Some people have the misconception that comedy is the actual opposite of drama. However under closer examination it is apparent that Comedy is that of a dramatic work. Dramatic work that is light and often humorous or satirical in tone and that usually contains a happy resolution of a conflict. Comedy keeps the world in motion, it allows people to shrug off rude comments, laugh at one another, and it creates a casual environment. There are many types of comedy: irony, satire, sarcasm etc. All are used in making the world more enjoyable.
However, comedy consequently has the potential to make someone laugh as well as being offended. Laughter is a universal phenomenon however although comedy is as well, but only in a selective material to a selective audience to what you find funny enough to laugh. Two Interviews I conducted two interviews with a friend from work: Alex who performs stand up comedy at local bars from time to time and a close personal relative of mine named Travis. Please Note out of the respect of confidentiality I have replaced their real names with fictitious names.
My main question to them was “What is comedy and what they think its main function is? Here is what they had to say. I used a tape recorder and wrote their answers verbatim. Interview ALEX: “You know as a comedian as ironic as this may seem, I am not necessary looking for my audience to get a laugh, although I sure don’t wanna make them cry I am more interested in seeing the reaction in their faces and body movement. I know I am not the funniest comedian out there, I don’t claim to be. If you get an audience who is reacting to your jokes they are at least stimulated and our engaged.
I am looking for a reaction from my actions. I like controversy. I know I have the potential to give of a single punch line that will make some laugh, some offended, some that won’t find me funny, and some that just won’t get it to begin with. You know that is some powerful shit you when you can say something that can give people so many different reactions. ” As Angus was stating in our oral presentation Comedy is like a weapon: A loaded gun waiting to explode when hit Alex, draws some of his humor from the work place. He studies people and how they act and behave at work.
For example, he notices the ones addressing work issues such as: asking the boss for a raise. However, these people according to him practice too much in the bathroom mirror. According to Alex, they all seem to overly paranoid on how they appear physically and do not pay enough attention on what is coming out of their mouth. For example a friend of mine always thinks that his physical style and handsome features will guarantee him a raise. I can almost hear him echo the words: “That green tie going to make me look sexier along with those glasses to make me look smarter for the job interview?
Alex like most comedians is a layman Sociologist. Alex is interested in reality story telling. In the sense of taking situations from everyday life such as the work place and acting out common sense behavior that we do on a daily basis but sometimes we forget or take it for granted why we act the way we do in various situations. Shortly after I will use examples of the sitcom Seinfeld on how it makes fun of everyday living. Interview: Travis: “I never had a sense of humor before I tried to kill myself.
It’s ironic I had to attempt suicide just to discover how life can be more on the funny side then on the dark side. In the ICU my time was filled with nothingness, sleeping and staring at the wall; ashamed of not being able to kill myself properly. While in the recovery room, a friend came over and started to tell jokes that any other day wouldn’t even crack a smile on my face but for whatever reason I couldn’t stop laughing. I appreciated the fact that unlike my family members and other close friends they where too serious of dealing with the situation, that just made me feel guilty.
However this special friend caught me of guard, was making fun of me, saying that I was an amateur and that I didn’t know how to get the job done right and that I needed a book for Dummies on how to kill myself properly. You see this is what made me feel happy inside. It lighten up the situation. I knew my friend was making the tension escape the room and I love him for that. That laughter in my soul was something that I truly experienced for the first time. I was genuinely laughing, that laughter made me feel good; with that laughter I was happy.
Comedy plain and simple to me is and hope always will be my Therapy better then any drug I have ever taken, something to help the empty void I have felt all my life. ” Comedy and Common Sense in the Seinfeld Show In the show Seinfeld the type of comedy is satire. A, show, which exposes the follies of individuals in everyday life and their ridiculousness nature at times. In Seinfeld, the actor’s situations and their neurotic sense of humor and the combination of everyday life, and their interactions with others and themselves make it funny.
Seinfeld is a show that tackles issues such as gender issues, cultural norms, socialization and personal relationships, sex and gender issues, homophobia, health, race and ethnicity and religion. These are all potentially sensitive issues that had the recipes to have made Seinfeld a very heavy dramatic show. However comedy as I mentioned before is drama done in a light fashion. Seinfild makes fun of these issues not making fun at them directly but how we “People” deal and react to these issues. In essence peoples reactions becomes funny or tragic.
It’s never the topic that is funny, interesting boring, scary. But how we society members within a culture react to these topics. As we have discussed in class sadly Sociology is sometimes criticized as an academic field that describes the obvious, the “Common Sense” world that, assumingly, we all know and understand. But what is common sense? Most people can think of numerous examples of commons sense, such as not putting a toaster with the plug on and dump it in the bath. Everything that is considered common sense is something that we learn from our parents, teachers, friends, Etc.
A child is not born with the knowledge not to put a toaster into a bath. That’s why parents must keep an eye on young children all the time. People violate the rules of common sense regularly. For example, in the Sienfield episode “The Virgin” Jerry and George make a second pitch for their sitcom with the executives from NBC. George commits a major NO NO when he kisses his girlfriend Susan, who is one of the executives. After the meeting Susan is fired because of the kiss. When she confronts George about how unprofessional his kiss was, George responded that he had no idea his behavior was so inappropriate.
Susan in amazed at his obvious lack of common sense, questions how anyone could not know that such behavior was unacceptable. In Susan’s world, George’s behavior violated expected behavior but George, new to this work world, was clueless. In George’s mind, he was merely greeting his girlfriend with a kiss, a common sense thing to do when you are in a relationship with someone. In another episodes Jerry and George pitch to the executives what the show would be about: George: ” I think I can sum up the show for you with one word: Nothing!
Russell: “Nothing” George smiles: “Nothing” Jerry: “Well maybe in Philosophy. But even nothing is something. ” Seinfeld is really a show about everything from macro to micro social interactions. It’s a show what people do on a daily basis. This is comedic for the audience as they can relate to these sorts of situations from one day to the next. We where talking in class about Goffman’s private and Front stage personas. The role that people perform for others is conducted in the front stage setting and does not represent the actor’s true self.
Example: The Soup Episode> While Jerry and George where ordering their meal, the waitress flirts with George, She playfully mentions his beautiful face. George feels very complemented however his self-esteem issues get the better of him. When he asks Jerry, if the waitress really meant that he had a beautiful face: He replies: “Well they do work on tips. ” One last example is the episode called the “Pledge Drive” Elaine’s Boss, Mr. Pitt, uses a knife and fork to eat his chocolate bar. Elaine tells George and Jerry about this and they find it quite peculiar.
As George thinks about this odd behavior he theorizes that Mr. Pitt, as a high society type, probably just doesn’t want to get chocolate on his fingers. During a working lunch with his Yankees- organization coworkers, George decides to eat his candy bar with a knife and fork. Initially, Mr. Morgan, George’s boss, mocks George for his strange way of eating a candy bar. In a arrogant manner, George replies, ” I am eating my desert. How do you eat it with your hands? IF a wealthy person behaves oddly they are labeled eccentric. However someone from the lower class who acts oddly are called weird.
Mr. Pitt who is wealthy who eats the chocolate bar with his fork and knife is eccentric but however is someone who is cultured. While George a middle class slacker is considered weird and people laugh when he eats a chocolate bar with a fork. Conclusion: Comedy is hear to make the world feel a bit lighter. Without comedy our lives would be dull. Successful comedy has the potential to make someone laugh to feel less alienated. The power of comedy has the potential to give someone hope to feel good enough to want to live on planet earth.