COMEDY is a multiplicitous genre. It is both “low”—farcical, vulgar, reliant on physical gags—and “high”, dealing in sophistication and witty repartee. There are both “Old” and “New” forms, one offering political commentary and the other relying on archetypal characters and everyday situations. It runs the gamut of styles, from stand-up to situational; slapstick to cerebral. Some writers, like Shakespeare, managed to bring many of these different elements into harmony. But it is largely true that what constitutes humour, and therefore what defines the genre, is in the eye of the beholder.
Because this definition is so slippery, arguments inevitably break out about whether a certain work deserves the label. Nowhere is this argument more ferocious than in the world of film around awards season. The latest round has centred upon “Get Out”, the work of Jordan Peele. It was announced last week that the film will be competing for a Golden Globe as a comedy (unlike the Academy Awards, the Globes splits its…Continue reading
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