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  • "and I need her not to go with me

  • just---please.

  • -I don't know anybody her age.-" Was that

  • comical? tragic? or both? Answering that

  • question requires context. Comedy and

  • tragedy have always had an interesting

  • relationship. Although the words comedy

  • and tragedy have polar opposite

  • connotations, they are in no way mutually

  • exclusive.

  • "Now that I've got a little bit of a career

  • going, the Jews want me to stay in my weight

  • and it might be unhealthy." Numerous prominent

  • philosophers have taken interest in this

  • phenomenon. Many refer to this confusing

  • relationship as the incongruity. Søren

  • Kierkegaard regarded as the father of

  • existentialism referred to it as the

  • contradiction.

  • Although Kierkegaard is most widely

  • known as a great philosopher, on closer

  • inspection many believe he was a great

  • comic. Inren Kierkegaard journal

  • writings he laid out a comedic theory

  • that suggested what makes something

  • comical is a violation of our

  • expectations. Kierkegaard believed this

  • violation was also at the core of the

  • tragic. He explained this using a story

  • of a baker whose starving mother was

  • asking him for foo d. A tragic story that

  • was ironically funny because the mother

  • of a Baker would be starving and

  • begging in the first place.

  • This sort of dark ironic humor lost

  • itself in the United States to the birth

  • of sitcoms in the late 1940s. With the

  • introduction of the laugh track, early

  • sitcoms were able to take advantage of a

  • psychological phenomenon called

  • informational social influence.

  • It's a phenomenon observed in both

  • humans and our primate cousins where

  • individuals assume the actions of others

  • to reflect the correct socially accepted

  • behavior. In other words gag humor became

  • the norm because we thought we were

  • supposed to find it

  • funny--causing American television to

  • avoid anything of substance for the next

  • 20 or so years. Recently, a new form of

  • laugh track free TV comedy has emerged,

  • the sadcom.

  • Louis CK was influential in setting the

  • foundation for this trend in comedy

  • television. CK's show Louie captures the

  • reality of being a single father with

  • two young daughters and the craziness of

  • it all.

  • Although there are funny moments there's

  • no canned laughter to signal what to laugh at

  • and much of the show is very real and

  • sometimes disconcerting. "When you're with

  • me and then you're with your mom and you

  • talk about when you were with me. -You want us

  • to lie to mom about Pamela..-"

  • CK explore this format further with his

  • show Horace and Pete, which is actually listed

  • as a drama. The show constantly walks the

  • line between comic and tragic-attempting

  • to violate expectations of comedy at

  • every turn. "The jokes that are in it are very

  • funny -yeah they're alright- but mostly it's like

  • Cheers

  • if everyone there was depressed. -That's

  • right-." Take the opening scene for example,

  • where an obvious tension lingers in the

  • air between Louis CK's character Horus and

  • Steve Buscemi who plays Pete. This scene can

  • be humorous if I had a laugh track but

  • without it

  • it seems dark and unsettling. "I just don't know why

  • you left a big pile of rags right there. -I had to

  • close and yeah, so there's a pile of rags

  • that I left and i'll clean it up before we

  • open. How's this a mystery?- Pete the

  • place is always perfect every time you close,

  • so I thought you must have a reason. -So I

  • didn't.- okay." "I just don't know why you

  • left a big pile of rags right there. -I had to

  • close and yeah, so there's a pile of rags

  • that I left and i'll clean it up before we

  • open. How's this a mystery?- Pete the

  • place is always perfect every time you close, so I thought you must have a reason. -So I didn't. Okay."

  • CK set the trend and other comedians have followed his lead.

  • There's Tig Notaros

  • autobiographical sadcom, One Mississippi.

  • The premise being the death of her

  • mother. A sadcom Louis CK produced. "Just going to

  • go ahead and disconnect the respirator.

  • Any questions? -About death?-" Or Jill Salloways,

  • Transparent. A story about a family

  • unraveling from a lack of communication

  • the premise being the discovery that the

  • family patriarch is transgender. "Hi girls."

  • And my favorite, Baskets, a show created by

  • Zach Galifianakis, Louie CK, and Jonathan

  • Krisel-that follows the life and

  • struggles of an aspiring clown. The big

  • dreams of the lead character chip could be

  • replaced with any larger-than-life

  • aspirations. The most close to home for

  • Louis CK and Zach Galifianakis, the process

  • of becoming a comedian. It does a great job

  • of capturing the obscurity and pain that

  • comes with chasing a dream but it also

  • imparts the rich intrinsic rewards that

  • come with the journey and all the little

  • victories along the way. " How many bathrooms

  • do you guys have her. -Three.- I'm gonna need two of them."

  • So in many ways sadcoms make tragedy

  • more manegable. Comedy, the constantly

  • evolving art form that it is-acts as a

  • social, cultural, and even self mediator.

  • In a nation disillusioned and

  • suffocated by expectations-maybe in

  • part because of the distortions of

  • reality films and television have ceaselessly

  • provided us-sadcomes provide a nice

  • dose of reality. Putting forth the idea

  • that life isn't perfect and maybe it

  • never should be. "This is love-missing her

  • because she's gone, wanting to die.

  • You're so lucky, you're like a walking

  • poem. Would you rather be some kind of a

  • fantasy? some kind of a Disney ride?

  • is that what you want??"

"and I need her not to go with me

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B1 US comedy louis pete tragic tragedy pile

Comedy & Tragedy: Louis C.K.

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    Candy posted on 2020/04/10
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