When one hears of comedy, oftentimes, the first thing that comes to mind is laughter, which is the expectation of works classified in the genre. Comedy, like all art and literature, takes on many forms, but the objective of all methods remains the same—to entertain people by inducing laughter primarily through fiction.
Most, if not all, comedians practice one or more of the 13 most well-known styles of comedy.
- Slapstick comedy focuses on physicality, like exaggerated facial expression and stunts. Jim Carrey is a notable practitioner of this style.
- Dark comedy, or black comedy, focuses on the disorder of comedic elements and morbid subjects like war, death, and crime. A prime example of a comedian who performs this type is Jimmy Carr.
- Self-deprecating humor focuses on a particular character or performer’s shortcomings. Comedian Maria Bamford is known for incorporating this style into her performances.
- Romantic comedy combines romantic love and humor. This type is best depicted in movies like Moonshot and Crazy Rich Asians.
- High comedy typically uses satirical wit in the context of upper-class societies. In other words, comedy that uses the rich as a backbone.
- Situational comedy draws humor from the relationships and dynamics between a recurring character cast in a consistent setting. Like romantic comedy, this style is best conveyed through shows like The Office and Fresh Off the Boat.
- Parody focuses on imitating and exaggerating existing works. Some examples of movies made with this style are Young Frankenstein and Scary Movie.
- Surreal humor concentrates on absurd situations that defy logic and reason.
- Tragicomedy combines comedic elements with serious subjects to explore different aspects of the human experience.
- Farce centers around exaggerated characters dealing with improbable situations caused by miscommunication or mistaken identity. Two films that exemplify face are Home Alone and The Hangover.
- Wordplay comedy entertains audiences through witty wordplay like puns, alliteration, and rhymes.
- Deadpan comedy evokes laughter through the intentional lack of emotion while talking about absurd topics.
- Observational comedy draws attention to the unnoticed humor within everyday life.
The various manners of comedy is portrayed in a multitude of entertainment mediums, with the most common performances being stand-up, sketch, and improvisational. Examples of notable stand-up comedians include Dave Chappelle. In terms of sketch comedy, it is hard to dispute that some of its masters are the cast of Saturday Night Live. The world of comedy continues to see rising stars, each one potentially being more humorous than the last, and in today’s world, comedy could play a role in the overall mental health of society.