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).