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Silent Comedy. COM 320: History of the Moving Image. Four Distinct Humor Mechanisms. 1. Disparagement–setting up a one-up, one-down relationship 2. Incongruity–a surprising juxtaposition

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silent comedy

Silent Comedy

COM 320: History of the Moving Image

four distinct humor mechanisms
Four Distinct Humor Mechanisms
  • 1. Disparagement–setting up a one-up, one-down relationship
  • 2. Incongruity–a surprising juxtaposition
  • 3. Dark/High arousal–shocking or otherwise over-the-top, e.g., Sick humor, Black/dark humor, Harmful slapstick/physical comedy
  • 4. Social currency–humor derives from shared knowledge or experiences
four distinct humor mechanisms1
Four Distinct Humor Mechanisms
  • 1. Disparagement:
    • Q. What do you call a man with half a brain?
    • A. Gifted.
  • 2. Incongruity:
    • Q. What's the difference between roast beef and pea soup?
    • A. Anyone can roast beef.
  • 3. Dark/High Arousal:
    • Q. Why do Scotsmen wear kilts?
    • A. So the sheep won't hear the zipper.
  • 4. Social Currency:
    • Q. What's the difference between a new husband and a new dog?
    • A. After a year, the dog is still excited to see you.
the senses of humor perspective neuendorf et al
The “Senses of Humor” Perspective (Neuendorf et al.)
  • Each individual has preferences among the four humor mechanisms—this profile may be unidimensional or multidimensional.
  • The individual will seek media content that potentially matches their profile.
  • Media content that has potential for multiple humor mechanisms will be more successful.
  • Individual with common senses of humor profiles will be more compatible.
types of humor found in easy street
Types of Humor Found in Easy Street?
  • Types of Humor (based on Senses of Humor (SOH) research): Found in Easy Street?
  • 1. Disparagement–setting up a one-up, one-down relationship ____________
  • 2. Incongruity–a surprising juxtaposition
    • a. Visual ____________
    • b. Verbal ____________
  • 3. Dark/High arousal–shocking or otherwise over-the-top, e.g.:
    • a. Sick humor ____________
    • b. Black/dark humor ____________
    • c. Harmful slapstick/physical comedy ____________
  • 4. Social currency–humor derives from shared knowledge or experiences (“How about those Browns?”) ____________
the big three silent comedians international
The “big three” silent comedians (international):
  • 1. Charlie Chaplin (1889-1977)–His “little tramp” character became the most recognizable figure in the world (remember Ballet Mechanique?). His forte was extracting emotion from the audience. Born in London, he came to the U.S. in 1912, working at Keystone, Essanay, Mutual, and First National before co-founding United Artists with D. W. Griffith, Mary Pickford, and Douglas Fairbanks in 1919.
the big three silent comedians international1
The “big three” silent comedians (international):
  • 2. Buster Keaton (1895-1966)–“The great stoneface,” his forte was extreme physical comedy. He started in vaudeville with his parents’ act, graduating to film in 1917 on a film with the already-established Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle. Through much of his silent career, he had his own small studio and released films through such companies as Paramount and Metro.
the big three silent comedians international2
The “big three” silent comedians (international):
  • 3. Harold Lloyd (1893-1971)–His character wore horn-rimmed glasses and was a bit nerdy–a “zanily optimistic everyman.” In his films, story and characterization took precedence over physical slapstick (although he is most easily recognized as the man who hung from a clock on a tall building in Safety Last).
two giants of comedy production in the silent era
Two “giants of comedy production” in the silent era:
  • 1. Mack Sennett (1880-1960)–according to historian Gerald Mast, Sennett’s films “whaled the daylights out of Authority and Pretension with a bed slat.” He started at Biograph with D. W. Griffith, then established Keystone in 1912; there he made the Keystone Cops shorts (“pure motion”).
two giants of comedy production in the silent era1
Two “giants of comedy production” in the silent era:
  • 1. Mack Sennett (1880-1960)
    • Charlie Chaplin, Fatty Arbuckle, Harry Langdon, and Ben Turpin all got their starts with Sennett.
two giants of comedy production in the silent era2
Two “giants of comedy production” in the silent era:
  • 2. Hal Roach (1892-1992!)–had his own studio by 1915. He teamed Laurel with Hardy; Harold Lloyd got his start with Roach. Developed the Our Gang series of shorts. He was the only silent comedy giant to “survive” the introduction of sound.
disparagement
Disparagement

Sarah Mania! Sarah Palin’s Greatest Hits

by liberal online blogger Josh Marshall (5 million hits)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NrzXLYA_e6E

incongruity
Incongruity
  • The Landlord with Will Ferrell
    • (on Funnyordie.com) (77 million hits)

http://www.funnyordie.com/videos/74/the-landlord-from-will-ferrell-and-adam-ghost-panther-mckay

dark high arousal
Dark/High Arousal

“Ow My Balls” from the film Idiocracy (2006)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wAg1r6zw7Bg&feature=related

social currency
Social Currency
  • Jib Jab
    • Irish Step Dancing (starring School of Communication faculty and staff):http://sendables.jibjab.com/view/5WsrwJRLb1fXmmvd
    • Unnecessary Force (starring School of Communication faculty and staff):http://sendables.jibjab.com/view/HZdw0QqHKJoPogmd
multiple types
Multiple Types
  • Disparagement + (Verbal) Incongruity:
  • 1. What’s the difference between Florida and yogurt?

Yogurt has an active culture.

  • 2. So, two blondes walk into a building. You’d think one of them would have seen it.
multiple types1
Multiple Types
  • ??? + ???
  • Clevelander Mike Polk’s The One Semester of Spanish Spanish Love Song (6.8 million hits)
    • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ngRq82c8Baw
youtube s mass communication function most favorited content comedy
YouTube’s Mass Communication Function—Most “Favorited” Content: Comedy
  • Judson Laipply (Evolution of Dance) (182 million hits)
      • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dMH0bHeiRNg
  • Liam Kyle Sullivan (Muffins, Shoes)
    • Shoes—One of YouTube’s first viral videos (44 million hits)
      • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wCF3ywukQYA&feature=related
    • Muffins—Decidedly amateur-quality video (18 million hits)
      • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1tcR19y7GPM