Arts Entertainments

Various types of comedy movies

Humor plays an important role in comedy movies which usually have a happy ending with the exception of black comedy. Comedy is one of the oldest film genres and the first silent film was a comedy. Comedy puts an emphasis on individual performers, and a number of stand-up comedians turn to movies due to their popularity.

Comedy movies are very light-heartedly scripted for the sole purpose of entertainment. However, other comedy movies carry a social or political message like the dog and man of the year.

Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare is considered the first comedy of manners, however the genre actually rose to prominence during the Restoration period. The plot of the comedy consists of an illicit affair or some other controversy or gossip. The witty dialogues of the comedy are more important than the story.

In a particular type of comedy, the main character or characters find themselves in an unusual situation that provokes humor. Such situations can arise, for example, with the exchange of gender roles as in Tootsie (1982); age role reversal, as in Big (1988); an individual enjoying freedom placed in a structured atmosphere as in Police Academy (1984).

A spoof or spoof is a comedy film that uses sarcasm, stereotyping, and poking fun at scenes from other films. Burning Saddles (1974), Airplane! (1980) and Young Frankenstein (1974) are examples of this genre.

The anarchic comedy film employs nonsensical and ridiculous, stream-of-consciousness humor that often lampoons some form of authority. These types of films have originated from a theatrical history of anarchic stage comedy. Featured films in this category include Duck Soup (1933), National Lampoon’s Animal House (1978), Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975).

Black comedy films lampoon death, murder, suicide, and war, which are generally considered forbidden subjects. Examples include Arsenic and Old Lace (1944), Monsieur Verdoux (1947), Kind Hearts and Coronets (1949), The Ladykillers (1955).

Nasty movies are of recent origin and are about sex and hygienic humor. There’s Something About Mary (1998) and American Pie (1999) are examples of this genre.

The romantic comedy revolves around the relationship between man and woman. Light-hearted romantic comedies often feature social interactions and sexual tensions between the couple. Examples of this type of film include It’s a Wonderful World (1939), The Shop Around the Corner (1940), Sabrina (1954), When Harry Met Sally… (1989), Pretty Woman (1990).

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