday 26th January 2011, 3:43pm
  • The East Midlands, England
  • 1 posts

The popularity of the 'Miranda' sitcom, shows that certain styles, situations and characters will remain popular.

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Eydis

  • Wednesday 2nd February 2011, 1:52am [Edited]
  • Iceland
  • 34 posts
Quote: Shandonbelle @ January 13 2011, 11:58 AM GMT

My day off work so time is of the essence but...

I found a really good book in a charity shop the other day 'The history of movie comedy' it starts way back in the days of Chaplin, Buster Keaton and Harold Lloyd and goes on to the likes of MASH and Airplane ( this book is yonks old by the way, 1985!) but it's such a pleasure to read through.

My point being... that I consider all comedy timeless. Stripped down to the bare essentials I'd say comedy is about 'people being, doing, saying and interacting in ways that provoke amusement in other people...human nature and all that involves' (animals can make us laugh too of course with their behaviour but they themselves cannot laugh (poor unfortunate creatures!)). Hard to define but that's the nature of it I suppose.
All that changes over time are the methods, fashions, tastes, trends etc, but how old a comedy is be it a film, play or sketch etc to me is incidental; if it's funny it's funny whenever, if someone from the Vaudeville days for eg Laurel and Hardy make me laugh now (which they do) then to me that's timeless.


I second that.

And I agree with what Buddy Sorrel said.

As I see it, the act of comedy is timeless because, well, there are those theories of why we laugh. One being that it is to release tension. Or a way to talk about things that are on people's minds. Like when that NASA space shuttle exploded, people were joking about it very quickly. When the two towers fell, the same thing, people were sending jokes back and forth. Then another theory on the discrepancy. Like with the punchline, it's funny because you don't expect it. Or like the slapstick humour, or for me at least because if I expect it I won't find it as funny as when I don't expect it. Then there was a third theory, now what was that again... oh yeah, the superiority theory or laughing at someone's expense. You know, so we can feel better about ourselves or whatnot. It also ties in with the ingroup/outgroup aspect of jokes, because jokes always leave someone in an outgroup.

So yeah, I think the act of comedy and the effects of comedy is timeless. Because those three effects are timeless, they're part of human nature or human needs. Humans have an intense need for comparison (the superiority theory), our brain is wired so that we are constantly sorting out what fits and what doesn't fit (discrepancy theory) and our psyche is constantly calculating our environment and dealing with changes in our environment and whatever (tension theory).

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Rico El Vista

  • Wednesday 2nd February 2011, 8:55am [Edited]
  • Scotland
  • 139 posts
Quote: youngian @ January 26 2011, 1:39 PM GMT

I wouldn't be surprised if you find evidence of slapstick performances in some of the earliest civilisations. And falling over a banana skin can still be still funny.


Surely some hulking T Rex must have skidded on a vast-scaled prehistoric banana-skin at some point: shame there probably weren't any of our distant ancestors around at the time to guffaw at this sight.

Quote: Eydis @ February 2 2011, 1:52 AM GMT

I second that.

And I agree with what Buddy Sorrel said.

As I see it, the act of comedy is timeless because, well, there are those theories of why we laugh. One being that it is to release tension. Or a way to talk about things that are on people's minds. Like when that NASA space shuttle exploded, people were joking about it very quickly. When the two towers fell, the same thing, people were sending jokes back and forth. Then another theory on the discrepancy. Like with the punchline, it's funny because you don't expect it. Or like the slapstick humour, or for me at least because if I expect it I won't find it as funny as when I don't expect it. Then there was a third theory, now what was that again... oh yeah, the superiority theory or laughing at someone's expense. You know, so we can feel better about ourselves or whatnot. It also ties in with the ingroup/outgroup aspect of jokes, because jokes always leave someone in an outgroup.

So yeah, I think the act of comedy and the effects of comedy is timeless. Because those three effects are timeless, they're part of human nature or human needs. Humans have an intense need for comparison (the superiority theory), our brain is wired so that we are constantly sorting out what fits and what doesn't fit (discrepancy theory) and our psyche is constantly calculating our environment and dealing with changes in our environment and whatever (tension theory).


I personally never laugh at sick jokes like the NASA shuttle-disaster, the Twin Towers tragedy or the likes of Holocaust jokes....even if the gag is well-executed (which is certainly possible). Bad taste 'jokes' like these are enjoyed by people who can't comprehend the true horror of these catastrophes: anyone with an ounce of decency must surely know that these subjects are not fit to be abused by anything as trivial as entertainment/comedy.

(I'm not Jewish or a relative of any of these disaster victims, either.)

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Eydis

  • Wednesday 2nd February 2011, 9:54am [Edited]
  • Iceland
  • 34 posts
Quote: Rico El Vista @ February 2 2011, 8:55 AM GMT


I personally never laugh at sick jokes like the NASA shuttle-disaster, the Twin Towers tragedy or the likes of Holocaust jokes....even if the gag is well-executed (which is certainly possible). Bad taste 'jokes' like these are enjoyed by people who can't comprehend the true horror of these catastrophes: anyone with an ounce of decency must surely know that these subjects are not fit to be abused by anything as trivial as entertainment/comedy.


And a very fair point that is.

But the thing is that bad taste "jokes" like that aren't only enjoyed by those who can't comprehend the true horror. Sometimes people facing the most horror seem to feel a need to distance themselves from the horror by laughing at the absurdity of it or making it somehow surreal. It has been documented throughout many professions that face extreme and dangerous tasks in their work how it affects the humour and morale. Doctors, fire(wo)men, military folk, ambulance workers, etc. often have the most "sick" jokes, simply because to the rest of us, what they are facing and dealing with is so absurd and far from our reality and our "normality" that to us, laughing at their situation seems wrong. But that is where the tension release theory comes from, that humans need to have an outlet for what they are doing and conversing about it with others.

I'm sorry, I could have explained a lot better what I meant. I'm still probably a far way off from doing it justice. But it doesn't take away the fact that your point is very fair and of course you're entitled to find any such jokes distasteful.

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Rico El Vista

  • Wednesday 2nd February 2011, 11:09am [Edited]
  • Scotland
  • 139 posts

I've actually laughed out loud at the sight of real Concentration Camp footage, Eydis, so I tend to agree with you! I laughed more as a form of nervous release at the extremes of human atrocities, and probably the people carrying out these barbaric acts did so too. I laughed more as a reaction of releasing nervous tension when confronted by true depravaties like this: maybe it's because the events are so absurd, so it borders in the surreal, as you put it. Maybe it's because this ultimate failure of civilisation is in some way laughable.

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Baumski

  • Wednesday 2nd February 2011, 12:29pm [Edited]
  • England
  • 1,583 posts
Quote: Afinkawan @ January 12 2011, 12:40 PM GMT

Depends. I found Taming of the Shrew funny.


'Taming of the Shrew' has always been a favourite with me and was perfect for John Cleese when he played Petruchio for a BBC adaptation back in the 1970s. Comedy at its very best.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TdfxR1jWLJ0

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alestairsimon

  • Tuesday 22nd February 2011, 2:24am
  • Philippines
  • 2 posts

hehehe.. =)