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George Meredith – Comedy Essay, Research Paper

?The true test of Comedy is that it shall awaken thoughtful laughter.?

George Meredith

Comedy has been a very popular form of entertainment in our society since hundreds of years. It lets us separate out minds form the hectic world and brings happiness to our lives. Comedy can be expressed in many different ways such as satire, slapstick, jokes, parodies, observational comedy, and sarcasm. Both Liar Liar and Blue Streak are good examples because they have a good balance of tactics the author uses to entertain his or her audience. Furthermore, comedy can be broken down in two main groups. In some types of comedic situations we laugh naturally without thinking about the situations, on the other hand, in other situations we laugh after giving some thought to what is happening. I agree with George Meredith?s statement regarding comedy because thoughtful laughter stays with us for a longer period of time and we can relater this type of comedy to our daily life.

Slapsticks, that is to say, a type of physical comedy characterized by broad humor, and absurd situations usually violent actions became popular in the early 1900?s but the The Three Stoges and Charlie Chaplain. Both Jim Carey and Martin Lawrence have also made their name in the world of comedy by performing slapsticks. This form of comedy does not result in thoughtful laughter. In fact, this is the perfect example of comedy which instinctively makes us laugh at what otherwise might make us cry. In the movie Liar Liar, Fletcher Reede brutally tortures himself in order to get excused from the courtroom. In other words, he has to beat himself up in order to make a living. Without giving any thought to what is really happening in Fletcher?s live we laugh. In real life, a similar situation might make us very sad for Fletcher. This form of comedy is a great entertainment but be it is very short lived and does not stay with

us. This is because we can not relate slapsticks with our daily lives.

In Blue Streak, when Miles Logan dresses us as a pizza deliveryman, so he can get into the homicide floor of the NYPD building the audience experiences a form of laughter, which may be characterized as ?un-thoughtful?. This is the result of comedy that does not trigger the audience?s imagination nor does it let the audience put him or herself in the same situation as the character. At this point we are laughing at the character instead of at ourselves by looking at what the character is doing in the movie. This is also a reason why George Meredith distinguished between a good and a bad comedy by looking for thoughtful laughter.

In both these comedies we encounter some great examples of true comedy. There are situations in these movies that can be incorporated with our daily lives. In Blue Streak, Miles Logan is put in a very tough situation, his life is ruined when he goes to jail but he leaves behind a precious diamond. This form of comedy is very humorous to us because we are not laughing at the actions the character makes, we are laughing at ourselves. In our minds we think about what would happen if we were put in a similar situation. This is the definition of thoughtful laughter and just as Mr. Meredith mentioned this is also the true test of comedy. This causes the audience to think and even lets the audience?s imagination carry out the rest of the way.

Fletcher Reede in the movie Liar Liar is having a very hard time with the handicap he has to live through. He is not able to lie for just one day, and this can damage his social life, his career, his friends and also his relationship with his wife. A good way to tell if a comedy will trigger your imagination and make you look at the situation from the character?s point of view is when you are laughing while, at the same time feel a little sad for the character. This is evidence of a good comedy because the author is entertaining you; he or she is making you laugh at something that is very sad. You are feeling sad because you are looking a the situation from the character?s point of view understanding the hardship a character is going through.

An author of a comedy has to go by many guidelines in order to write a good comedy. Two major points that are present in a good comedy are: a comedy should trigger the audiences imagination and make the audience think about the situations the characters of the comedy are involved in and there should also be a presence of thoughtful laughter in comedy. A good comedy stays with a person for a long time because every time I see someone lie in order to save their reputation or career I will think of Fletcher Reede in Liar Liar.


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