What is Comedy?

I’ve devoted considerable thought to the question of “what is funny?” yet made very little progress into conclusively answering it. In asking that question, I’m not simply inquiring into examples of things that are funny, but asking instead why the things that we find funny are funny. I’ve had this conversation with a number of people and these conversations have given me some insights. A conversation I had with my friend Sam led us to the conclusion that the source of comedy is “contradiction.” Another conversation I had was with Professor Isaacs and the conclusion of that was that it’s partially “incongruities;” however, inquiring too deeply into the essence of what’s funny ruins it. Something just is funny. I’m not sure I fully buy that. At this point, I don’t know if there’s a single identifying characteristic of all humor. If there is, it’s elusive. Rather, I think there are a large number of things (contradictions, irony, incongruity), that possess that mysterious essence of humor. This is a topic I plan on continuing to inquire about for quite some time.

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